Salami always feels like a treat to me. It's like dumplings, gyoza, or sushi — there's just never enough! At every dinner party I've ever been to, it seems like salami is one of the first appetizers to go. Pair it alongside some sharp white cheddar and fresh sourdough bread, and you have one of the best starters around.
If you find yourself somewhere with this delicious cured meat and are wondering if it fits into your keto diet, then we've got your covered.
In this article, we'll dive into:
- What is salami?
- Is salami keto?
- Salami nutrition facts
- The best uses for salami
- Popular salami recipes
What is salami?
Salami is a cured sausage that is both dried and fermented, and it's sort of a catch-all term for this style of meat preparation. Salami doesn't have to be pork, but that is the most common meat used. It's usually made by blending fatty and lean pieces of pork together, adding a combination of spices like salt, pepper, and garlic, some wine or vinegar, adding an active culture to begin the fermentation, stuffing it in a casing and then storing it in a room to air dry.
Once the meat is hung up, salami-makers usually oscillate between warm and cold temperatures to accelerate the fermentation process until the desired pH level is reached. The fermentation byproduct is lactic acid, so once the meat is acidic enough, it prevents bacteria from growing. Many makers also apply an edible mold called penicillium to the casing to ensure a balanced drying process and impart flavor[*].
Salami was originally popularized by peasants in Europe due to its long shelf life even after being cut. Once salami is properly cured, it can last essentially indefinitely in a fridge or cool environment!
Is salami keto?
Yes. Assuming you stick to more traditional salami and avoid flavors with lots of sugar included in the process, then you should be just fine eating salami. Generally speaking, dried, natural salami is fair game, but the thin slices you grab in the deli aisle are a different style of processed meat and are much more susceptible to higher carb counts.
How many carbs are in salami?
That varies by processing method, but typical, no-sugar-added salami has 0.1 g per slice or 1g of carbs per 100g[*]. That's a super low amount, so most salami will be just fine to eat on keto.
How many carbs are in Genoa salami?
Genoa salami is a style of salami from Genoa, and it usually includes a combination of white or red wine, garlic, salt, and pepper. It also has a higher fat content than other types of salami, which makes it a bit softer and greasier. Genoa salami only has 1g of carbohydrates per 100g, so while it is higher in carb count than many other types of salami, it's still really low[*].
Salami nutrition facts
Like most meats, eating salami in moderation is just fine. Here's what you need to know:
It's a good source of healthy bacteria
Since salami is fermented meat, your gut will receive some healthy bacteria that can help your digestive health. While scientists are still understanding how probiotics affect health, probiotics are known to release protective substances that may prevent pathogens from taking hold and prevent them from creating harmful diseases[*]. While you won't get as many probiotics as food like kimchi or sauerkraut, the same health ideas apply here.
It's a good source of protein
Considering salami is dried meat, it's no surprise that it has a high concentration of protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient, and it helps build and repair our essential tissues. Eating more protein also helps you feel more satiated, so you won't feel hungry as often.
It's rich in Vitamin B
Salami has a good amount of Thiamin (B1) and Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 helps keep cells healthy and makes DNA and Thiamin helps prevent complications in the nervous system and helps the body convert carbs into energy[*][*][*].
It's high in fats
Salami has a high-fat content (especially Genoa salami), and it has a lot of saturated fats. Fats aren't all bad. Along with protein and carbs, fats are also an essential macronutrient and help you do everything from absorbing nutrients to giving your body energy.
As long as you eat salami in moderation, these fats are necessary and can be a part of your balanced diet profile.
It contains a lot of sodium
Eating too much and too little sodium can lead to health complications, so salami's high concentration of sodium isn't inherently bad, but it does mean you need to be careful about how much you consume.
Salami is processed meat. Aren't all processed meats bad?
Not necessarily, and traditional salami is arguably one of the best kinds of processed meats out there. All processed meat means is that the product is created via a process instead of just being cut off and cleaned. So while processed meats are the most susceptible to additives and generally unhealthy manufacturing processes, it does not mean processed meats are inherently bad for you.
How to use salami in your keto eating routine
There are lots of ways to use this deliciously rich meat in your diet, and that goes for every meal of the day. Check it out!
- Make an amazing charcuterie board. A cheese board is where salami feels most at home. Create a spread with fresh veggies, cheeses, and meats for a fantastic keto-friendly party appetizer.
- Add thin strips to pasta (or pasta substitute) dishes. Any type of pasta recipe that calls for bacon or ham can benefit from salami. Try making this homemade keto zucchini alfredo recipe and toss some small pieces of salami in with the sauce! You won't regret it!
- Throw it in an egg dish. Salami is great in omelets, alongside fried eggs, or baked into a frittata. Whenever you'd like to put a different spin on breakfast, you can sub salami out for bacon!
If pork salami is so great, why doesn't Chomps sell pork products?
While we personally love the taste of pork, we hold our beef suppliers to stringent standards for all things Chomps, and we haven't been able to say with certainty that the pork providers we have access to uphold themselves to those standards.
We recommend checking all of the pork you get to make sure it's antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and humanely raised. This often comes at a premium cost but the benefits are worth it; your pork will taste better and be much healthier for both your body and the environment.
Pro tip: Look for the "Certified Humane Raised and Handled" label on pork products for the highest quality, cleanest sources.
The final word for salami on keto
You can absolutely eat salami on keto. Carb levels are extremely low across most types of salami, so just stay away from the preservative-filled, sugar-loaded versions and go for salami made with natural processing and meats. And as always, check your labels and eat in moderation!
Good luck on your keto journey!