Substitute For Prosciutto: These Are Our Top Picks

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In the following we discuss what prosciutto is, its uses and the different types of substitutes to keep your dish tasting delicious whether you’re a meat-lover or vegetarian. 

What Is Prosciutto? 

Prosciutto is another name for Italian cured meat. There are two types of prosciutto, which are either thinly sliced or fat-cured. The thinly sliced prosciutto is typically used as an appetizer while the other type is traditionally used to flavor vegetables and pasta dishes. 

The 4 Best Prosciutto Substitutes For Your Recipes 

Luckily, there are many kinds of substitutes for prosciutto providing a similar flavor. Here are the 4 best substitutes for your recipes: 

1. Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian meat that’s similar to bacon but it’s not smoked like bacon is. You can also use Canadian bacon here as it’s made of mostly pork and has a similar flavor. 

Calories: Pancetta has about the same number of calories as prosciutto, but it contains a lot more fat. A slice of pancetta is around 25% fat and has 100-125 calories. 

2. Bacon

If you look at the similarities between pancetta and bacon, it’s no surprise that many people use bacon as an alternative for prosciutto. In fact, many people prefer bacon because of its smoky flavor. However, you can reduce that smokey flavor by cooking the bacon over low heat for about 30 minutes. 

bacon garlic and eggs

Calories: A slice of bacon has 70-80 calories and 5g of fat.

3. Ham

Another option is to use ham, which also provides a salty flavor that’s similar to that of prosciutto. The only difference between these two types of meat is that ham doesn’t have as fine of grain when you compare it with prosciutto. 

Calories: A typical ham slice (pre-sliced) has about 90 calories and 6g of fat. 

4. Turkey

Finally, turkey is a good option as it has the same white meat as prosciutto and can provide a similar texture and flavor to your dishes. 

Roasted Turkey

Calories: Turkey slices have around 20-25 calories each and only 1g of fat per slice. 

Cured Meats Similar To Prosciutto 


This type of prosciutto is made from the muscle that runs along the top rear leg of the pig. It is seasoned, stuffed into a natural casing, and dried for about four months. Culatello typically has a similar texture to prosciutto but with more fat marbling within the meat. It is used in stuffing for pasta, but it can also be served sliced as an appetizer. 


This type of cured meat is made from beef or pork. It is seasoned with salt and spices such as garlic, pepper, and fennel seed, which are added to enhance the flavors. In addition to serving as appetizers, salami can also be used as toppings on various dishes and sandwiches. 

salami cheese and wine on white plate

Genoa Salami… 

This type of salami is made from beef and pork cuts that are ground into a fine mince. It is then seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and red or white wine, which adds more flavor to the meat. Genoa salami is typically used as an appetizer or sandwich meat. 

3 Non-meat Substitutes For Prosciutto

1. Nuts are a good substitute for prosciutto because they have a similar texture and taste. They can be used in place of prosciutto to make a healthy and protein-rich sandwich or salad topping. Dry-roasted unsalted soy nuts are a good example. 

2. Mushrooms are great substitutes for meat, especially for prosciutto. They’re high in protein and low in fat and salt and they absorb flavors very well. In addition, they are inexpensive and easy to buy. They are ideal to replace prosciutto in sandwiches or salads. 

3. Soybeans are also a good substitute for ham but are not as popular because of their taste. The soybean, however, has the same amount of protein and minerals in it as real meat but with fewer calories per gram which makes it a better choice in terms of making a nutritious meal. 

What Is A Non-Pork Substitute For Prosciutto? 

Tofu is a perfect substitute for the saltiness and the texture of prosciutto. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dishes, including sandwiches, salads, soups, casseroles, dressings, and more. 

tofu in blue striped bowl

It is also low-calorie so it is good if you’re trying to lose weight. Tofu can be prepared in a variety of ways to give it a meat-like texture including baking, frying, and grilling, which are all very simple to prepare. 

If you have never tasted Tofu before, it can sometimes taste bland on its own so it is recommended to add some sauce or spice to enhance its flavor. Using a sauce like teriyaki is a good example as the sweetness helps mask the tofu’s flavor. 

A healthy alternative… 

Tofu provides all of the same nutrients as meat such as protein and minerals like iron and zinc. It’s also high in calcium which makes it essential for strong bones and teeth as well as healthy nails, hair, and skin. 

Calories: Tofu has 40 calories per 100g serving.

A Vegetarian Substitute For Prosciutto To Use In Carbonara 

Carbonara is typically made with cheese, eggs, pepper, and cooked ham. The flavor of the prosciutto is usually salty and easily identifiable in the sauce which can be difficult to mimic with a vegetarian product. 

creamy carbonara with cheese and minced meat

However, there are many herbs that could be used to create a carbonara-like flavor including basil, oregano, marjoram, or parsley. 

Chickpeas are another ingredient that could be used as an alternative as they are nutty in flavor and high in protein. Similarly, white beans could also be used if you prefer a more savory taste. 

To make the sauce vegetarian-friendly, instead of using eggs and dairy products like cheese, it can be made with soy milk, nutritional yeast, or even tofu to create a creamy texture similar to carbonara. 

You could try replacing the prosciutto with mushrooms or broccoli rabe because they have a similar texture and flavor to the prosciutto, especially if you fry them. Broccoli rabe has the same salty-sweet flavor, while mushrooms have a similar texture and are high in protein. 

A healthy substitute… 

Mushrooms offer a healthy substitute to using prosciutto as they are rich in Vitamin D and provide immunity-boosting properties and prebiotics which helps the good bacteria in your gut thrive. 

Calories: Broccoli Rabe has 17 calories per 100g serving. 

Calories: Mushrooms have 5 calories per 1 large (23g). 

mushrooms and vegetables served on a white plate

Kosher Substitutions for Prosciutto 

1. For prosciutto-like flavor and texture, you can use seitan. Seitan is a high-protein food made from wheat gluten and it has the look and feel of meat. What makes seitan such a good substitute for prosciutto is its “meaty” texture

and taste. Seitan is also very versatile as it can be prepared in a variety of ways to give it different flavors (such as marinating). 

2. Tempeh, like seitan, has the look and feel of meat which makes it an ideal substitute for prosciutto. However, unlike seitan which comes pre-seasoned, tempeh has a bland taste so it is recommended to marinate the tempeh before cooking. 

3. Firm tofu also makes an excellent substitute for prosciutto because of its texture, which is very similar to that of the ham. Though it may not be as flavorful as seitan or tempeh, by marinating the tofu it’s possible to create a similar flavor. 

In Conclusion… 

There are many alternatives to prosciutto, depending on what you prefer and which ingredients you have available. Tofu is one of the easiest products to use as a substitute because it can be prepared in such a wide variety of ways and has a similar texture and taste to the meat. 

Because seitan and tempeh can be quite bland, marinating them prior to cooking would be a good option. 

For those who don’t like the idea of using meat alternatives, you could try using simple vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli rabe, or even eggplant because they have a similar texture and flavor to prosciutto especially when fried or grilling. 

Calories: Seitan has 75 calories per 100g serving. 

Calories: Tempeh has 22 calories per 1/4 cup (45g). 

Calories: Firm Tofu has 40 calories per 1/2 cup (100g) serving.

Happy cooking!

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