The Recipe: Healthy Italian sausages from Trader Joe's onions and grapes (or cherries! or blackberries!) glazed with balsamic vinegar.
Recipe updated & republished 2015 for a little weekend cooking inspiration!
A couple of times a summer, we hit the sausage counter at Whole Foods, we love their house-made sausages! Zap! onto the grill they go, tucked into a bun with a zigzag of mustard and some pickled onions.
But nutritionally? I don't wanna know, I really don't.
Trader Joe's, though, has a good selection of sausages. They're smaller in size – cool, cuz we all know portion size matters. They have nutrition labels – extra-cool, cuz if I'm gonna go bad, I'd like to know kinda how bad, y'know? And they taste great – and that's from someone who loves Trader Joe's but bypasses the meat refrigerator Every.Single.Time.
The real test, though? The ingredient list! Here goes. Skinless chicken meat. Red and green peppers. Water. Seasoning. Yeah, I can live with that! (For the record, this is not a sponsored recipe. I just really like these Sweet Italian-Style Sausages from Trader Joe's and want to pass along the tip.)
So now I'm back to fixing sausages more often, especially with this recipe that really calls to me during summer when the grapes are so plump and sweet. I've made it with pitted cherries too, so so good! There's just something mesmerizing about the glazed fruit, the bitter greens, the rich sausages.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE with GRAPES & GREENS
Time-to-table: 30 minutes
- 1 pound uncooked Italian sausage or 4 or 8 pre-cooked Trader Joe's Sweet Italian-Style Sausages
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 medium onion, slivered
- 1 pound seedless red grapes, some whole, some halved
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 pound tender (but not baby) spinach, stems removed
- Salt & pepper to taste
Heat a large, heavy skillet well-seasoned cast iron skillet on high. Once it’s very hot, add the sausages. Watching and turning carefully so not to burn, let the sausages brown a bit on all sides, sorry, no shortcuts on this step!
Once the sausages have color, add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and the onion, then reduce the heat a bit. Cook for about 8 minutes, adding more stock if the sausage starts to stick. The sausages should be almost fully cooked before continuing. If using pre-cooked sausages, as long as they're heated through, set the sausages aside to continue.
Add the grapes and vinegar. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grapes are warmed through and vinegar has begun to glaze the sausage and grapes. Push the sausage and grapes to the outer edge, leaving some liquid in center.
Add the spinach in handfuls, letting each one cook down a bit (and seasoning with salt and pepper) before adding the next, the spinach should be cooked but still bright green.
Slice partway into the sausages, serve atop grapes and greens.
With Trader Joe's Sweet Italian-Style Sausages, assumes just 1 each/2 each sausages per serving: Per Serving: 249/359 Calories; 7/13g Fat; 2/4g Sat Fat; 33/35g Carb; 4g Fiber; 589/1039mg Sodium; 55/110mg Cholesterol; 23/24g Sugar; 16/27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5/7.5 & WW Points Plus 6/9.
With Italian sausage for Comparison, Per Serving: 532 Calories; 34g Fat; 13g Sat Fat; 32g Carb; 4g Fiber; 967mg Sodium; 86mg Cholesterol; 22g Sugar; 21g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 13 & WW Points Plus 14. Believe it or not, this version of the recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in fat and portion size and additions of fiber- and nutrient-rich vegetables.
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