Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Tempeh breakfast sausage

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I found that the tempeh sausage patties were somewhat fragile and tended to break apart when turned. The problem worsened when I included minced mushrooms. I was thinking of trying one beaten egg mixed into the sausage to act as a binder when The Eldest suggested using a small amount of chia seed soaked in water.

When you do soak chia seed you get a kind of gelatinous paste. That might work to hold the sausage together. Moreover, I would then get the benefit of chia seeds (good fiber, good source of omega-3, an excellent protein profile, and high in nutrients) and also avoid the nutritional drawbacks of eggs.

I tried it, and it worked. I have modified the recipe, with modifications in bold. I am now going to try including 1=2 mushrooms in Batch 2 (which is processed to a paste).

Why not just eat pork sausage? Why bother with tempeh?

I know that some people wonder why a person on a whole-food plant-based diet — or even merely a less-restrictive vegan diet — would want to make imitation sausage.

It’s pretty simple. I like eating sausage because of its taste and mouthfeel, but I don’t like other parts of sausage — nitrites, antibiotics and hormones in the meat, saturated fat (which really hits blood glucose hard), IGF-1, and the way animals are treated in industrial meat production (so bad that the meat industries — producers of beef, pork, chicken, eggs — go to great lengths to keep the public from knowing what they do, to the extent that meat producers write Ag-gag laws and lobby hard (and often successfully) to get state legislatures to pass the laws).

It’s actually easy to understand. If you like the taste and mouthfeel of sausage and don’t like the unhealthy/distasteful aspects, then try the recipe. You then can get the good without the bad, which to me sounds like a win.

Tempeh breakfast sausage

I mentioned in a previous post that one easy way to cook tempeh is not to cut it into cubes but to cut a slab and cook it like hamburger patty.  (I still occasionally sauté some diced (large dice) tempeh with mushrooms to include in a salad, for example.) I mentioned the tempeh-patty idea to The Eldest, and she immediately thought of sprinkling the patty with sausage seasoning.

I make my own tempeh, and readers will recall that I ran into trouble when trying to mix curry powder into the beans along with the tempeh culture because curry powder includes spices that have anti-fungal properties — fungicides, in effect. The Eldest opined that sausage seasoning are likely to be the same in spades, since when you make sausage you want to preserve it, so spice choices would probably include those with anti-fungal properties — and indeed the first spice I checked, fennel seeds (a key ingredient in Italian sausage) contain fennel oil (of course), and fennel oil is definitely a fungicide.

But, as she pointed out, the spices could be added after the tempeh is made, perhaps sprinkled on before cooking. I started looking up sausage seasoning mix (there are a ton of them), and then she hit on the idea of search “tempeh sausage,” and voilà, there are a lot of those.

I immediately decided to try this recipe, though I modified it slightly (e.g., no salt). I prepare the ingredients using my 3.5-cup Kitchenaid food processor in two batches, adding each batch to a bowl as I process it:

Batch 1: process to finely chopped (like sausage) and then put in a bowl:

• 8 ounces tempeh

Batch 2: process to a paste and then add to the bowl containing the tempeh:

• 1/4 medium white onion (or about that volume of scallions or shallots)
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 tsp dried sage
• 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
• 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
• 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp ground fennel (or crush/chop/grind some fennel seeds)
• 1/4 tsp cayenne or ground chipotle
• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 pinch allspice
• 2 Tbsp Worcestershire (or Red Boat fish sauce)
• dash of liquid smoke
• 1 Tbsp olive oil

Separately, mix and let sit for 10-15 minutes:

• 2 Tbsp chia seed
• 3 Tbsp water

The result with be a thick paste.

Mix together (using clean hands or a spatula to mix well) the two batches and the soaked chia seed, cover, and refrigerate for a day or two or three to develop the flavors. After the aging, prepare the patties. Line a 1/3 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap and fill with “sausage.” Fold plastic wrap over the top and pack down. Then gently remove and set on a clean work surface. Press down to form a 1/2-inch thick disc. Repeat until the mixture is used up – about 6 “sausage” patties. The original recipe made 5 exactly, but with the mushrooms, this time I got 6 exactly. — Later: I now usually make the sausage patties as I need them, since one is enough for a meal.

Since I usually cook only 1 patty for a meal, I keep the prepared patties in the fridge in a storage container separated by parchment paper cut to size. One patty is roughly one serving of beans, so for a meal I would use one patty (along with the other parts of the meal: whole intact grain, greens, other vegetables, etc. — see this post).

One nice thing about this sausage that differs from sausage made from pork (or venison): you can taste tempeh sausage as you make it to see whether you need to adjust the seasonings.


It’s very good: nice sausage taste and good crust.

I want to experiment including 1/4 cup finely chopped chopped walnuts. I did try using chopped mushrooms, but the mushroom version stuck more and was more fragile. I switched back to no mushrooms

update: Now that I know the chia-seed trick, I will revisit the mushrooms, which I think must be finely minced by including 1 or 2 mushrooms in Batch 2 and processing them to a paste. /update

Written by Leisureguy

28 August 2020 at 7:40 pm

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