Lazy weekend morning meals around the table, the entire family unhurried have yielded some of my favorite moments of connection and family identity. Even quick weekday breakfasts hold the promise of a new day, and fill my soul a tiny bit. Adding the unmistakable aroma of an herby breakfast sausage is the icing on the cake of breakfasts and brunches.
Making your own breakfast sausage patties is surprisingly quick, and just plain smart: you can adjust flavors according to your preferences, and control the quality of the ingredients. Each patty offers 8 grams of protein and 64 calories (and 3 grams of fat), so adding a patty or two to any breakfast gives a nice nutrient boost. And, it’s cheaper than buying sausage pre-made.
Try my recipe for Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties for an easy take on a traditional breakfast sausage. Rosemary, sage and fennel seed work together to create that classic breakfast sausage taste, although if you find fennel too powerful, you can substitute thyme. The invisible hero of the dish is the onion pulp made cleverly from rubbing yellow onion along a microplane or fine grater – it adds needed onion flavor without actual pieces of onion to mess with the texture or overpower any one bite. A quick note about the maple syrup: This recipe is not “maple-flavored” – I add the tiniest bit of maple syrup that drives home the breakfast feel, taking the patty squarely from flavorful turkey burger territory into breakfast sausage. If you want to mimic the “maple sausage” versions you buy at the store, then you’ll definitely want to add a bit more syrup.
The recipe as written is my go-to, but know there are options to explore. Swap out flavorings, or increase (or omit) the red pepper flakes to adjust the heat. The patties can be pan-sauteed or oven baked. Most of my family preferred the crusty exterior of the sauteed version. However, two of my kids preferred the more tender texture of the oven-baked version. And if you are pulling from a frozen stash of uncooked patties for a weekday morning, then baking works best.
Lastly, you can make these with lean ground beef or ground pork, but be aware that the ground beef version made us all feel like we were having tiny, tasty, bunless burgers for breakfast. Ground pork is wonderful, but the nutrition profile changes, and we all actually preferred the turkey version. Mixing half pork and turkey is a happy compromise, worth doing if you like pork sausage.
HOMEMADE TURKEY SAUSAGE BREAKFAST PATTIES
Servings: 12 patties
Start to finish: 25 minutes
1 pound of 96 percent lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary, or 2 teaspoons fresh
1/2 teaspoon dried fennel, ground or seeds
1 teaspoon dried sage (rubbed leaves), or 2 teaspoons fresh
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 egg white
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons of onion pulp (To make it, grate yellow or white onion on a microplane or fine grate on a box grater. You’ll need about 1/4 of an onion to make 3 tablespoons of pulp.)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into 12 compact patties. Spray a large nonstick saute pan with some olive oil from a mister (or use nonstick spray). Cook the patties in the pan over medium heat, until outside edges have nice deep golden crust and meat is cooked through, flipping once, about ten minutes total.
Chef’s Note: The texture will be less crusty, but you can also bake the patties on parchment-lined baking sheet at 400 F for about 12-15 minutes (add a few minutes more if uncooked patties are frozen.)
Nutrition information per patty: 64 calories; 29 calories from fat; 3 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 28 mg cholesterol; 112 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 8 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”