Low-fat and Herb-loaded Sausage

Try these healthy sausage recipes.

| August/September 1998

  • A good sausage balances the sweet pungency of tropical spices with the flavors of leafy herbs.
  • These sizzling Turkey and Pear Sausages are packed with flavor and light on fat.
  • These sizzling Turkey and Pear Sausages are packed with flavor and light on fat.
  • A vegetarian sausage, Cajun Garden Boudin (left), is paired here with a beef version, Endless Summer Sausage.


• Colonial American Sausage 
• Turkey and Pear Sausage 
• Endless Summer Sausage 
• Cajun Garden Boudin 
• Elegant Seafood Sausage 
• Italian Sausage with Fennel and Garlic 

In the Deep South, sausage is a part of life. Louisiana cooks make andouille of cubed meat and fiery cayenne, slowly smoked over sassafras or pecan wood and basted with syrup. Boudin is a Cajun sausage, now gaining popularity, made with rice, pork, thyme, and parsley; we include a vegetarian version below. Mexico’s influence brings us spicy chorizo in its various guises, and throughout the South and Southwest, venison sausage, slowly smoked to keep the lean meat moist, is a favorite.

To most Americans, “sausage” means patties or links of ground pork, but sausage making has always been a variable culinary art form, adapting to whatever meats and seasonings were available at sausage-making time, traditionally in autumn. Today, we enjoy not only pork and beef sausages,but also poultry, seafood, and even ­vegetarian versions. We don’t have to bother with time-consuming curing methods such as drying, smoking, and ­salting, which helped preserve meat ­before the advent of refrigerators and freezers. We can eat sausages freshly made or freeze them for later.

How does sausage fit into a modern, low-fat diet? We take a balanced approach to meals and eat almost anything in moderation—including our favorite sausages. If you’re watching your calorie and fat intake, a sensible idea is to use a bit of robust-flavored sausage to season otherwise bland dishes; it adds a lot of flavor but only a few grams of fat.

If your love of sausage gives you a guilty conscience, you’ll find that our Turkey and Pear Sausage is relatively low in fat; coriander seed, basil, and tarragon contribute flavor, and the fruit keeps it moist. Creative tinkering with classic recipes makes it possible to devise delicious yet healthful sausages.

Try making sausage on a quiet weekend, or invite some friends over and make a party of it. The recipes may look complicated, but they’re fun and doable. Making your own ensures that you can pronounce the name of every ingredient.

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