Italian Sausage with Grapes & Greens

Italian Sausage with fruity grapes & dark spinach

So nutrition-wise, how bad is Italian sausage? Bad. Really bad.

Trouble is, taste-wise, Italian sausage is good. Really good. Really, really, really good. And it’s cheap and cooks up quickly with little attention. So on occasion, Italian sausage slips its way onto the menu. And the food police shouldn’t mind, so long as whoever’s in charge of the family’s nutrition knows what’s up.

Still, like pizza, Italian sausage always surprises me, in part because the best comes from small producers without nutrition labels.

And how bad can it be, right? In small portions, say. And cooked without added fat and served on a bed of healthful leafy greens.

Sorry, still bad. Still really bad.

But still so good. So very good.

Eat it and savor every bite. And if you follow the ‘you might as well the way you are’ school of nutrition, then spoon up a banana split for dessert.

If not, well, celery and water it is. Such is the cost of eating well. Really well.

ALANNA's TIPS Sweet Italian sausage works great but some palates will prefer the spicy sausage that contrasts beautifully with the sweet grapes and tart vinegar. The reduced-fat chicken-based Italian sausage works fine in a pinch but can’t come close to matching the flavor of the real stuff. It’s hard to get a non-stick pan hot enough for this dish so I use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. If you like, grill the sausages, then drizzle the balsamic glaze over top.
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Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time-to-table: 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • About ½ cup (but start with ¼ cup) fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, slivered
  • 1 pound seedless red grapes, some whole, some halved
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound baby spinach, stems removed
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large heavy skillet (see TIPS) on high. Once it’s very hot, add the sausage. Watching and turning carefully so not to burn, let brown a bit on all sides. Once it has color, add ¼ cup of the chicken broth and the onion, then reduce the heat a bit. Cook for about 8 minutes, adding more broth if the sausage starts to stick.

Add grapes and vinegar. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until 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 before adding the next. Season greens with salt and pepper. Slice sausage and serve atop grapes and greens.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Believe it or not, this dish is Alanna-sized with reductions in fat and portion size and additions of fiber- and nutrient-rich vegetables. Per Serving: 517 Cal (61% from Fat); 36g Tot Fat; 13g Sat Fat; 30g Carb; 4g Fiber; 993mg Sodium; 86mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 13 points

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

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I've heard of having grapes with sausages before, but I've never had it myself. I would imagine it cuts the salitness, no?
There's something really delicious about the fatty-salty sausages paired with the sweet-wet grapes and the vinegary-dark balsamic. I just wish one could eat it more often!!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna