Sausage Balls

Sausage balls may not scream, “HOLIDAY!” to you but last year a friend brought some like these to our Thanksgiving get-together and we loved snacking on them throughout the day as we awaited the big meal. On a day when dinner is maybe a bit later than usual but you don’t want to eat too much beforehand and spoil your appetite, a few of these are perfect appetizers. We listed them along with our Fresh Salted Pears w/Yogurt Cheese and Deviled Eggs to make a nice, diverse appetizer menu we think you’ll enjoy very much for the holidays. Of course, any other time of year these are delicious for a snack or breakfast.

We tested this recipe several different ways because we wanted there to be a way to make it grain-free or maybe just gluten-free, if you like. We also used both beef and pork breakfast sausages. Holy Cow Beef carries a wonderful beef breakfast sausage of their own as well as a delicious pork breakfast sausage by Lisemby Farms. If you are local, you can place your order with Ann through the contact email on their website – www.holycowbeef.com – and then pick it up right off their front porch. If you aren’t local give them a call and ask them how you can get your hands on some of their beef and other products. They deliver regularly to cities all over TX.

If you want to track down a breakfast sausage at your local grocery store look for buzz words and phrases like, “organic,” “hormone and antibiotic-free,” “non-GMO,” and “pasture-based or grass-fed.” Do the best you can.

*A few notes from the test kitchen: The beef sausage we used had less fat content than the pork sausage. This will be the case between beef and pork sausage pretty much any time. So, the sausage balls we made with the beef sausage did not hold their shape as well as the pork version did. However, they were still delicious and if we allowed them to cool almost completely before moving them around they didn’t fall apart on us so much.

*We didn’t add salt at all to the recipe because, in the case of both the beef and pork versions, the sausage was salty enough and we didn’t think extra salt was needed. If you use a sausage that is salt-free OR if you are using a brand you know isn’t particularly salty, you may want to add a bit.

*We tested this recipe with almond flour. We’ve also tested it with the Wheat Belly All-Purpose Baking Mix. Both are grain-free options. Both are delicious. We also tested a few gluten-free (but not grain-free) pancake mixes from Natural Grocers. Pancake mixes are a bit sweet and this mix smelled a lot sweeter than it tasted (thankfully…we were a little worried we had made sausage cookies). We were surprised we liked it – but pancakes and sausage do kind of go together come to think of it… 😉

*One more test we conducted was swapping out the cream cheese for yogurt cheese (homemade from this post). Both versions were wonderful and there didn’t seem to be much difference between the two versions. The yogurt cheese version was just a bit more tart and less rich. For more on why you may choose homemade yogurt cheese over cream cheese read, “How To Make Yogurt Cheese.”

So, without further ado, here’s our yummy, 4-ingredient sausage balls:

ingredients

Grain-free/gluten-free version:

  • 1 lb ground pork or breakfast sausage see post notes for what we used, uncooked
  • 1 1/4 C almond flour/meal OR Wheat Belly All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 8 oz. cream cheese or homemade yogurt cheese softened
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese preferably grass-fed or hormone and antibiotic-free, grated

Gluten-free (but not grain-free) version:

  • 1 lb ground pork or breakfast sausage see post notes for what we used, uncooked
  • 1 1/4 C Kristen’s gluten-free Hearty Wholegrain Pancake and Waffle Mix OR another brand of gluten-free mix like this such as Bob’s Red Mill would work) found at Natural Grocers
  • 8 oz. cream cheese or homemade yogurt cheese softened
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese preferably grass-fed or hormone and antibiotic-free, grated

instructions

  1. Allow your cream or yogurt cheese to come room temperature so it’s easy to mix with the other ingredients.
  2. Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Put all ingredients in a bowl and with a sturdy spoon or spatula (or your hands) mix and press until everything is thoroughly and evenly combined. You may even use your stand mixer and let it do this work. Easier on the arms.
  4. Roll your mixture into 1-inch size balls and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. You should get about 2 dozen sausage balls from this recipe.
  5. Place the sausage balls in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and let cool a bit before serving. If you used beef sausage let them cool almost completely before handling them so they won’t fall apart when you move them.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can prepare the sausage balls the day before and put them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. You can even roll them up and freeze them uncooked. If you’re baking frozen sausage balls be sure to about 5 more minutes to your baking time. 

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