bratwurst side dishes

What To Serve With Brats?

Bratwurst is a unique type of sausage, and it is often a staple in cookouts and celebrations. You can enjoy it any time of the year. However, you might want to look into what to serve with brats before you start cooking.

In this article, we will let you know all there is to know about brats and what goes well with them. You can enjoy any of these recipes at any point, and make your brats shine more!

What Are Brats?

Brat is short for bratwurst, a type of sausage from Germany. The meat often comes from beef, veal, or pork. The word comes from old German, in which brat is chopped meat and wurst is sausage.

Most brats out there are heavily seasoned, usually with coriander, ginger, nutmeg, caraway, marjoram, and even cheddar cheese. In Germany, there are over 40 kinds of brats, with different serving methods too. However, most bratwursts come with a bread roll, mustard, and sauerkraut.

In the United States, brats are increasingly popular, particularly in regions where Germans emigrated. Some of the most common states to serve varieties of brats include Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Iowa. In most places, brats come with condiments and potato salad.

Bars and beer gardens tend to be the ideal place to find brats, and they are usually accompanied by cheese and beer. For the most part, brats can be high in protein, but depending on their preparation and the type of meat, they can also have high cholesterol.

Nutrition Facts

One pork bratwurst (85 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 283 calories
  • 43.7 g water
  • 11.6 g protein
  • 24.8 g fat
  • 2.42 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fiber
  • 0 g sugar
  • 23.8 mg calcium
  • 0.451 mg iron
  • 17.8 mg magnesium
  • 177 mg phosphorus
  • 296 mg potassium
  • 719 mg sodium
  • 33.7 µg selenium
  • 62.9 mg cholesterol

While brats can be a relatively good meal when it comes to flavor and helping you feel satisfied, they can also be high in fat and sodium. Choosing leaner meat, like turkey or chicken, could help lower the fat and calories. Cooking them at home with healthy ingredients is also a great way to make them healthier.

What Goes With Brats

If you’re wondering what to serve with bratwurst, below are some bratwurst side dishes that you can serve at any time!

#1. Mustard Potato Salad

A classic potato salad goes well with any bratwurst, but this one is particularly good because it mixes sweet and spicy flavors. You can add more or fewer ingredients to get a better texture if you want.

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 10 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your mustard potato salad:

  1. Clean and peel your potatoes. Place them in a large pot with water and salt. Cook your potatoes for at least 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Once ready, drain your potatoes and set them aside to cool down.
  3. Mix the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, red onion, paprika, curry powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. 
  4. Add the potatoes and boiled eggs to the bowl. Toss well until everything is coated.
  5. Cover your bowl and place it in the refrigerator. Allow it to cool down for about 2 hours. 
  6. Serve cold with your favorite brat.

#2. Sauerkraut with Apples

Serving sauerkraut is almost always a given when it comes to brats. This recipe is unique because it adds sweetness and citrus from green apples.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your sauerkraut with apples:

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  2. In the meantime, wash, peel, and core your apples. Cut them into squares.
  3. Add the apples to the butter and cook them for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the onions and cook them for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, caraway seeds, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. 
  6. Cook everything in a low simmer for about 30 minutes.
  7. Serve your sauerkraut with apples with your brats on the side.

#3. Broccoli Mac and Cheese 

Who does not like the sound of mac and cheese? This gooey, tasty side dish is the creamy recipe you were looking for to break through the heavy meat brat flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 broccoli head
  • 1 box of macaroni pasta 
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning  
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your broccoli mac and cheese:

  1. Clean and break your broccoli head into smaller pieces.
  2. Cook the pasta according to box instructions. After a few minutes, add the broccoli pieces to the water.
  3. While the pasta and broccoli cook, preheat the oven to 350 to 375 °F.
  4. Once the pasta is ready, drain it, and place it in another pot. Do the same with broccoli. 
  5. Add the butter and garlic to a saucepan. After a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms. Cook them for another 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the milk and cream, whisking everything. Add the flour and continue whisking. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens.
  7. Pour the mixture over the pasta. Mix well and stir in the cheese. Cook over medium heat until the cheese begins to melt.
  8. Place your cheese, pasta, and vegetables in a baking dish. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Mix well.
  9. Bake your broccoli mac and cheese for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the top turns golden.
  10. Serve warm with your brats.

#4. Smoky Sweet Potato Fries

Fries are always a great side dish when it comes to brats and other grilled meats. In this case, mixing the flavors of smoky and sweet with this recipe makes things more interesting.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your smoky sweet potato fries:

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 375 °F.
  2. Clean your sweet potatoes, and cut the potatoes into strips of your desired thickness. 
  3. Mix the olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Arrange your sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet. Spread your oil mix onto the potatoes and toss them until they are fully coated.
  5. Bake your potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes or until brown and crispy.
  6. Serve your smoky sweet potatoes hot with some extra mayonnaise on the side.

#5. Balsamic Caramelized Onions

These balsamic caramelized onions are a delicious addition to your bratwurst dish. You can pair them with sauerkraut or potato salad too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions, sliced 
  • 1 ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your balsamic caramelized onions:

  1. Add the olive oil to a skillet, and once warm, add the garlic.
  2. Add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover and cook for two more minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of water and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Continue cooking until the liquid evaporates and the onions turn brown.

Tip: you can swap the water with vegetable or chicken broth to add more flavor.

  1. Serve your balsamic caramelized onions warm or cold with your brats.

#6. Orzo Salad With Corn    

Orzo is a type of pasta that looks exactly like rice, making it much more delicate. You can prepare this orzo salad with corn for a fresh side dish to go with your favorite brats.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of orzo pasta 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup sweet corn, drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your orzo salad with corn:

  1. Cook your pasta according to box instructions. Drain it and set your pasta aside to cool down in a large bowl.
  2. Add olive oil to a skillet. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic and onion. Cook for a few minutes or until the onion is soft. Transfer your onion to a bowl.
  3. Add the sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, paprika, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Toss well.
  4. Serve your salad fresh or place it in the refrigerator to make it colder for later.

#7. Polenta With Cheese and Spinach

This polenta with cheese and spinach is a delicious recipe that adds complexity and creaminess to your brats. You can swap out the cheese and spinach with some of your other favorite ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup polenta
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your polenta with cheese and spinach:

  1. Add the chicken broth, one cup of water, cream, and milk to a saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  2. Stir in the polenta and lower the heat. After 20 minutes, stir in the spinach, Parmesan cheese, cumin, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Continue stirring for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the polenta is soft and the cheese has melted.
  4. Serve the polenta with cheese and spinach with your brats on the side.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Sides for Brats?

Cooking brats is not uncommon during the summer grilling season. It also happens that many families love to cook bratwurst on the weekend or a lazy weeknight. You can always serve them alone with mustard, but why not try the perfect side dish?

For a pork brat, you want something that breaks through the sweet and dense flavors. Try the mustard potato salad, which is a classic recipe that never fails to amaze. You can also choose the broccoli mac and cheese, which is a cheesy delicious dish.

If you prefer a veal brat, you might want a side dish that adds more flavor to your sausage meal. The sauerkraut with apples is different yet a classic choice altogether. You can also try the balsamic caramelized onions, which happen to go well with sauerkraut too.

For all other choices, try going with something fresh or creamy that happens to be filling as well. You can pick the orzo salad with corn for a quick and refreshing side dish or the polenta with cheese and spinach for creamy delicateness. The smoky-sweet potato fries go well with any type of bratwurst and at any time. 

Conclusion

Brats are such a staple in various parts of the world, especially Germany and the United States. You can make them unique by choosing the best side dish out there. Try choosing one or more of these recipes and elevate your favorite bratwurst.

*image by repinanatoly/depositphotos

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