Baked Sauerkraut Balls with Mustard Beer Dipping Sauce: A healthier version of a classic appetizer. Baked instead of fried and full of meat and tangy sauerkraut–no bread crumbs needed. Served with a side of mustard beer dipping sauce, these sauerkraut balls are guaranteed to be a welcomed remix of a classic recipe. Paleo. Gluten-Free.
Does your family have the tradition to ring in the new year with Sauerkraut for good luck? Well, mine does, even though we are not at all superstitious. Go figure. My parents tortured us for years making us eat a spoonful of boiled sauerkraut each year. It was horrible. So I grew up thinking I hated sauerkraut. Just like I grew up hating Brussels Sprouts. Now I love them both. Totally about HOW they are prepared–why, it took my mom so long to catch on to this, who knows?
Anyways, I think the first time I decided sauerkraut was not all bad was when I had a sauerkraut ball. You know, one full of sausage and breaded and deep-fried? Yep–how can that be bad?!! Well, not bad tasting, but certainly bad for you! It was actually one of the first recipes a reader asked me to recreate. It has taken me awhile to remake this. Not sure why, but now I have finally come to the rescue.
I have created a Baked Sauerkraut ball that is flavorful, Paleo, gluten-free and TASTY!! It is perfect to ring in the New Year with–even if it is not your family tradition. It just makes a GREAT appetizer. Serve it with my Mustard Beer Dipping sauce (sorry, that is NOT gluten-free, unless you use gf beer!) and it takes it over the top! I promise you no one will be gagging and crying over eating this form of sauerkraut.
The basics of this remix are easy. First off, bake instead of deep fry. That is a no brainer. But while I was at it, I decided to NOT bread these for an even lighter appetizer, and if I was keeping the bread crumbs off the exterior, I decided to forgo them in the meat mixture as well–might as well keep it gluten-free for all my gfree peeps. And an egg binds these balls together perfectly. Finally, instead of overly processed pork sausage, I made my own “sausage.” Sounds daunting? Trust me, it is just as easy as mixing up your choice of ground meat (turkey, pork, chicken, beef) with a few spices. See–no reason to buy sausage full of MSG, corn syrup, and excess sodium. However, if you are really afraid of mixing meat up with a few spices, go ahead and buy good quality nitrate-free, MSG free ground sausage. But I am telling, it is JUST as easy to make your own!!
So mix, mix and shape into 1 inch shaped balls and bake. Easy, peasy.
And what goes better with sauerkraut than mustard?! Come on, all my Cleveland friends–sausage with kraut and mustard is where it is at!! So I reduced down a rich lager and mixed in some Dijon mustard. Spicy, tangy, and incredibly deep in flavor. I choose beer to add to the mustard because most choose to pair their sausage and kraut with a cold beer. I just am serving mine warm and on the side–trust me, it works!!
- ½ pound ground meat (I used sirloin, but turkey, chicken or pork work)
- ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 (16 ounce) can sauerkraut, well drained and lightly chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- For Sauce:
- 1 cup dark beer
- ½ cup Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- Mix together meat and seasonings. Cover and refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor, but not necessary.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.
- Mix together sauerkraut and egg into meat mixture. Shape into 1 inch balls. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned.
- For sauce, reduce beer over low heat until it is reduced to ½ cup. Once beer is reduced, stir in Dijon mustard and horseradish.
- Serve meatballs alongside mustard sauce.
Looking for more appetizer ideas? Give these a try: