A nourishing breakfast – one with real staying power – includes protein, but many people tell me they’re in a rut, breakfast protein-wise. Happily, there are plenty of tasty and convenient solutions.

First, there’s no need to limit yourself to typical breakfast foods. Who says you can’t start the day with some hummus and pita, a tuna sandwich or a bowl of lentil soup?

On the more classic end of the spectrum, there are eggs, of course, which seem to say “good morning” on the plate; milk (a cup of milk has more protein than a large egg); yogurt; nuts and nut butters; and seeds.

Health-conscious food lovers steer clear of breakfast meats such as sausage, with its saturated fat and nitrates. But if you are like me, you yearn for sausage’s lip-smacking, savory flavor.

The accompanying recipe answers the call, adding another healthful breakfast protein to the arsenal and satisfying those sausage cravings as well.

These homemade turkey sausage patties are simple to prepare and can be refrigerated or frozen in advance. You mix into the meat a medley of quintessential sausage seasonings: fennel seed, sage, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and a pinch of allspice; turkey’s neutral flavor is the ideal carrier.


Then you form the mixture into disks that are smaller than hamburger patties. Be sure to buy ground dark-meat turkey or ground turkey sold as 93 percent lean, instead of a “low-fat” kind, because some fat is needed to achieve that rich sausage essence. And the meat still qualifies as lean.

Homemade turkey sausage sandwiches.


The patties can be formed and refrigerated between pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper for up to 3 days, or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month; defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Makes 8 servings


1 teaspoon whole fennel seed


1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (garlic powder)

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


1 pound ground dark-meat turkey (93 percent lean)

1 tablespoon olive oil


8 whole-wheat English muffins (not honey wheat)

2 cups lightly packed fresh spinach leaves

2 medium tomatoes, sliced


Flesh of 2 ripe avocados, sliced

Hot sauce and/or ketchup (optional)

Whisk together the fennel seed, sage, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder and allspice in a small bowl.

Place the turkey in a medium bowl, then sprinkle the seasoning blend evenly over it. Use your clean hands to gently work the seasonings into the meat, being careful not to over-mix; it’s okay if they are not absolutely evenly distributed throughout. Form the mixture into 8 patties that are about 3 inches across.

Heat half the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add half of the patties; cook until nicely browned on the outside and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; repeat with the remaining oil and patties.

To make the sandwiches, toast the English muffins. Place a few spinach leaves on the bottom half of each one. Add a cooked sausage patty, then a slice of tomato and a few slices of avocado on each portion. Add hot sauce and/or ketchup, if desired, then place the top of the muffin on the sandwich. Serve right away.

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