Chicken, Thyme and Fennel Sausages

Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages are made from scratch with chicken thighs, herbs and spices. Juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. An ideal breakfast if you’re following Whole30 or if you just like really good chicken sausages.

An oven proof dish filled with Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages

What can you eat for breakfast on the Whole30?

One of the common concerns about embarking on the Whole30 is the issue of breakfast. After all, grains are banned so that means no toast, no cereal, no porridge. Dairy is banned so no yoghurt. And it goes without saying that pastries are a resounding no no. So what else is there?

Eat what you like when you like

The Whole30 way of eating would like to discourage you from thinking that there should be any difference between the kinds of food we would have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. After all that is how food is eaten in lots of other cultures, why should we reserve a set of foods only for breakfast, isn’t this quite restrictive?

When I was in Ghana I was surprised that my work colleagues at the newsroom would eat the same sort of food – cassava with some protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I found it very strange at the time but now it seems odd that we would limit ourselves so much at breakfast time. After all, as a student, cold pizza for breakfast was the ultimate luxury. Let’s embrace that attitude! Although pizza might be frowned upon on the Whole30.

Whole30 breakfast without eggs

Having said that there are some breakfast foods which are definitely supported on the Whole30. Like, eggs. Here’s the problem. I do not like eggs. This can be a major stumbling block on the Whole30 as it’s one of the most celebrated ingredients on your meal plan. So let’s get creative.

An oven proof dish filled with Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages

Sausages

We are aiming for protein for breakfast on the Whole30. It gives us energy and can be incredibly satisfying. So, sausages and bacon are my go to foods. However, whereas bacon is okay on the Whole30, sausages are a bit more complicated.

Supermarket sausages usually contain all sorts of preservatives which are not that good for you and although butchers’ sausages may not contain those sorts of products, they are more than likely made with breadcrumbs or some sort of wheat product holding them all together.

So I started making my own sausages for breakfast, this way I know exactly what is in them and I can tailor them for my specific picky palette, after all I don’t want a sausage that too rich or garlicky first thing in the morning.

How to make Whole30 compliant sausages

These chicken sausages are simple to make with minimal ingredients:

  • boneless chicken thighs
  • fresh thyme
  • fennel seeds
  • mace
  • mustard powder
  • salt and pepper

I have found that this flavour combination of thyme and fennel really makes the most delicious sausage, it is light, meaty, juicy and full of flavour.

All you need to do is…

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until minced. Don’t worry that at this stage the chicken looks like something Jamie Oliver would produce to put children off food for life, there is only good chicken in your sausage.
  2. Shape them into sausage shapes and roast them on baking parchment for 40 minutes in the oven.

Tip: Leave the chicken skin on!

The sausages are roasted without any added fat or binding agent as the chicken skin is included in the mince. This keeps its moisture in and means that during the roast the sweet sticky chicken juices encase the outside of the sausage which is a treat you just don’t find in Walls’ bangers.

An oven proof dish filled with Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages

These sausages are delicious wrapped in lettuce or served up with some stewed tomatoes. They are filling, satisfying and feel like such a treat.

It’s recipes like this that will kick off your Whole30 with a bang and made breakfast time a whole lot easier.

If you need more Whole30 breakfast recipes then perhaps try:

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti
Grain-Free Coconut Chia Porridge
Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

If you make these Chicken Sausages then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Chicken, Thyme and Fennel Sausages

Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages are made from scratch with chicken thighs, herbs and spices. Juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The ideal paleo breakfast.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 sausages
Calories: 250kcal

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs with skin on boneless
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Chop the chicken up roughly and place it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Whizz up to a smooth paste.
  • Shape the chicken mince into sausages, about 100g each depending on how large your chicken thighs were. You should be able to get 6 sausages out of the mince.
  • Place the sausages on baking parchment on a baking tray.
  • Roast the sausage for 40 minutes in the oven when they will have turned golden.

Notes

Leave the chicken skin on! The skin keeps the moisture in the sausages and gives them a crispy finish.
Make Ahead. Mix and shape the sausages the night then chill in the fridge overnight. The next morning all you have to do is roast them.
Freeze. You can freeze the sausages before or after roasting. Always defrost throughly before cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 669mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.8mg

Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancakes

This Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancake recipe is incredibly versatile, flourless and produces quick but absolutely scrumptious pancakes with minimal ingredients.

A stack of Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancakes on a plate

This year is the first year I will actually be eating pancakes on pancake day and I’m very excited about it.  It always seems to fall on a day when I’m dieting.  This year is no exception but thanks to this recipe I am not letting that stop me.  Don’t be scared that I’ve labeled these paleo or skip over as you don’t follow the paleo plan, I would happily serve this to anyone happening to drop by and would make absolutely no apologies.

Mashed Banana

2 Ingredient Paleo Pancakes

The simplicity of the recipe is that it only really relies on 2 ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana

Whatever else you throw in is up to you.  As they do not contain any flour they are much lighter than a regular pancake which also means you can quickly whip up a batch mid week without being weighed down all morning by a heavy breakfast.

How to make Paleo Pancakes

The method is so simple it doesn’t really require a recipe. You need 1 egg and 1 banana per person

  1. Peel and mash the banana
  2. Whisk it into the egg
  3. Stir in your add-ins. Here it’s vanilla extract and ground walnuts
  4. Melt the coconut oil in a wide bottomed pan and ladle in the pancake batter. About 2 tablespoons per pancake.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes, flip then cook for an extra 1 1/2 minutes.

Paleo Pancake Tips!

  • Make sure the banana is a couple of days old so it’s mashable and will give the best banana flavour.
  • Add ground nuts for flavour, texture and extra protein.  Feel free to substitute the walnuts with almonds or pecans if you prefer.

Alternative Add-Ins and Toppings

  • Add blueberries into the batter
  • A pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg will hint at sweetness
  • Lemon zest
  • Or go wild at the weekend and top with a heaping of crispy salty bacon drizzled with maple syrup.
A stack of Banana and Walnut Pancakes on a plate with melted butter

If you need more gluten-free pancake recipes why not try?

Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Maple Syrup
Best Gluten-Free Pancakes
Maple Galettes with Wiltshire Ham and Gruyere

If you make these Paleo Pancakes then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancakes

This Banana and Walnut Paleo Pancake recipe is incredibly versatile, flourless and produces quick but absolutely scrumptious pancakes with minimal ingredients.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: British
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 372kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon ground walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter optional

Instructions

  • Peel and mash the banana then whisk it up with 1 egg.
  • Add the vanilla extract and ground walnuts.
  • Melt 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a frying pan. Ladle in the pancake batter, you should be able to get 3 pancakes from this batter, each about 40-50ml.
  • Heat the pancake through on a gentle heat for 3 minutes on the first side, then flip over and heat for 1½ minutes on the other side.

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 10.2mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Sweet Potato Fries with Bravas Sauce

Sweet Potato Fries with Bravas Sauce

Sweet potato fries are tricky little birds.

I fell in love with these fries when we toured the Southern States of America last year.  They were as ubiquitous as normal potato fries and I had them in heaped generously into baskets at a blues club with a ginormous burger, then at the Bluebird café, whilst girls and their guitars poured their hearts out to an intimate crowd I scoffed sweet potato fries.

Sweet Potato Bravas2

I have made and eaten sweet potato fries many times but nothing compared to the fries I ate in America.  At home they generally get a bit soft in the oven, refusing to crisp and instead clump together to form more of a sweet potato mess.  So it has been my task this week to perfect my favourite chip and get them as uniquely crispy as I know they could be from the States.

It seems where I have been going all wrong is that I haven’t been soaking my potatoes in cold water to get rid of all the pesky starch.  This does require some planning as you need to soak the cut fries for an hour then dry out completely before baking.  It’s worth doing.  I was also advised to toss them in cornflour before the oven as well to encourage the moisture out of the chip.  I switched this to tapioca flour which sits better with the paleo diet which I like to adhere to occasionally then added some spices of my own and it all worked a treat.  I do advise baking them on parchment paper or a silicone sheet as well as these fries love to weld to the baking tray otherwise.

Sweet Potato Bravas4

The fries came out crunchy, sweet, mustard warm and excellent for dipping into bravas sauce.  I made the bravas sauce the day before eating which meant the flavours became more involved.  I could eat bravas sauce with anything, don’t feel you have to stick to tradition.  It’s lovely over buttered veg and served with any meat.  Think of it as Spanish ketchup really.

Sweet Potato Bravas3

Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 2 as a side

400g sweet potato – about 1 large
25g tapioca flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp mustard powder
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

  1. Chop the ends of the sweet potato, peel and chop into thin chips.
  2. Submerge the sweet potato chips in a large bowl of cold water and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Drain the chips, pat dry with kitchen towel then place on a plate in the fridge for 1 hour until the chips are completely dry.
  4. Mix together the tapioca flour, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper in a plastic food bag.
  5. Pour the dry chips into the bag and give a good shake so they are well coated with the seasoning.
  6. Place the chips on baking parchment or silicone sheet on a baking tray in a single layer then put into a fan heated oven pre-heated to 220°C. Bake for 25-30 mins until crisped up, carefully turning once halfway through with a metal spatula so you don’t break up the chips.
  7. Serve hot with the bravas sauce.

Bravas Sauce

700g tomatoes, about 4 large ones
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
½ celery stick, diced
1 red chilli, seeds removed and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp cumin
splash of Fino (optional)

  1. To peel and de-seed the tomatoes, mark a cross on the top of each one with a sharp knife and plunge into just boiled water. Leave for a couple of mins until the skin starts to peel away. Lift out with a slotted spoon, peel off the skin, chop each tomato into thirds to remove the seeds. Once the seeds are removed then chop the tomatoes roughly then set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil then add the onion and celery. Cook on a medium heat for around 5 mins until they start to soften.
  3. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for a couple of mins.
  4. Add the tomatoes, the spices, seasoning and the Fino if using. Stir well together, bring to a boil and simmer for around 20-30 mins until the tomatoes have broken down.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce into a blender and whizz for a couple of mins, scraping down the sides occasionally to make a thick smooth sauce.
  6. Serve hot or cold with the sweet potato fries.

Lemon and Thyme Jelly

Lemon and thyme jelly

I had never made my own jelly before.  My only experience of it up until now had been from childhood or when I was dieting in my early twenties and it was the only dessert allowed.  I have been spoiled by the saccharine sweetness of these packaged cubes.

After trying my hand at jelly two weeks ago I am hooked.  My January drizzle has met its match with these intense fruity delights.  I am entranced by the beauty of the jeweled colours shimmering as the shy sun catches a slight wobble.

Lemon and thyme jelly2

My favourite jelly I have made so far has been these bouncy pots of lemon and thyme.  Bompas and Parr, the fine connoisseurs of all things wobbly explained that the acidity of the pure lemon juice would counteract the gelatine so shots of orange are also needed to help it out.  This does give the jelly a more rounded citrus flavour without losing the desired lemon tang and the thyme adds just a touch of herbal earthiness.

Lemon and thyme jelly4

This week I have been out too many times in the evening, too much wine, too many late nights and early mornings.  I can feel my head quietly pulsing.  As I reach for the refreshing sunshine burst of jelly I can feel my head clearing, the slight sharpness sending an awakening spark down my back and I feel rejuvenation is a mere weekend away.

Lemon and thyme jelly3

Lemon and Thyme Jelly

300ml lemon juice (6-7 large lemons)
200ml orange juice (about 3 oranges)
150g agave nectar or honey
2 sprigs thyme
4 leaves gelatine

  1. In a medium sized saucepan heat the lemon juice, orange juice, agave nectar and the 2 sprigs of thyme until just under boiling.
  2. Remove from the heat and let stand in the saucepan for 1 hour for the thyme to infuse.
  3. Strain the juice and pour back into the saucepan.
  4. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 mins, then squeeze out the excess water.
  5. Add the gelatine to the juice in the saucepan and warm gently until the gelatine melts, do not let boil, it should only take a couple of mins.
  6. Pour into glasses and leave to cool for a couple of hours.
  7. Add a couple of small sprigs of thyme to the tops of the jellies, pressing down slightly to submerge.
  8. Put the jellies in the fridge to set overnight.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Remember rice pudding at school, chalky rice congealing in tasteless gloop.

Well, this rice pudding is exactly like that.  Enjoy!

Just kidding, of course it’s not, it’s worse.

Just kidding, of course it’s not, it’s amazing!

Chuck any preconceptions you have about rice pudding in the bin as I’ve gone for something a bit different today.  Generally considered a nursery pudding due to the fact most of us ate a version of the congealing gloop at nursery school, it can have the tendency to be a big bowl of stodge.  This recipe is much more delicate and fragrant thanks to baking the rice in coconut milk rather than your normal whole fat and fancying up the whole affair with the warming spice of cardamom.  I’ve also thrown out the rice pudding text book which advocates a simple silky texture and instead scattered a handful of coconut flakes to the top which accentuates the coconut and gives a lovely crunch.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding2

The recipe was developed on the back of my current obsession with cardamom – at the moment I am looking to add it to everything and this past week I have been road testing the spice with all sorts of desserts and savouries.  If I see a recipe on pinterest that’s using cardamom then I’ve pinned it to my board quicker than a puppy chasing cheese.  This particular use here is my favourite so far as I love the softness of the coconut balancing with the burst of fragrant cardamom you get every other mouthful.  It makes for a very grown up interpretation of a kitchen classic.

The use of coconut milk also means that the recipe is delightfully dairy free.  I would thoroughly recommend Pride coconut milk as well which is easily obtainable in Sainsburys.  The only reason I mention it rather than allowing you to make up your own adult minds is that it’s half the price of other brands – about 80p, including supermarket’s own and has a very thick consistency.  So often I have been gipped by other brands which are too thin and have ruined recipes by making them bland and watery.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding4

I had a very definite idea of what I wanted from this rice pudding and after an hour or so of researching quantities in my oven baked coconut milk rice pudding I pleasingly found Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s recipe in the Guardian online.  I have nothing to prove and his recipe followed nicely the direction I had hoped to take.  So I swapped a few ingredients around and produced the below.  Now, I do have to apologise, mainly to Felicity Cloake from the Guardian, who berated writers for not using pudding rice in their recipes, asking us to stand up for our great national puddings.  However, since I’m not a writer, I’m a home cook and bearing in mind I have already tinkered about with the classic dish so much I didn’t bother going to the shops to get the pudding rice when I had plenty of arborio to hand.  It worked a treat.

Coconut and rice Pudding 3

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Serves 4

Butter for greasing
80g pudding rice / arborio rice
65g caster sugar
400ml tin coconut milk
½ vanilla pod, cut in two, seeds removed
4 green cardamom pods, seeds removed
25g coconut flakes, toasted

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Grease a shallow baking dish which holds about 1.5 litres.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the rice, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla seeds and cardamom seeds. Fill the empty tin of coconut milk with water and mix in as well.
  4. Pour into the greased dish and bake for 1¾ hrs, making sure to stir well 3 or 4 times during the cooking time.
  5. Scatter over the coconut flakes and serve.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

These easy Roasted Aubergine and Courgettes are sprinkled with sumac and tossed with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon before serving. A wonderful vegetable dish which can be eaten hot or as part of a salad buffet.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

This is an excellent standby week night meal which takes moments to prepare. The vegetables don’t even need peeling, just minimal chopping and then 30-40 minutes roasting in the oven.

Aubergines and courgettes are often misunderstood vegetables as they seem difficult to cook correctly. Sometimes with watery or oily results.

However this recipe is so easy and absolutely foolproof that aubergines and courgettes will become your absolute go-to veg choice when you are looking for a quick meal.

courgette and aubergine3

Why this recipe works so brilliantly

  • Minimal prep time so ideal if you need a hands off dinner.
  • The sumac, fresh herbs and lemon balance out the richness of the roasted vegetables.
  • You can make ahead as this dish is just as good eaten at room temperature.
  • Roasted Aubergine and Courgette can accompany a variety of different meals.

If you need more veggie side dishes then why not try:

English Mint Potato Salad
Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine
The Best Homemade Coleslaw

courgette and aubergine

Do you need to salt aubergines?

Yes and no. Years ago aubergines were much more bitter so they required salting to make them more palatable. The bitterness has been bred out of them now though so there is no more need to salt for that purpose. However, aubergines do soak up a lot of oil when cooking so salting them prior to cooking helps the aubergine to absorb less oil.

I’m happy to report though that there is no need to salt the aubergines in this recipe. We are looking for speed here.

TIP:  If you feel the end result is too oily then you can pat the vegetables dry with clean kitchen paper before tossing with the herbs and lemon.

What is Sumac?

Sumac is popular in middle eastern cooking. It has a tart lemony flavour. Lovely sprinkled over salads, grilled meats or vegetables.

Here it adds a tanginess to the roasted vegetables, cutting through the richness of the olive oil.

How to Roast Aubergine and Courgette

There is minimal prep involved here.

  1. Cut each vegetable into 8 wedges, by slicing in half width ways, then cutting the halves length ways twice.
  2. Toss in the olive oil, sumac and salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30-40 minutes (depending on how large your vegetables were to begin with).
  4. Finally toss with the fresh herbs and lemon.

Roasted aubergine and courgette2

What to serve with Roasted Aubergine and Courgette

  • Lamb Kebabs
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Toss through with pasta for a vegan main dish
  • Serve drizzled with garlicky yoghurt
  • Take to a pot luck for a healthy veggie option

If you make this Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

These easy Roasted Aubergine and Courgettes are sprinkled with sumac and tossed with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon before serving. A wonderful vegetable dish which can be eaten hot or as part of a salad buffet.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 210kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 courgettes
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sumac
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 10 g mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 10 g coriander leaves roughly chopped
  • 10 g parsley leaves roughly chopped
  • Wedge of lemon

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
  • Prepare the courgette and aubergine by slicing off the stems. Cut each one in half width ways. Halve each again lengthways and then cut into 16 wedges in total.
  • Place the wedges on a baking tray then toss with the olive oil, sumac and salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes, checking halfway through to give a good mix around.
  • Once the aubergine and courgette are soft, lightly browned and slightly crispy at the corners then remove from the oven.
  • Sprinkle over the fresh herbs, mixing together with a squeeze of lemon.

Notes

  • Cut aubergine browns quickly so don’t leave it hanging around the kitchen after you have turned it into wedges.
  • You can enjoy this dish hot from the oven or cooled and served at room temperature.
  • Lovely served with grilled lamb or chicken or tossed through pasta for a vegan option.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 821mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 734IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in 2014, but was updated in August of 2019 to make the recipe instructions clearer as well as nutritional information and expert tips.