October 06, 2017

Spicy hemp breakfast sausage - vegan, gluten-free

From the air fryer.

A few years ago, Nov., 2014, to be exact, I came across a recipe in Vegetarian Times for Spicy Hemp Breakfast Sausages.  I was intrigued. All the vegan sausages I'd ever made in the past depended on gluten, as in vital wheat gluten, for their texture and stability. The recipe used hemp seeds and masa harina to make the sausage dough. (You can find certified GF masa harina, and hemp seeds, but you can't assume all brands are GF due to contamination. Bob's Red Mill sells both.)

Mashing the beans into the spice liquid to cook until dry.

First you make a spice mixture, rehydrate the masa harina with some of the spice liquid, then stir in the hemp. Next you cook and mash the beans a little at a time with spice liquid until all the liquid evaporates, then you stir the bean mixture into the hemp hearts and masa harina. Refrigerate overnight, then shape and cook the sausage patties. I cooked some of the patties in my air fryer, and those were my favorites. The rest of the sausage patties were baked in the oven then frozen for future use. I baked them on parchment paper on two large pans, cooled them, then cut the paper into patty-sized squares and used the squares to stack the patties and pack them into a freezer bag. I've also cooked them in a small amount of oil on a cast iron griddle, and they turned out great. Yesterday, I reheated a frozen one in the air fryer, and it worked perfectly.

Refrigerate the mixture overnight before shaping into patties.

So, if I've been making these for three years, why haven't I ever mentioned them? Sometimes I question what 'easy vegan recipe' means. Does easy also mean instant? The sausage recipe is easy enough — anyone could do it — but it does take a little patience to work through all the steps. I never shared the recipe because I thought it might not fit with the 'easy vegan' theme, but it's so good, you might want to add it to your repertoire at least for special occasions, even if you consider it too much trouble for a regular rotation. I'm thinking of incorporating it into a Thanksgiving recipe, for example. The texture isn't the same as if it contained gluten, but the seasoning is spot on, and the taste and texture are great.

Toasted Olivia GF bread, garden lettuce, hemp sausage, dijon, jalapeño-stuffed olive.

As I mentioned earlier, the recipe originally appeared in an issue of Vegetarian Times, so I contacted the magazine to see if they would grant me permission to reprint the recipe. It took some time (a long time) to hear back from them, but they said no. That means if the magazine ever stops publishing, and takes down it's Web site, linked recipes will no longer be available. This has happened to me in the past when I linked to a recipe on a blog, so I prefer to share the actual recipe rather than a link. But for now, here is a link to the recipe. I'd rather share the actual recipe, but a link is better than nothing. The sausages are satisfying as part of a breakfast plate, or as a sandwich filling at lunch, or with veggies and a grain or potato at dinner. Do they sound like too much trouble? I admit, I'm often put off if a recipe has too many steps or requires chilling overnight, but this recipe makes a LOT, so you can eat some now and freeze some for later. You can also store the mix in the refrigerator for a few days, and fry some for breakfast each morning. This works especially well if you make just half a recipe. If you follow a gluten-free diet (or even if you don't) and have been longing for a sausage recipe, I encourage you to try this one.

Note: I just want to remind people that although it's tempting, it's not okay to reprint someones recipe or photos as your own. You can share a list of ingredients, but not the directions. You can adapt a recipe, but changing one ingredient isn't enough. You can also create a new recipe based on one you admire, and say you were 'inspired' by the original. In all cases, you should link back to the original recipe. When I searched for the spicy sausage recipe, I was surprised to find it, including the original photo, on a few blogs, without so much as a link back to Vegetarian Times. One blogger merely changed the order of ingredients, slightly changed the directions, and took credit for the recipe. I also found a slight variation of the recipe using chickpea flour instead of masa harina. If you have questions about what the rules are for sharing recipes, you might find this post helpful.


  1. I haven't done much with hemp, but these sausage patties look like a great first step. I don't think easy is the same as instant. It's more if anyone without much experience can do, it can be quick and easy or time consuming but still easy. With this recipe, once it's done, how much easier can it be to pull the patties out and reheat? :-)

    I've had people reprint my recipes and photos without permission. Some people find things on the internet and think it's just there for the taking. :-(

    1. It's not the sort of recipe you start at 5 for dinner, but it's so tasty, and a great way to get hemp seeds into your diet. And yes, I've had people take my recipes, too. One time someone took an entire post and reprinted it! That got me upset and I emailed her a few times (nicely) until she finally took it down.

  2. Oh interesting. I've never tried making anything with hemp (though my neighbour has made hemp milk before which was lovely). I'm a big fan of masa harina, so I'm pretty sure I'd love the taste of these. I don't mind if something takes a while to make as long as it's worth it at the end!

    1. I usually add two tablespoons to my smoothie and call it a day, but this is a whole new level of hemp appreciation. I also just used it in granola, and it turned out great. I guess I should try hemp milk next.

  3. Hear hear to respecting recipes and the wishes of their writers!

    It's crazy how little I think about using hemp, since I almost always have some in the freezer. I'm definitely into this more unconventional application- Thanks for sharing the link. :)

    1. Other than adding some to smoothies, I rarely use hemp. I think I don't really understand its role in a recipe from a functional, rather than nutritional, standpoint. I need to learn more about it.

      As for plagiarizing recipes and photos, the rules tend to be a little unclear and confusing, which is no excuse for common courtesy.


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