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Every family has at least one picky eater.  It could be someone who doesn’t eat anything their mom didn’t make (Mike baby, you know that’s you), or someone who doesn’t eat meat, or someone who doesn’t like dishes containing any green food (D., I’m talking to you, lol!  And yes, I still love you).  You get the idea.  I really can’t throw stones though, since at one point as a teenager I decided I didn’t like meat and went through about a six month vegetarian phase.  But my mom wasn’t one to cater to my whims; every dinner she made a meal consisting of a protein (some kind of meat or on the off chance eggs), a complex carb (usually rice, which for some crazy reason I detested until about three years ago), and a veggie (most likely something green).  And if I didn’t want to eat the meat and carb out of sheer pickiness, it wasn’t her fault.  (In our house there were no such frivolities as tofu (in any form), lentil patties, or even mushroom burgers.  And of course my mom was right not to cater to my pickiness, that just “feeds” the picky palate, so to speak…and of course my pickiness subsided when I realized just how much I missed roast chicken or grilled steak.)

Anyway, in the spirit of giving, I offer vegetarian sausage patties to the non-meat eaters in your family.  These patties are full of healthy grains and delicious herbs and spices reminiscent of the flavors in a traditional breakfast sausage, and I think they’re a nice break from the more common tofu-laden vegetarian sausages.  They make the perfect addition to Christmas Brunch; speaking of Christmas Brunch, I’m not including a recipe for scrambled eggs, even though they’re on the menu.  I figure just about everyone probably already has a favorite way of making them…my favorite is a soft scramble cooked over low heat with butter and scallions or chives and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Sausage Patties

(Yield:  About 8 small patties; 4 servings if served as part of brunch)

1 c water

1/2 small onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c pearl barley

1/4 c plus 3 TB rolled oats

1 large egg white

1/2 tsp pure maple syrup (maple sausage is my favorite, but if you don’t like it, feel free to omit the maple syrup)

1/2 tsp tamari sauce

1/2 tsp steak seasoning*

1/4 tsp powdered sage

Pinch fennel seeds

Canola oil (for the pan)

In a small saucepan with a lid, combine water, onion, bay leaf, and 1/4 tsp salt; bring up to a boil.  Add barley, then let it come up to a boil again, cover pot, turn heat down to low, and simmer gently about 35 minutes, until barley is tender.  Turn heat off and let barley sit with lid on for 10 minutes.

In a food processor, pulverize oats (it’s fine if there are still some larger pieces).  Add barley (be sure to remove bay leaf), egg white, maple syrup, and tamari sauce to the food processor and pulse a few times until it comes together (do not over-process).  Pulse in steak seasoning, sage, and fennel seeds.  Scoop out slightly heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter (this is easiest to do using a 1 1/2 TB ice cream scoop).  Wet your hands with water, then roll the measured dough into balls and slightly flatten the balls into patties.

Coat the bottom of a large non-stick skillet with canola oil (about 2 TB oil) and heat on medium-high.  Once hot, add patties and sauté until golden brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side).  Place cooked patties onto a paper towel-line plate to drain any excess oil.

*The steak seasoning I use contains sea salt, coarse-ground black pepper, coriander seed, mustard seed, dill seed, and red pepper.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. wow, this is exactly the perfect vegetarian meal I like to prepare for my kids, hope they like it too:) very nice. thanks for share

  2. I loved these! I changed the spices around since I didn’t have the ones called for, so the only thing I want to change next time is the amounts. I have to double it cuz I wanted more! Thanks!

  3. What a lovely gift as we all have the picky eater in our families & this time of year. Nice one Faith, thanks.

  4. Love this idea!
    You know my affinity with barley!

  5. I love croquette!!! That’s probably one of my favorite food!! Unfortunately I don’t make it that often. I wish I could be your guest and try yours! :)

  6. Such a delicious looking meal :) Veggie patties would be a big hit in our family. Artie’s step mom refuses to eat meat….crazy lady…haha – just kidding :)

  7. very nice vegetarian meal, sounds delicious, my kids are not happy with my vegetarian orientation, but since I am boos in the kitchen, they are always surprised with how good I can make it. thanks for this good recipe, I am always looking for good vegetarian meals. will come back for sure.

  8. while i’m sure these would taste delicious, i’m sorry to say i’d miss the grease. gravy made from pork sausage grease is the tops. :)

  9. I was the picky eater in the house. First I refused to eat veggies, then fruits, then rice, then meat, and almost always, never ate tofu. I think I would not have eaten tat sausage if you had told me it’s vegetarian, but keep mum and I would probably have loved it as much as I would love it right now!

  10. Wow, they look like the real meat deal. I have never been a picky eater so I can understand how frustrating picky eaters can be, some are doozies lol

  11. I am not a vegetarian, but these are lookin’ pretty darn good. We have vegetarians in the family so I’ll for sure be bookmarking this for their next visit.

    As a sidenote, can I just tell you that I love your blog? :) Your pictures are always spot on and your recipes always get my mouth watering!

  12. I have a house full of very picky people. They drive me nuts sometimes. I have resorted to not divulging certain ingredients lately. What they don’t know, won’t hurt them…lol

    I love your healthy sausage patties. They sound great.

  13. You are so creative! These sound fabulous! I LOVE sausage, but a healthy, whole grain, vegetarian sausage?! Genius! How did Mike like them? ;)

  14. You are right, every family has picky eaters. I can think of several in my family without much thought. I will pretty much anything. Your sausage looks wonderful-the meat eaters would never know the pork was missing. :-)

    Happy Holidays to you.


  15. My entire family is one huge batch of picky eaters. It’s frustrating to say the least!

    I’m always up for a new veggie burger recipe and these sound delicious!

  16. Oh. My. GOSH. I used to really love sausage but it kind of grossed me out thinking about what it was…I just loved the flavor. This looks so much better, and I always dipped them in maple syrup so the maple in it would be awesome!

  17. These would be perfect for one of our vegetarian meals! I love having breakfast for dinner and will be making these sometime soon! They sound so tasty and are filled with great ingredients Faith – you always come up with the best ideas. Have a great weekend :)

  18. Some days I like to go a bit more plant based with protein – but mostly I really love my protein. These vegetarian sausage patties would be a hit here though. The ingredient list is stuff we always have around so it makes this a nice recipe to have around :) XO

  19. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Yes, its very hard with my hubby’s family. There are veggies, there are people who dont eat red meat, and people who don’t eat chicken. In the end I have to make tons and tons of dishes so there is something for everyone. Its actually super annoying.
    Your patties look really nice and crispy and delicious.
    Have a great weekend ahead.
    *kisses* HH

  20. I know a certain person in my family who is picky. These patties look gorgeous. I’d love to try them.

  21. This makes my mouth water!!

  22. Great recipe. I’m making a sausage strata for Christmas brunch and there aren’t any vegetarians coming, but I’m definitely trying these for one of the meatless meals I like to serve during the week. Have a great weekend!

  23. Oh gosh Faith, my family should change our last name to Picky. Hubby prefers all meat and dislike veggies, I prefer veggies and dislike meat, and let’s not even list what my kiddies dislike. They used to be such good eaters…sigh. Anyways, I love that you added maple syrup in your patties. That’s something different I know I’d love to try. These look delicious! I do eat meat occasionally and hate those really thin patties. Yours are the perfect thickness :-P Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.

  24. Definitely a creative vegetarian dish! I can eat a vegetarian meal every once in a while, but I’d definitely miss my proteins!

  25. I have a picky one! And I have one that when he was a little boy there was one month where all he ate was salami sandwiches! So gross! But he outgrew the picky and I bet they both would love these sausages! They look delicious!

  26. These look delish, picky or not. Picky eaters always come out of the woodworks around the holidays!

  27. You’re so funny, Faith. My sister was the picky eater in my childhood family — no “wrinkled peas” or “fuzzy” green beans (huh?) — but luckily my husband and son are quite adventurous eaters. This recipe is such a needed gift to us all. Not only does it look absolutely delicious to the meat-eater in me, it’s also so helpful to have this recipe up our sleeves when vegetarian friends and family come visiting over the holidays. Many thanks!

  28. I made a Colombian soup with barley this week and I had some left….I should make this for my vegetarian husband….They look delicious!

  29. Those look so good! At home we also ate many different types of patties.



  30. We must be the exception to the rule, our family eats anything except peanut butter and we all agree on that one item :) Never the less these vegetarian sausage patties sound like a good change to me. Diane

  31. I am that picky vegetarian ;) Homemade sausage patties? Brilliant. i hate buying the frozen fake meats…I’m all about the homemade version. This looks fantastic. Happy weekend

    1. Erica, That was me for a while too! And a lot of the time I still prefer a meat-free meal. :)

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