Turkey Breakfast Sausage from Dana Jacobi and the AICR


The American Institute for Cancer Research is devoted to providing the public with evidence-based information to help them make the best lifestyle choices to lower their risk of developing many types of cancer. One way they do this is through diet and nutrition. To that end, they collaborate with renowned food blogger Dana Jacobi to develop such recipes. This week’s recipe is a turkey breakfast sausage.

Dana Jacobi writes:

I love sausages but gave them up long ago because of the preservatives and sodium they contain. Instead, I finally have figured out a delicious way to make my own version of breakfast sausage using ground turkey and herbs. Its lusty flavor is perfect alongside a morning scramble or added to a bowl of steaming soup.

Breakfast sausage, aromatic with the flavors of sage, garlic and the bite of black pepper, is the easiest kind to make at home. To create a leaner, healthier version, I started with ground turkey because it is reliably lean compared to the ground pork in the supermarket meat case.

The seasoning to use came as an inspiration. Making a dressing for Thanksgiving, I was measuring out Bell’s seasoning, the classic, finely powdered flavoring blend. When its aroma hit my nose, this combination of sage, oregano and marjoram had all the elements in my Proustian memory of breakfast sausage. The mix includes ginger, too, but the final result tasted perfect. (You can duplicate the blend, as the recipe explains, if you don’t have a box of Bell’s hanging around.)

Dividing a pound of ground turkey into 16 parts made patties the size of a sausage slice. For juiciness, I added applesauce, a trick I also use with fat-free ground turkey breast. The result was browned patties that, when served straight from the pan, are as juicy as commercially made sausage. In fact, the main difference is that they are more tender than pork sausage. When cool, they are like a slider with sausage flavor, and still delicious.

My favorite breakfast is Turkey Breakfast Sausage served with hash-brown potatoes mixed with leftover sautéed kale, chard or spinach. Or I shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and toss them into a pot of soup to cook and add flavor as the soup heats up.

[All recipes are vetted by a registered dietitian.]

Turkey Breakfast Sausage

  • 1 lb. ground turkey, 93 percent lean
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. Bell’s seasoning or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram and 1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil cooking spray


In mixing bowl, use sturdy fork to combine all ingredients except cooking spray, mixing until seasonings are evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight to let seasonings and turkey meld.

To form 16 patties, divide turkey mixture into 4 parts. Divide each part into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into 2-inch patty. Uncooked sausage patties can be kept in refrigerator for 2 days on a plate covered with plastic wrap.

Coat medium skillet generously with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Add 8 patties, leaving at least 1½ inches between them. Cook until browned on bottom, 2 minutes. Turn and press patties firmly with back of pancake turner. Cook 2 minutes and turn again. Cook until patties are well browned on outside and white in center, 1-2 minutes longer. To cook all patties, wipe out pan, re-spray and cook remaining ones same as first batch. Serve hot.

Makes 16 patties.

Per 2 patties serving: 88 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 g carbohydrate, 10 g protein, <1 g dietary fiber, 199 mg sodium.

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