Lower-fat kielbasa and Swiss create healthy Reuben | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lower-fat kielbasa and Swiss create healthy Reuben

Jim Romanoff / The Associated Press

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** A Smoked Sausage Reuben Sandwich is seen in this Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 photo. This healthier version of the deli classic has a good balance of tangy, sweet and smoky flavors. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

Sausage doesn’t make many top-10 lists of healthy foods, and for good reason. Most are fatty and loaded with salt.

But these days grocers offer plenty of sausages that are healthier, and some are quite good. But you need to be a careful consumer, because not all so-called healthy sausages are equally good or good for you.

Chicken and turkey have a reputation for being low in fat, so you might think poultry-based dinner sausages also would be lean.

Not always. Poultry sausages vary widely in fat content, so read the labels carefully. A serving of dinner sausages can have as little as 4 grams of fat or as many as 17 grams. It all depends on whether skin or fat were added to keep the sausage moist.

And just because a product is labeled “reduced fat” or “light” doesn’t mean it is low in fat.

Breakfast sausages face similar issues. Some brands can have as little as 2 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving. Others, even those with healthy-sounding labels, can have as much as 15 grams of fat.

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Unfortunately, good flavor in a low-fat sausage often comes with substantial amounts of sodium. The trick is to find a healthy sausage made from a recipe that blends herbs and spices with other flavoring ingredients (such as dried fruit, chilies or caramelized onions) rather then depending heavily on salt.

But if you are trying to cut down on salt, even low-fat sausage might not be right for your diet.

This recipe for a smoked sausage Reuben sandwich can be made with either low-fat kielbasa or polish-style smoked sausage, both of which are surprisingly good.

Like the deli classic, this sandwich balances the smoky flavor of the sausage with tangy, crisp sauerkraut and sweet Russian-style dressing made with light mayonnaise and bottled chili sauce.

Melted Jarlsberg lite cheese provides the final satisfying layer for this grilled sandwich, though any reduced-fat Swiss cheese can be used. Serve this with a side of crunchy carrots and celery sticks and a tangy dill pickle.

Smoked Sausage Reuben Sandwich

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 2

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chili sauce

4 slices seeded rye bread

8 thin slices Jarlsberg lite or other low-fat Swiss cheese (about 3 ounces total)

6 ounces 97 percent fat-free smoked sausage or kielbasa

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup sauerkraut

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and chili sauce. Spread the dressing on one side of each slice of bread. Top each slice with 2 slices of cheese. Set aside.

Slice the sausages on the diagonal into long, thin slices. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low, heat the oil.

Add the sausages to the skillet and saute until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Divide the sausage between two of the slices of bread, arranging the slices in even layers.

Add the sauerkraut to the skillet and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Divide it between the two sandwiches, spreading it over the sausages. Top with the remaining prepared bread slices.

Place the sandwiches in the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the sandwiches are browned on both sides and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes per side.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 570 calories; 206 calories from fat; 23 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 82 mg cholesterol; 58 g carbohydrate; 33 g protein; 4 g fiber; 2,159 mg sodium.