The “V” Word continues its celebration of VeganMoFo with the theme “If TV Celebrity Chefs Went Vegan.” Since Veteran’s Day is quickly approaching, I thought I would dedicate this page to someone who is not only a celebrity chef but also a United States veteran, Sunny Anderson.
Sunny Anderson, of Food Network’s Cooking for Real and Home Made in America, was born in Oklahoma and raised as an Army brat. Traveling and living all over the world gave Sunny an appreciation of world cuisine. After graduating high school in Texas, Sunny joined the Air Force, earning the rank of Senior Airman. She worked as a military radio host in South Korea and then worked for Air Force News Agency radio and television in Texas until honorably discharged.
After the Air Force, Sunny continued working in radio and opened a catering company. She first appeared on Food Network as a guest on Emeril Lagasse’s show and began starring in her own show about gadgets, Gotta Get It, in 2007. Sunny’s first cookbook will be released next summer.
Sunny’s cooking style matches her personality. She makes down-to-earth comfort food influenced by her many travels. Her name fits her perfectly. Sunny is bright, friendly and real. Watching her show, you feel like you’re hanging out in the kitchen with one of your friends. And since she lives in Brooklyn, maybe you could be.
When I watch Sunny’s show, I catch myself saying, “I can make that” a lot because she makes it look easy. That’s her thing: real cooking for real people. Of course, I catch myself saying, “I can make that and make it vegan…and gluten-free.”
Sunny has a lot of recipes that I would like to veganize but I had to pick one. I chose breakfast sausage because it’s hard to find a gluten-free, vegan version in stores and it’s a food I miss. Of course, any recipe that doesn’t involve the slaughter of adorable, intelligent, innocent pigs is a plus. Since I finally perfected my Gluten-Free Spicy Italian Sausage, I thought I’d make my own Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage.
This recipe is not very different from my Italian Sausage one. The base is still black-eyed peas and mushrooms but the spice mix is different. Breakfast sausage is a mix of sweet and spicy. If you like the taste of maple in your sausage, you can add maple syrup but you will probably need to add more flour to compensate for the extra moisture. I don’t like the maple taste because it’s too sweet for me but then again, I don’t like anything sweet. It might be better to not add the maple syrup in the sausages but drizzle some on top of the cooked sausages if you like that taste.
Since I was making patties and not links that had to hold up on the grill, I did not add xanthan gum and I didn’t steam them first. I made these the way I make burgers. I did use my new cast iron pan to make sure the patties got a nice crispy exterior.
My Breakfast Sausage is flavorful, slighly sweet, slightly spicy and very yummy. I had mine on the side of a simple tofu scramble and sauteed greens.
For Tom, I made a sausage, tofu scramble and melted vegan cheese breakfast sandwich on a bun.
Very indulgent and very real. Real cooking for real vegans and real gluten-free vegans. And there’s nothing like compassionate, cruelty-free food to make the world more sunny! Happy (early) Veterans Day to Sunny and all the men and women who serve. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage
For the Spice Mix:
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. fennel, crushed
½ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbs. sugar
½ tsp. nutmeg
For the Sausage:
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups cooked or 1-15 oz. can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs. tomato paste
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ cup brown rice flour
1 Tbs. of gluten-free, vegan Worcestershire Sauce
A few drops of Liquid Smoke (optional)
2 Tbs. maple syrup (optional)
1 Tbs. canola oil
Heat a skillet with 2 tsp. of olive oil. Sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic until softened. Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl, add the black-eyed peas and mash them up. You can use a fork, a potato masher or just get your hands in there. If you want to use a food processor, do a rough chop. You don’t want a puree. Then add the tomato paste, nutritional yeast, spice mix and brown rice flour. Mix well..
Add the cooled veggie mixture to the bowl and mix it into the dry ingredients. Add the Worcestershire sauce to the bowl and mix it all up well. If you are using the Liquid Smoke, add it in now too. If you are using the maple syrup, add it now. If you do use it, you may need to add more flour to compensate for the extra moisture.
Refrigerate the sausage mixture for at least 30 minutes. After that time, remove from the fridge. Divide the mixture into 4 parts. Shape each part into a patty.
Heat 1 Tbs. of canola oil in a cast iron skillet. Cook the sausage until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Serve while hot.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.