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VeganMoFo: Sunny Anderson and Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage

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


Prepare spice mix in advance. Set aside.

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.



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8 Responses to VeganMoFo: Sunny Anderson and Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage

  1. Catherine Sultana October 28, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    Happy to have found your GF V-Meat recipes, looking forward to trying them out in my kitchen. Do you think they would grill well on a Geo. Foreman-type grill? I own the Cuisinart version and have yet to take it out of the box…Thanks, again!

    • Rhea November 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

      I think you could grill them after you steam them Catherine. xoxo

  2. QueenHoneyB June 23, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    I have been eyeing this recipe for ages. Finally got some black eyed peas. Do you know if these freeze and reheat well? I like to make double batches of things like this to use for several occasions.

    • Rhea June 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      I have been told they do freeze well. xoxo

  3. Sheri September 29, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I wish I had some black eyed peas in the house… I would be making this today! Sounds delicious!!

    • Rhea September 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Sheri, you could use a different bean. I used to use pintos. I just like a bean that doesn’t have a lot of its own flavor. Cannalini would work too.

  4. Rhea Parsons March 19, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    I would grate an apple and add only about 2 Tbs. of apple liquid into the mix. And a tsp. of sage. You might need a little more flour to balance the extra liquid.

  5. G Johnson March 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    This is perfect, thanks for sharing! How can I add apples to this recipe. Would like to duplicate apple maple sausages I see in the store.


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