Chorizo. The brunch and burrito meat that everybody loves but no one seems to know exactly what it is or why it’s so dang tasty. If you’re looking for exciting food options to include in your keto diet, then chorizo is definitely a contender.
Chorizo is versatile, which makes it a great option to have around the house while on keto.
In this article, we’ll dive into:
- What is chorizo?
- Is chorizo keto?
- Chorizo nutrition facts
- The best uses for chorizo
- Why we don't sell pork products
- Popular chorizo recipes
What is chorizo?
Chorizo is a spiced pork sausage that can be sold raw or cured and is popular in Latin, Spanish, and Portuguese cooking.
Chorizo changes depending on where you are in the world, but there are two main types of chorizo: the Latin, which is the crumbly, raw kind you fry up in a skillet and see in breakfast tacos or stews; and the Spanish, which is the cured, dry kind you’ll see on charcuterie boards at a house party. I usually think of the Latin kind when talking about chorizo, as I feel it’s even more common in the States than the cured kind.
Chorizo is characteristically bright red and extremely flavorful, so what gives it that kick? Spice, and lots of it. Chorizo usually features some heavy combination of salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, oregano, cumin, and ground dried chili peppers. It’s also common in Latin chorizo to mix vinegar in along with the dried peppers. While chorizo is a heavily spiced food, it isn’t really considered a spicy food. All the heat you get from chorizo is directly from the chili powder or peppers, so while you may get a small bit of heat from those ingredients, it’s still not considered a classically “hot” food.
Making chorizo at home is easy, so if you want to spice up your keto diet than chorizo is a fun option. All you have to do is remove the casing and either fry it up if it’s raw (you can bake links in the oven as well) or just slice it up for a charcuterie board.
Is chorizo keto?
Simply put: chorizo is extremely low in carbs, which means it's keto-friendly. Chorizo only contains 0.5 g of net carbs per ounce or 1.1 g per 60 g link[*]. Traditional keto recommends between 20-50g of net carbs per day, so you could eat multiple chorizo sausages without breaking ketosis.
Unless you are right at the edge of your net carb limit for the day, there is nothing to worry about when eating chorizo — assuming the brand and type of chorizo you purchased doesn’t include a lot of extra sugars. As with any new food or brand you buy, always check the labels.
Chorizo nutrition facts
While chorizo is keto-friendly, that doesn’t mean you should just eat chorizo all day every day. Chorizo is high in calories, fat, and sodium. Too much sodium increases your blood pressure because it retains excess fluid in the body, and that puts extra stress on the heart. That stress can lead to higher risks of strokes, heart failures, stomach cancer, and other issues.
According to the USDA, here’s the nutritional breakdown for a 1 oz (28.4 g) serving of chorizo:
- Calories: 129
- Total Fat: 11 g
- Total Carbohydrate: 0.5 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Protein: 7 g
- Calcium: 2.27 mg
- Iron: 0.451 mg
- Magnesium: 5.1 mg
- Phosphorus: 42.5 mg
- Potassium: 113 mg
- Sodium: 350 mg
- Zinc: 0.967 mg
Standard chorizo ingredients include: pork sausage, garlic, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, ground chili peppers or powder, vinegar, and oregano.
In short, chorizo is delicious for all the right reasons, and you just need to add it in as part of a balanced diet. As long as you practice moderation, buy chorizo from natural sources, and eat it with greens and other healthy options, you’ll be just fine.
The best uses for chorizo
One of the reasons why chorizo is so great is because you can eat it in so many ways! From breakfast tacos to lunch burritos, to frittatas, to cajun food, there are so many delicious ways to eat chorizo — both crumbly and dried!
The most common ways chorizo is used are:
- As a taco filling. Take one pan, unroll the crumbled chorizo, start cooking it, and then take another pan and fry up some scrambled eggs. Place both into a warmed tortilla and top with cheese, avocado, and hot sauce for a wonderful breakfast taco. Just make sure you use keto-friendly taco shells!
- As an easy snack. All you have to do is keep a knife and cutting board nearby for an instant, protein-filled snack.
- As a savory topping. Chorizo is so good on top of pretty much any casserole and most soups. Any meal that could benefit from a savory kick can take advantage of chorizo.
- As the main protein source for dinner. Chorizo is delicious any way you have it, so don’t be afraid to cook some up and eat it alongside some carb-friendly greens.
Best keto chorizo recipes
Okay! Here are six amazing keto chorizo recipes to get your gears moving.
This recipe is simple to throw together and is great for chilly nights or meal prepping. You get plenty of protein from the chicken and chorizo, and the chicken is absolutely delectable after absorbing some of that spicy chorizo flavor. You could swap out your side to any other green (a spinach dish or brussel sprouts, for example), and using fresh rosemary and homemade stock is how you can take this recipe to the next level.
These are great for watching football games or an easy weeknight meal. It’s as simple as cutting up some bell peppers, throwing in some chorizo, and topping it with any cheese you’d like. You have a lot of freedom here, so you could mix onions or other veggies in with the chorizo or keep the chorizo as is. If you want it to be even richer, you could consider adding some sour cream or another dairy along with some tomato paste with the chorizo to create more a thick style sauce. It’s hard to go wrong with bell peppers, chorizo, and cheese!
I love frittatas because they are so simple and can cover your breakfast fix for days. At their core, frittatas are just baked eggs with whatever you want thrown in. I like to use a big cast iron, sautee onions and garlic, add in any meat or other veggies, and then pour scrambled eggs in on top. And here’s a secret tip: add in a dash of dijon mustard with the eggs before you bake them to really push your frittatas to the next level.
I did say I love frittatas! This is a slightly more artisan take on the same idea and features the chorizo a bit more. Either option is good, and remember to make it your own!
Cauliflower and chorizo go together like eggs and bacon, and any excuse to roast some cauliflower is worth it to me. This chorizo & spinach cauliflower bake from Beauty and the Bench Press will leave you satisfied and wanting to immediately go for round two!
I have a weakness for cajun food. The smart bases of butter and spice that come together in cajun cooking along with a healthy tradition of family meals and slow cooking is something I have grown to love. This keto jambalaya from I Eat Keto gets that fix without needing rice, and I am most grateful for that. Give it a shot!
If chorizo is so awesome, why doesn’t Chomps sell pork products?
We love the taste and culinary options pork brings, but as a company, we prioritize quality and meat sourcing above all else. And the reality is, pigs are often not raised in the conditions we desire. If pigs aren’t treated humanely and fed healthy diets, then those practices go directly against our mission.
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 on chorizo and keto
Chorizo is a meat source and is a perfectly good food to eat on the keto diet. Unless you are right on the edge of your carb limit, it will be difficult for chorizo to kick you out of ketosis.
That being said, chorizo is a high fat, high sodium meat, so you should eat it as part of a balanced diet and not rely on it as your exclusive source for protein.
Now you should know exactly where chorizo fits into your keto lifestyle. Good luck on reaching your goals, and enjoy your delicious pork sausage along the way!