Before we get to the recipe, I want to mention that I've updated the MSV resources page to include a couple local folks, including Knox Vegan. If you haven't been reading over there, Emily is doing some incredible restaurant outreach and is actively courting guest posts on (some locally made!) skin care products and anything else Knoxville vegans can dream up. She's working to make Knox Vegan a visible place to continue building community, and I would recommend her site even if that initiative didn't include linking to my recipes in her weekly newsletter. But it does! And I'm seriously grateful. She also shares in the newsletter valuable ideas and tidbits (like where to find vegan pho in town) that isn't on the site-proper, so don't skip signing up for that when you visit.
Now, onto the food.
If you're a fan of savory, highly flavorful breakfast foods, today is your today. A block of tempeh—for chew and blissfully nutty flavor—and a pile of walnuts—for buttery richness and firm-tender texture—come together with a fully-stocked spice rack to make breakfasts that will definitely wake up your taste buds, if not your pre-coffee brain.
And they're so easy to make. No sauteing anything before assembly—just a couple of spins through a food processor. They beg to be made again and again.
Calling for a generous quantity of walnuts, this isn't the cheapest recipe around. But it yields eight servings (since there's so much going on in these guys, a little goes a long way), and you can always keep the cost down by purchasing walnut pieces rather than whole halves.
The texture here is pretty fabulous. It's tender without being mushy, and the robust combination of tempeh and walnuts lets the patties stand up to a variety of serving options. Munch on them alone to complement a stack of pancakes, or place one on a buttery biscuit.
The biscuit option has received some particularly enthusiastic feedback, but my personal favorite way to make effortless breakfasts that are good to travel involves keeping a bag of English muffins in the freezer. This option keeps the patty in the spotlight, since it doesn't have to compete with the fat in a biscuit. And these patties really deserve a spotlight.
Of course, you're not limited to breakfast here. Feel free to crumble a patty into pasta, or any other dish that could use a shot of flavor.
And the aroma while they cook? Unbelievable.
Sausage-Spiced Tempeh-Walnut Patties
6 oz raw, unsalted walnut pieces
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed dried red chile pepper (or less, to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
8 oz tempeh
2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari
2 TBSP water
1 tsp psyllium husk powder
Add walnut pieces to a food processor and process to crumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add all spices (basil through black pepper). Set aside.
Roughly crumble tempeh into the processor bowl. Add tamari, water, and psyllium husk powder. Process until finely chopped (not pureed). Transfer to the mixing bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.
Set mixing bowl aside for five minutes (to let the psyllium husk powder begin to work) while you preheat a closing countertop electric grill. After the five minutes has passed, divide the mixture into eight equal portions. Form patties and cook, with the electric grill lid closed, for five minutes, or until heated through and browned on both sides. (For most electric grills, you'll need to cook these in two batches. If one is not available, try cooking these on the stove top in a nonstick skillet for a few minutes on each side, carefully flipping once.) Let cool five minutes before serving.