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Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese

Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini topped with Whipped Goat Cheese

This Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini topped with Whipped Goat Cheese is the perfect party appetizer to wow your guests for the holidays. It’s fancy, delicious, and so easy!

The other day I was driving around running a couple of errands (cuz you know Christmas) when a song came on the radio that brought me to tears.

I should have known the tears were coming. Every time I hear this particular song it happens.

The song was “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

Crostini with whipped goat cheese and caramelized onions

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the Christmas of 2002, shall we. After 9/11 happened in 2001 my dad decided he needed to help his country in any way he could. He made a few phone calls and ended up with a job stationed in Washington DC. Only problem was it was a year long post and we lived in Wisconsin.

At the time my parents were going through a bit of bumpy road in their marriage, from all vantage points a divorce was going to happen. Neither of them were happy. I remember being scared and thinking “this was it,” when my dad accepted the position in DC.

We weren’t moving to DC ….  he was. He was going to be gone for a whole year. What happens when that year is up? Does he come back? Divorce? No one talked about it. We just kinda went through our days as if things were ok, but deep down it felt like our world was falling apart.

This Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini topped with Whipped Goat Cheese is the perfect party appetizer to wow your guests for the holidays. It's fancy, delicious, and so easy! | joyfulhealthyeats.com

Christmas of 2002 rolled around. I had Christmas break from college so I came home to my mom and brother, Dad was still in DC and wasn’t going to make it for Christmas for the first time ever. Even the years he had to work on Christmas Eve or Day (he was a police officer) we would still celebrate Christmas together as a family. Every year we rotated homes for Christmas so that one person didn’t get stuck hosting. This year was my cousins turn to host. We packed all the presents in our laundry baskets, packed the trays of Christmas Cookies and headed over to my cousins house for Christmas dinner.

It was great and horrible all at the same time. Great because it’s Christmas. But horrible because it’s Christmas and my dad wasn’t there, it didn’t feel real.

My brother and I were downstairs playing pool with my cousins kids after dinner while everyone else cleaned up before we opened presents. Finally we heard the call, “Ok, everyone upstairs.”

I remember running up the spiral staircase, walking into the living room and every one staring at my brother and I.

All of a sudden my dad walks out from behind the wall!!! He still has his coat on, cold from the outside, tears in his eyes, but a huge smile on his face.

I literally just broke down crying. My heart was about to burst. I  ran up to him just about knocking him over and gave him the biggest hug ever!

It was the BEST Christmas gift I could have received! My dad was back home and my family was reunited!

Now, every time I hear the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” this is the scene that plays out in my head and tears come to my eyes. I will always remember that Christmas, it is forever engraved on my heart!  It was the Christmas that LOVE was the primary gift and family was all that mattered. Like it should be. (on a side note, this year 2015 my parents celebrated 36 years of marriage, God is so good and can bring beauty from the ashes)

Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini topped with Whipped Goat Cheese
Ok, so right now. There is no possible way to transition from that to Italian Sausage … except the fact that this Wisconsin girl grew up on Grilled Italian Sausage topped with Peppers and Onions. I guess in a way, this appetizer is kinda an ode to my mom and her incredible culinary skills! Muah!

I feel like November it’s all about the Turkey and side dishes but in December it’s all about the Holiday Appetizers and Christmas Cookies.

So, on that note … behold … the worlds most delicious Crostini you will ever have!

This baby is topped with crispy pan seared Italian Sausage, whipped Goat Cheese that has a slight hint of garlic, and then finished off with the grand daddy of them all …  a caramelized balsamic shallot relish that will make you swoon!  Oh and if you want to make it even more over the top (ppffff… yeah!!!) then drizzle it with some homemade Balsamic Reduction to make it extra elegant!

Just a warning, this appetizer is in no way healthy. It is comfort food and delicious to the core AND YOU NEED TO MAKE IT! Put on your fatty pants and rock it! Bon Appetite my friends!

Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini topped with Whipped Goat Cheese

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This Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini is cut into triangles and topped with pan-seared Italian Sausage, whipped Goat Cheese, and balsamic relish | joyfulhealthyeats.com

Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 10 crostinis 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Holiday,
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian


This crostini is topped with crispy pan-seared Italian Sausage, whipped Goat Cheese with a hint of garlic, and finished off with a caramelized balsamic shallot relish.


  • loaf of ciabatta bread, halved lengthwise (you will have to long pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots, peel removed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, diced
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 italian sausages
  • 1/4 cup chives, diced
  • optional: balsamic reduction to drizzle on top


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. To make the Balsamic Shallot Relish: In a small bowl, add shallot and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Place shallots on a baking sheets or baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and roughly chop. Add chopped shallots to a small bowl with remaining tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt, and fresh thyme. Toss to mix. Set aside.
  4. To make the whipped goat cheese: add goat cheese, cream cheese, and garlic powder to a food processor. Blend until smooth and combined. (if you don’t have a food processor put everything in a bowl and use a hand mixer) Set aside.
  5. To make the italian sausage: heat a medium skillet to medium high heat. Add italian sausage, cook sausage for 3-4 minutes on each side (all four sides) until browned on all sides. Remove and let sit.
  6. To make the bread: Preheat oven to high broiler. Drizzle olive oil on the inside of the bread. Place on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 4 minutes.
  7. Remove bread from the oven.
  8. Slice Italian Sausage into 1/4″ coins
  9. Assemble the Crosinis: Spread the goat cheese mixture evenly on each loaf, top with balsamic shallot relish, and italian sausage. Garnish with chives and more fresh thyme.
  10. Slice and serve!
  11. Optional: drizzle with homemade balsamic reduction for a fancy finish


  • Serving Size: 1 crostini
  • Calories: 333
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 586 mg
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Cholesterol: 22 mg

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20 comments on “Balsamic Italian Sausage Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese”

  1. Absolutely amazing! This was a little labor intensive (having to prepare each component individually) but man did it pay off! I made this for an appetizer-wine pairing party and won best app! I paired it with a syrah.
    Despite the labor, I’d definitely make this again! Btw, the whipped goat cheese can be prepared a day ahead of time and it tastes even better. If you really love garlic, you could add an extra 1/4 tsp. garlic powder in the goat cheese!
    Thanks for a GREAT recipe!

  2. Avatar photo
    Susan Buckethal

    I made these Balsamic Sausage Crostinis for poker night on Saturday and this is definitely a 5*****star recipe!
    Everyone loved them. Thank You, Thank You Krista.

    1. Oh girl! These are awesome! WE love them during the holidays but definitely a poker night kinda appetizer! And now I’m hungry for them!

  3. Avatar photo
    Cookin Canuck

    Aww, what a great holiday story. There truly is no better gift than family being together during the holidays. And that get-together is made even better with great food – like this gorgeous crostini!

  4. Avatar photo
    Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama

    Awwwww… I love that story! <3 That is what the holiday season is really about. And this crostini sounds amazing! Love that whipped goat cheese. 🙂

  5. I love everything about this! Not only is it gorgeous but the flavors…the caramelized shallots, the sausage, the balsamic. I am drooling and want this for breakfast!

  6. Avatar photo
    Sheena @Tea and Biscuits

    This looks just perfect, I am not able to eat cow dairy but thankfully I can eat some goats cheese now and again so I’ll need to try this out! Thank you for sharing the story about your parents, it was very touching. I’m so glad to hear that they are still going strong! 🙂

    1. Goat Cheese is almost the only cheese I eat anyways… love the stuff! Can’t wait for you to try it. And thank you so much, glad that the story touched you Sheena. 🙂

  7. Avatar photo
    Chandra@The Plaid & Paisley Kitchen

    What a sweet story about your family. I know how hard those bumpy roads in marriages are. We went through one ourselves this year. You know what a fan I am for your recipes and photography! I know that this beautiful appetizer will put a big ole smile on my hubby’s face!

    1. Thank you so much Chandra! There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and then so much joy as well! 🙂

      You are too sweet girl, just made my day! 🙂

  8. I can see making sandwiches for outdoor activities in the winter like walking around the botanical garden or so.