she cooks…he cleans

Real food, gluten-free meals, and eclectic music!

Sausage Cheese Balls (gluten-free)

One of my favorite holiday food memories is from spending the night at my cousin LuAnn’s house every year.  Her mother, Norma, always had plenty of delicious, homemade treats in the house around Christmas, and we thought we were so clever sneaking into the kitchen in the middle of the night to gorge on fudge, chex mix, candy and sausage balls – and we probably washed it down with Pepsi.  I’m sure no one ever noticed two giggling girls tiptoeing around at 1 am, or the missing layer of fudge the next morning.  Amazingly, this did not make us sick, although I doubt we got much sleep all hyped up on sugar!

This year I decided we needed sausage balls to help get us in the spirit of the season.  This is the basic “Bisquick” recipe, without the Bisquick.  There is a gluten-free version of Bisquick available, but if you check out the ingredients, you’ll find sugar as the 2nd listed ingredient, as well as leavening that contains aluminum phosphate.  I think I will avoid using that!

Recently I bought some fancy pants, gluten-free flour that was developed by Chef Thomas Keller for Williams Sonoma (Cup4Cup).  It is highly acclaimed as an excellent flour, and I am anxious to try it out soon to make a real dough for bread or pizza.  However, at $20 for 3 pounds of it, I want to be careful what I use it for.  Making substitute Bisquick is probably not the intended use for this flour, but hey, it’s Christmas.  To stretch it out as much as possible, I mixed it in with blanched almond flour.  Since these sausage balls were already off to a highfalutin start, I decided to use locally made bulk sausage from Whole Foods, and a mixture of 3 cheeses.

If you, understandably, do not want to use fancy pants gluten-free flour for your sausage balls, you can substitute another brand (such as Bob’s Red Mill) or other type of gluten-free flour, such as rice flour.

Making sausage balls is a bit messy-  you have to get your hands in it and it takes some hard kneading to get it well mixed, but I think it is worth it!  They make nice snacks, and great memories.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 pound raw breakfast sausage
  • 10 ounces grated cheese (I used a mixture of sharp cheddar, monterey jack, and mild hoop cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix together the flours, salt, and baking powder.  Add the cheese and toss well to coat the cheese with the flour.  Add the sausage, and using your hands, work it into the cheese and flour mixture by breaking up the sausage and kneading it all together to form a ball.  It may help to put the bowl on a low surface, such as a chair, so that you can “lean into it” while kneading.  If the mixture seems too dry to stick together, add a small amount of milk or cream.  (This can vary due to differing moisture content of the cheese and sausage used.)

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.  Break off bits of the sausage mixture and roll in your hands to make balls that are approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place them on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.  Be careful not to overcook, or they will become tough when they cool off.

Transfer the sausage balls to paper towels to cool slightly before eating.  They are best served warm or at room temperature.  Happy Holidays!


Now you know I have some Christmas classics to share! First off, the one, the only John Fahey with The New Possibility.  One of many holiday albums he did, but this is my favorite. His sparse arrangements and beautiful technique changed the way we heard six string guitar music, and this is a stellar example.

What would Christmas be without the The Charlie Byrd Christmas Album? It just wouldn’t be Christmas to my ears! Byrd’s lovely nylon string guitar captures the holiday classics on this album, now with extra cuts. Enjoy!

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12 comments on “Sausage Cheese Balls (gluten-free)

  1. Dave
    December 24, 2011

    Man, those look tasty. I love Whole Foods’ sausage. I’ve not tried the Cup4Cup yet, but will be interested to see what you think of it in a “real” dough recipe.

    Have a happy and a merry!

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    December 24, 2011

    These are such a crowd please, it’s great you made a version more people can enjoy.

  3. Kristen @ The Endless Meal
    December 25, 2011

    These look fantastic!

  4. Jo
    December 26, 2011

    Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at foodepix.com.

  5. LuAnn
    January 7, 2012

    I would love to try these! I’ll send this to my sister-in-law who has taken my niece off gluten with wonderful results. I got to see your folks for Christmas and they looked great. It was wonderful to see them. When am I going to get to see you guys!!!??? Love you, miss you.

    • She cooks...He cleans
      January 7, 2012

      We hope to be up there soon for a visit – I’ll let you know. It will likely be mid to late January. Love and miss you too…it’s been too long!

  6. Misty
    October 23, 2012

    I made these as part of dinner tonight and they were delicious! I added some garlic and onion powder to the mix, otherwise the recipe was exactly as written. I also used “country sage breakfast sausage” which lent a great sage flavor to the finished product. Oh, one last idea–my son can’t have cow diary so we used Daiya cheeze in cheddar and he loved it! My husband couldn’t tell the difference between ones made with Daiya and Tillamook medium cheddar! Thanks for an awesome recipe. I am planning to make more to freeze…great for a breakfast on the go!

    • She cooks...He cleans
      October 25, 2012

      I think the seasonings will depend on what is in the sausage mix, but I love the idea of extra garlic and onion! The sausage balls are a great breakfast treat and good for snacking too. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Misty
    October 25, 2012

    cow “dairy” LOL

  8. Michelle Spencer
    December 30, 2012

    Sub for almond flour for those with nut allergies?

    • She cooks...He cleans
      December 30, 2012

      Last time I made these, I actually halved the amount of flour and used a combo of rice and almond flours. I’m pretty sure you can use rice flour only, or some combo of other gluten free flours or an “all purpose” flour. However, I would not use coconut flour because the taste does not work well in my opinion.

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