Vegan Italian Sausage Crumbles (15 Minutes!)

A plant-based dish that’s full of protein, takes just 15 minutes, and is perfect for everything from breakfast burritos to pizza, tacos, and pasta?! Count us in. These easy vegan sausage crumbles combine protein-rich tempeh with classic Italian sausage spices like fennel and paprika for a flavorful addition to any meal.

Just 10 ingredients required, friends. Let’s get cooking!

The protein-packed base for these vegan sausage crumbles? Tempeh, a.k.a. a fermented soybean miracle with gut health-supporting prebiotics and nutrients like iron and calcium! Learn more about tempeh and its origin here.

We cut the tempeh into cubes and add it to a food processor with Italian-inspired seasonings to ensure flavor in every bite. Fennel seeds, dried thyme, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes contribute smokiness, herby flavor, and a subtle heat, while salt enhances it all.

Next, we cook the crumbled, seasoned tempeh in a skillet in avocado (or olive) oil to give it a subtly caramelized flavor. After turning off the heat, we finish it off with tamari for rich, umami goodness and maple syrup for a sweet balance. The combination of all these flavors does a beautiful job of disguising the tempeh’s natural bitterness.

We hope you LOVE these vegan sausage crumbles! They’re:

Subtly spicy
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

They’re also incredibly versatile, working well as a pizza topping, in pasta dishes, or in tacos and burritos. They keep and reheat well, so you can make a batch to have on hand for an easy, protein-packed addition to meals throughout the week.

More Flavorful Tempeh Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Servings 3 (Servings)

Course Protein

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan

Freezer Friendly 1 month

Does it keep? 3-4 Days

  • 1 (8-oz) package tempeh*, cut into 1-inch cubes (ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tamari (ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (for flavor balance)
  • Add the cubed tempeh to a food processor along with the fennel seeds, thyme, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes and process for ~10-15 seconds until you achieve a chunky crumble. Be careful not to over-process, as it will break down more on the stove!
  • Heat a large cast iron or other rimmed skillet over medium-high heat, and once hot, add the avocado or olive oil. Add the tempeh crumbles and spread them out in an even layer. Leave the crumbles undisturbed for 5-6 minutes so they brown on the underside, then stir and cook for another couple of minutes to get evenly toasty.
  • Finally, turn off the heat, add the tamari and maple syrup, and mix well. Enjoy right away as a pizza topping, in pasta dishes, or in tacos or burritos. Leftovers keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
*Though we haven’t tried it in this recipe, you can steam or boil tempeh for ~15 minutes before use to neutralize its bitter flavor. In this recipe, we noticed only a slight bitterness (not unpleasant) when skipping the steaming.
*Loosely adapted from our Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with Lightlife Original Tempeh.

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 246 Carbohydrates: 9.9 g Protein: 17.1 g Fat: 13.3 g Saturated Fat: 1.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.1 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 738 mg Potassium: 319 mg Fiber: 0.6 g Sugar: 3 g Vitamin A: 276 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 106 mg Iron: 2.5 mg