As awareness about the ketogenic diet rises, pepperoni has become increasingly popular as a keto-friendly snack.
Having quick and easy keto snacks nearby can be a godsend, especially when you don't have time to prepare a meal or have a craving. Keto pepperoni fits the bill perfectly!
One of the most popular uses of pepperoni — keto pepperoni chips — make for the perfect, satisfying and crunchy snack — kind of like the keto version of Pringles.
In this article, we'll talk about:
- What is pepperoni?
- History of pepperoni
- Is pepperoni keto-friendly?
- What does keto pepperoni taste like?
- Pepperoni nutrition facts
- The best uses for pepperoni on keto
What is Pepperoni?
Pepperoni has captured the hearts and taste buds of pizza lovers around the world, and it's considered one of the best pizza toppings by many. In fact, stats show that it's America's favorite pizza topping by far!
Pepperoni is a combination of finely ground pork and beef and is typically spiced with garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper, though there are variations. At its core, pepperoni comes down to being a fine-grained, smokey, air-dried pork salami.
Its reddish color is due to the curing process it undergoes — using nitrates or nitrites reacting with heme in the myoglobin of the meat — in order to protect it against botulism and other forms of microbiological decay.
History of Pepperoni
Italian-Americans created pepperoni in the 1900s, which actually translates to large peppers in Italian. When Italian immigrants began entering the United States in the early 20th century, they started combining Southern European flavor traditions with American ingredients.
It was in 1919 when the first mention of pepperoni occurred in New York City and was first used on American pizza sometime between the First and Second World Wars.
That's why its popularity exploded in the United States throughout the 20th century.
Is pepperoni keto-friendly?
Yes! Pepperoni is a dream addition to any ketogenic diet.
Pepperoni has negligible carbs, a moderate amount of protein, and a healthy mix of fats, vitamins, and minerals. As such, you can snack on it without any guilt or fear of being kicked out of ketosis.
However, it should be consumed as an occasional snack as daily intake may lead to an unhealthy spike in LDL cholesterol levels.
What Does It Taste Like?
In terms of flavor, a good slice of pepperoni should have salt, spices, and heat in good balance, with a little spike of acidity. Too much acidity and the pepperoni can taste sour, but with too little, there's nothing to cut through the fat.
Paprika is the predominant seasoning in American pepperoni, and it's also responsible for giving pepperoni its characteristic orange color.
Pepperoni Nutrition Facts
Pepperoni is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and protein, and is loaded with calories and fat. Per 1-ounce piece weighing 28 grams (about five thin slices), pepperoni delivers 141 calories of which 84 percent is fat.
Pepperoni also contains selenium, an important antioxidant that keeps your immune system strong by controlling harmful free radicals produced as byproducts of metabolism and from environmental factors, such as pollution.
Below is the average nutritional profile for pepperoni per 1 oz (28 g) serving:
- Calories: 129.9
- Total Fat: 12 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
- Carbs: 0 g
- Protein: 6 g
- Calcium: 19.9 mg
- Iron: 0.4 mg
- Vitamin K: 0.1 mcg
- Vitamin D: 0.2 IU
According to USDA, 28 grams of pepperoni contributes the following amounts of B vitamins:
- Vitamin B12: 15% Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamin: 6% DV
- Riboflavin: 6% DV
- Niacin: 9% DV
- Pantothenic Acid: 5% DV
- Vitamin B6: 6% DV
The Best Uses for Pepperoni
There are quite a few ways to turn pepperoni into a tasty snack!
Keto Pepperoni Chips
Keto Pepperoni Chips make for an excellent low-carb, high-protein snack. Start by placing as much pepperoni as you can onto a large baking sheet.
Pop the pepperoni in the pre-heated oven (400 F) for 10 minutes. When they're done, take them out and place them on a paper towel, so they're not quite so greasy.
These chips are crispy, tasty, and easy to make. You can even serve them to friends who're not following a ketogenic diet.
Keto Pepperoni Rolls
You can also bake tasty low-carb keto pepperoni rolls with fathead dough. The basic dough is made up of mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, eggs, baking powder, and almond flour.
Add some mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and pepperoni on top of one layer of fathead dough and microwave. Let it bake for 12-15 mins and you have a tasty, low-carb snack.
Keto Pepperoni Pizza Bites
Keto pepperoni pizza bites are another great idea for an ultra-low-carb snack! Twist pepperoni slices into cones and place in a preheated oven for 5 minutes, until crispy.
Fill with pizza sauce, melted mozzarella, and top with a sprinkle of basil (optional). Heat them in the oven for 2-5 mins again.
A Delicious Snack to Include in Your Keto Diet
Including pepperoni in your diet makes a lot of sense based on its macronutrient profile, its easiness to find in stores, and its convenience to prepare as a snack or add to a meal.
Because it's packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat, keto pepperoni is one of the healthiest meat sources to incorporate into your diet, especially if you're on a weight loss journey!