Sunday, January 24, 2016

Homemade Breakfast Sausage (Whole30/Paleo/Sugar Free)

My husband and I have been spending January following the Whole30 program, as a reset for a lot of bad habits that had crept in over the last several months.  By preference, we strive for a Primal diet - avoiding overly processed foods, selecting local, good quality grass-fed or pastured meats, local in-season produce and local grassfed full fat dairy products (and we are highly fortunate that all of these are available to us at the local level).  But we'd drifted a good bit, even going back to eating wheat products on a fairly regular basis, and our health and weight were showing it.

We each have a few things we specifically want to accomplish with this - for him, it's been getting rid of the sugar demon, especially at work.

For me, it is a need to figure out whether or not some of what I've been eating, generally good food or not, is having a negative impact on my rheaumatoid arthritis, which I won't really know until I begin the reintroduction phase.

(I want my dairy back, so fingers tightly crossed - or they would be if RA let me cross my fingers.)

We knew going in that the biggest challenge was going to be weekday breakfasts - no cold cereal, no hot grain-based cereal, no grits and cheese with a fried egg (my favorite breakfast in the universe), no fast grab and go yogurt and fruit parfait.

In addition, particularly because of the sugar snack monster we were hoping to psychologically defeat, no Paleo versions of breadlike or snacklike foods, either, so no grain-free muffins, etc.

The only way I could sort out how to work this out was to try to get as much pre-made as possible so that breakfast could be heat and eat without too much labor before heading off to work.

Cook a tiny portion to test seasoning blend, then adjust.
We settled on the idea that as long as we had decent sausage patties, cooking an egg was no big deal, and adding a bed of roasted veggies when we had them leftover from the night before (because we roast a lot of veggies as a matter of course) meant a fast, substantial meal to start off the day right. And on really fast, 'run out the door' days, grabbing a sausage patty and boiled egg along with some portable fruit would do the job.

So here's the deal - good luck finding commercially prepared sausage that doesn't have sugar in it, even if it is uncured.  The good news (and why we elected sausage over bacon as our go-to breakfast meat) is that making breakfast style sausage is easy and highly modifiable for taste and specific food requirements.

Our version is NOT Auto-Immune Protocol compliant - I may be needing to figure that our in a few months, but not right now.  It is, however Whole30 compliant, and thoroughly tasty even if you're not following any particular food program.  A couple hours of work on a weekend will keep you in fast, delicious breakfasts for several days.

Our version is also very spicy - tone down or switch out herbs and spices to suit your taste, and add less at first - you can pinch off a bit and cook it up quickly to taste test before you add more or make additional adjustments.

Batch Cooked Homemade Breakfast Sausage
Makes 32 sausage patties

4 lb. good quality ground pork
about 3  T. lard (if the ground pork is lean - you need good fat to keep the patties from being overly dry)
2 tsp. fennel seed
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tblsp. rubbed sage
2 tsp. thyme
1 Tblsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. hot Hungarian paprika
1 Tblsp. or less sea salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1-2 eggs (optional)

Place pork in a large bowl.  Combine seasonings in a small bowl, and then add to the ground pork.  Mix in egg, if desired.  Don't overwork the mixture - just make sure everything is incorporated well.

Divide pork into four one pound portions, then divide each portion into 4 quarter pound portions.  Each quarter pound will  be divided in half to make 2 patties.

Make patties by rolling section of pork into a ball, then flattening gently by hand to a patty about the size of your palm.

Option 1 (Freeze patties uncooked)
Set up a cookie sheet with parchment paper on top.  Lay out patties on parchment paper, not touching.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in freezer until frozen solid.  Put patties into a large baggie or other container and pull the patties you need to cook/microwave for each meal as you go.

Option 2 (Freeze patties after cooking)
This is what we did, for the sake of speed, and it's worked out well for us.

Cook patties, four at a time, in a skillet at med-low heat, for about five minutes on each side.  Then set aside on a cookie sheet or plate lined with a paper towel, while you continue with the next batch.

Let all patties cool before putting them in the freezer.

We wound up packaging them in fours (enough for one meal for us) into small baggies, and then using a larger one to hold all the smaller ones. (Yes, baggies can be washed and reused!)

This made it extremely easy to grab a baggie out of the freezer before bed and throw it in the fridge.  They can be heated in a microwave or briefly in a pan, crumbled up along with vegetables for a quick hash with eggs, or even popped into a lunchbox with other portables to be eaten later when there is just no time to cook a breakfast.

We came up with this as a way to address our short term dietary limitations, but quite honestly, it was so delicious and simple that we're going to just make a habit of this - happily experimenting with various seasonings, of course!


  1. I need to try this!!
    Everything that can be made a head is a win for my family.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Sounds really easy! Thanks for sharing on the "What's for Dinner" linky party!

  3. My husband makes a lot of breakfast sausage for my family every year. I will be sharing this recipe with him. It is always great to have a variety and I like the idea of this being whole 30 compliant too. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us at Brag About It!

  4. This looks crazy good thanks for sharing on Home and Garden Thursday I hope you don't mind me sharing this on Facebook on Friday at noon

  5. Yum! This looks great and easy!...I need to try this :) #SmallVictories

  6. I would love to try to make homemade sausage sometime! I've pinned this. Stopping by from Fitness Friday Link-Up. Hope you have a great weekend and good luck getting back to your Whole30 plan. :)

  7. Hi Lynda,
    I love sausage and we buy our from a local butcher that also has very high quality meats. I hope & think you will see a difference in RA if you stay on this diet - processed foods affect your body in so many ways and certainly attributes to inflammation and joint pain. Good luck with your venture. I would really like to know what changes occur in your body after 1 month. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!

  8. What a great idea to know exactly what you're eating, and the make ahead version works well for us too, mornings seem so busy and who wants to cook right when they get up? Not me!

  9. Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

  10. Sounds like a deliciously wholesome way to start the day - and I love how you prep the sausage ahead too! I hope you will be able to reintroduce dairy - I would really struggle to give up dairy. Thank you so much for sharing this deliciously healthy post with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  11. Great that you can make them ahead of time and have them ready when you need them. Thanks for sharing with the Blog Fair.

  12. Those look so Yummy!! I want some...I'm starving!! lol! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!See you tomorrow! Pinned!

  13. Those sausages seriously look good! I know of people that have done the Whole 30 and loved it, and saw great results. I am afraid that I would give hubby isn't into doing all those things--he just works out so hard that he can basically eat whatever he wants--and when I was trying to do the 21-day fix it was so hard for me to see him eating everything I couldn't have. I guess I just have to overcome, lol.

    Thanks so much for linking up at Fitness Friday, hope to see you back again tomorrow.