Actually Good Healthier Sausage

Applegate Breakfast Sausage

Applegate Breakfast Sausage

I Paid: $5.99 for 10 sausages (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

The word "sausage" and the expression "health food" are so rarely associated with one another that they're practically opposites. And while Applegate Farms' frozen, fully cooked breakfast sausages don't make an explicit boast of healthiness, they're free of antibiotics, nitrates, nitrites, and gluten. They're made from chicken (generally speaking, a healthier meat than pork) and those chickens are "raised on sustainable family farms in a stress-free environment."

Two of the company's sausage links (either Chicken and Sage or Chicken and Maple) have 100 calories with 60 percent of the calories coming from fat, as compared to 113 calories and 76 percent fat for two links of Jimmy Dean's Maple Sausage Links.

All of this feel-goodery, of course, means nothing without flavor. Luckily, it's there. The Chicken and Maple variety has just a touch of natural-tasting maple flavor, and while there's a hint of sweetness, it's not overpowering. Chicken and Sage has a wonderful and distinct hit of natural sage flavor that complements the chicken. Both varieties had a tender texture that was pleasant, although some might regret the lack of snap—the sausages are formed meat logs, as opposed to forcemeat packed into casing. Still, overall, these things are tasty, relatively healthy, and easy to prepare. The catch, of course, is the price: $6 for 10 small links may be prohibitive for plenty of budgets. But then, you get what you pay for.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.