After making that wonderful tempeh breakfast sausage the other day, there was only one way forward – biscuits & lentil gravy with tempeh sausage. Lordy me, this is great stuff!
Full disclosure here. I’d previously posted my old recipe for biscuits (it's gone away now). I’ve recharged both the biscuit and gravy recipes and now with the addition of tempeh sausage this is a serious upgrade.
Oil free biscuits
Before discovering the wonders of sweet potatoes, I struggled with making flatbread and biscuits without added oil. Today, I am a reformed cooking woman. I use mashed sweet potato and flour with relevant ingredients to create pizza crusts, flatbread pizza, even Mujadara with flatbread. So, it was only natural to take a cup of mashed sweet potato along with flour, baking soda and powder, cider vinegar, plant milk and a bit of salt. Biscuits are coming!
Because I was aiming for biscuits to accompany lentil gravy with sausage, I decided to make them a bit savory by adding thyme and rosemary. If you want to re-purpose this basic oil free, biscuit recipe, you can always modify the spices (or add none at all).
This lentil gravy is seriously good stuff and it’s easy to put together. You’ll want to cook the lentil separately and toss in some fresh or dried thyme, or you can also use canned if you are in a bit of a hurry. Aim for about 3 ¾ cups of cooked lentils, so use this as your guide when using canned. If you are interested in batch cooking lentils, here’s a great place to use up leftover lentils.
To blend or not to blend - a matter of preference
I like to puree the cooked lentils with the rest of the gravy ingredients to create a smoother texture. I’ve also not bothered with this step if the lentils I used broke down on their own while cooking. I made pureeing optional in the instructions because it depends on your preferences. It also might come down to your available blending devices. Sometimes, it’s one thing to grab an immersion wand and quite another to drag our the blender or food processor.
I admit that when I first created my version of tempeh breakfast sausages, my attention immediately turned to biscuits and gravy. The addition of sausage patties adds another layer of flavor and turns just one into a satisfying any time-of-the day meal. And no, I didn’t need that second one, but of course I indulged myself.
Although I consider biscuits and gravy quintessentially American in terms of cuisine, it’s an interesting little factoid that is has its origins in France with quite a bit of Scottish influence. I
In our house, biscuits & lentil gravy is a Christmas morning tradition. It’s one of those perfect holiday recipes because it’s special. Also, you can make the gravy and sausage ahead of time which means less holiday work. Both reheat wonderfully. You can prepared the mashed sweet potato early and then it's just a matter of adding it to the dry ingredients. That gets you quicker to the smell of fresh biscuits baking – the perfect way to start off a holiday.
I’ve stopped lamenting my past. Time always moves forward and so thus, must I. Time doesn’t allow us to go back and start from scratch, but is does give us the opportunity to start from now. Let the learning from the past help create a new ending. True enough for something like turning my old recipe into biscuits & lentil gravy with tempeh sausage and true in life in general. Peace.Print
biscuits & lentil gravy with tempeh sausage
Sweet potato biscuits & lentil gravy with tempeh sausage patties is the ultimate plant-based, oil free decadently delicious eating experience.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 or more loaded biscuits 1x
- Category: Main Courses
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ cups dry green or brown lentils (about 3 ¾ cups cooked)
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp. dried thyme or 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. dried thyme or 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (we highly recommend Henderson’s Relish)
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato should do it)
- 2 cup ground whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp dried or fresh rosemary
- ½ tsp. dried or fresh thyme
- ½ -1 cup plant milk (I used oat, but almond or another will be just fine)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Tempeh sausage patties
- 1 – 8 oz. block tempeh cut into small cubes
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari
- 5 cups vegetable broth (1 ¼ liter) (or use 5 cups water and 2 veggie stock cubes
- ½ small yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
- 4 button mushrooms chopped into pieces
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. soy sauce or Tamari
- 2 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (or Henderson’s relish)
- ½ cup (64 gm) seitan - vital wheat gluten (more depending on how moist the tempeh is)
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. marjoram
- ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ - 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (the amount depends on how spicy you want your sausage)
- 2 tsp. rosemary
- 1 ½ tsp. sage
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 ½ tsp. thyme
Timing tip: To make best use of your time, start by simmering the tempeh for the sausage, cooking the lentils for the gravy and cooking the sweet potato for the biscuits. Your tempeh and sweet potatoes will be done before the lentils, so you can then move on to making up the sausage patties and preparing the biscuits. Move on to make the gravy and then, while the biscuits are baking, you can fry up the sausage patties.
- Rinse 1 ½ cups dried lentils and add them to a medium pot along with 5 cups vegetable broth (or the equivalent of water and stock cubes), plus 1 Tbsp. dried thyme. Bring the pot to a boil and turn down the heat, cover the pot and let the lentils simmer until tender (about 40 minutes).
- While the lentils cook, sauté the onion over medium heat until it starts to soften and become translucent. Add water a tablespoon at-a-time if it begins to stick.
- Add the 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. thyme and ½ tsp. smoked paprika. Sauté for another 30 seconds. Set the pan aside until the lentils are done.
- In a small bowl or glass jar whisk together the 1 Tbsp. flour, ½ tsp. ground black pepper, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce.
- Once the lentils have cooked, remove them from the heat. Add the sautéed onion mixture, and the flour mixture to the pot. Using an immersion blender, blend all the ingredients until about half of the lentils are broken down (this is up to your desired texture). You can also add all the ingredients to a blender to accomplish the same task. You may need to do this in batches. Your other option is to leave the lentils as they are cooked (this will be a bit chunkier). Just add all the ingredients.
- Reheat the gravy in the pot over low to medium heat. Adjust the spices and add more broth if it’s too thick.
- Peel and diced the sweet potato into cubes and place them in a medium pan and cover them with water. Bring the pot to boil and then turn down the heat to simmer. Cook the sweet potato until the cubes can easily be pierced with a fork. Once they are cooked, remove them from the heat and mash them.
- Preheat the oven to 4250F (2200C).
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. dried rosemary and ½ tsp. dried thyme.
- In a small bowl or glass, mix ¼ cup plant milk with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- Add the mashed sweet potato to the dry ingredients and using a fork, mix the sweet potato in until you have a crumbly mixture.
- Next, add the ¼ cup plant milk and vinegar. Mix this in and continue adding plant milk until you have a dough that will hold together. Note – sweet potatoes can be very sticky, so adjust the milk and flour. It’s comes down to how moist your sweet potato is.
- Pause to grab a non-stick baking sheet. Line this with parchment paper if desired.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it flat to around ¾ inch in thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour, press straight down without twisting and cut the biscuits. You should end up with 8-10 depending on the size of the cutter you are using (1 ½ inches in diameter is a good guide).
- Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake until the tops are lightly brown, 9-11 minutes.
- After cutting the tempeh into small cubes, place it, 5 cups vegetable broth (or 2 veggie cubes + 5 cups water) and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari into a medium pot. Bring the pot to simmer and simmer the tempeh for 20 minutes.
- While the tempeh simmers, chop the onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms and put them in a food process with your sharp blade. Add 2 tsp. maple syrup, 1 tsp. soy sauce (or Tamari) and 2 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add ½ cup seitan and all the spices. Mix together.
- Once the tempeh has simmered, drain it and press the pieces against the side of the colander to get more of the moisture out.
- Place the tempeh in the food processor and process all the ingredients until the mixture is broken down. Don’t process until completely smooth – you just want the tempeh and other ingredients broken down.
- Add the tempeh mixture to the bowl with the seitan and herbs. Mix everything with a spoon and eventually, you hand. You want a mixture that will hold together to form a ball (and sausage patties), but not too dry or stiff. If the mixture is too wet, add more seitan a tablespoon at-a-time. If the mixture is too dry, add water a tablespoon at-a time.
- Separate the sausage mixture into small balls and for patties using your hands or a pastry cutter. The number of resulting patties depends on their size (I ended up with 9). If you are going to pan fry them, try to keep them on the thin side so the centers cook evenly.
- To pan fry, heat a non-stick skillet to medium and add the sausage patties. Cook them at least 5 minutes before you turn them, so they don’t stick. I usually turn them once and then back again until they are brown on both sides.
- To bake the patties, heat the oven to 4250F (2200C). Place the patties on a non-stick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake the patties for 10 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until they are brown.
- The ingredient list might look long at first glance, but notice that many of the same ingredients are used multiple times.
- As noted in my blog post, you can make the gravy and sausage a day ahead. To reheat the sausage patties, wrap them in foil and reheat in the oven or steam them. This will keep them from drying out and getting too brown.
- To prep the biscuits, prepare the sweet potato ahead of time. This is also a great use for baked sweet potatoes if you have leftovers. Sweet potatoes are unique – each one has its own moisture content and depending on how you prepare them, you will need to adjust the plant milk and flour accordingly.
Keywords: biscuits & lentil gravy with tempeh sausage