What the hell is a Breakfast Patty? Maybe they are worried about alienating vegetarian consumers by putting the name of a food commonly prepared with meat in the title, but I think “Vegetarian Sausage Patties” is a more appetizing, not to mention more descriptive, name. Breakfast patties could easily be preformed McDonalds style hash browns. People who will buy this product are most likely looking to satiate a craving for sausage that doesn’t require the tissue of a cute little piggy to be ground up, stuffed into a length of its own intestines and then pan fried to do it (Um, eww, I can kind of understand why Eating Right doesn’t want to conjure up that image) and will therefore be undeterred by the descriptive name. Still, based solely on the name “Breakfast Patties”, it sounds like it could be, and probably is, made out of cardboard. It is a shame because this really is a delicious meat alternative and the closest thing to a “real sausage” taste I have ever experienced in a vegetarian product.
So what makes it soooooooo good? Let me start by explaining my past experiences with other less tantalizing faux sausage products which range in taste quality from the simply tolerable to the downright disgusting. The most glaring issue with most “sausage” products is simply that they taste nothing like sausage. I don’t place blame on the base ingredient for the various products either, be it soy, gluten, or anything else. It seems to me the fault lies squarely on the part of the recipe that I would assume be the easiest to replicate, the seasoning. Sausage has a very distinctive taste, and though it varies through its many varieties (breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, bratwurst, etc…) it is undeniably…sausagey (I know it is not a word but it describes the taste so perfectly!) Somehow Eating Right has managed to capture that taste where all others have failed.
It is sold in either link or patty form, and while I prefer the patty, they taste essentially the same. Both have a nice texture, somewhat firm and very similar to real sausage. As an added bonus it is completely egg and dairy free, a rarity in most American fake meat products, so vegans are free to indulge. I have both fried them in a pan and baked them in an oven to similar results, deliciousness! I like my breakfast “meats” peppered (bacon too!) and so I sometimes sprinkle it generously with fresh ground black pepper which I believe makes it taste even more like the real deal. I have chopped it up and cooked it with hash browns and it even makes a damn fine bagel sandwich with cheese and egg.
Eating Right is a brand of health conscious foods exclusive to Safeway supermarkets. So, unless you live in the vicinity of one (Bay Area residents like myself need not fear) you are out of luck. Sometimes supermarket products are rebranded versions of a more recognizable brand name, so you may be able to track down the same product under a different label. Both products retail for about $2.50 on sale at my local Safeway store (I have never seen them not on sale so I’m not sure what the regular price is). If you are a vegetarian who misses decent sausage, I recommend you hunt it down. You won’t be disappointed.