Salami is a crafted product that sometimes gets put under a shroud of mystery, so I wanted to talk about what level of protein is in salami.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have learnt how to make salami at home and have toured the world exploring the contrasts of flavors and types – dry cured salami has been a passion for decades.
New discoveries on the importance of healthy fats, the effects of gluten, and the difference between good and bad sugars have made people reevaluate their diets and overall health.
Protein has always had a presence within the classic dietary pyramid, but many are left wondering where exactly this food group stands when introduced with deli products such as salami.
Is salami considered protein? Salami is considered a part of the protein family. Salami’s main ingredient is meat, usually pork, and therefore it ranks high in protein. It can provide around 23 grams of protein per 100 grams of salami.
Salami offers a fantastically flavorful source of the protein you so desperately desire when all other products are just a bit too overworked in your kitchen.
Below we will discuss the health benefits, various types of salami, the importance of protein, and alternatives to salami if you are needing a change in pace.
Many commercial salamis have a mix of pork and beef, depending on the variety. But there are endless types out there once you start exploring the salami world.
Now if you want to checkout the macronutrient profile, I found this site gives a good breakdown.
Different Types of Salami (Artisanal vs. Commercial)
The beauty of this protein source is that many individuals have ventured out on their own accord in order to create their own spin on this European classic.
Pairing different meats with rustic spices, mingling together richness with savory and daring to ignite taste buds with fiery flavors that could torch a room.
For any lover of salami or any seeker of protein, there is certainly a variety that exists that will satisfy your cravings.
There are several different types of salami that can add to your culinary repertoire. Various cultural infusions affect the spices and flavors that are combined.
A few popular salami variations include Spanish chorizo, finocchiona, genoa, kulen, and American pepperoni (a byproduct of picante from Italy).
The chorizo hails from Spain and is simplistic in its make up, made from pork, pork fat, and dashed with salt and paprika.
For a different spin, seek out finocchiona, a salami with pork, of course, fat, but combined with red wine and fennel (complete Italian classic)
Genoa salami echoes these same flavors, in that it contains wine, but adds a bit of pepper to spice things up (American spin on a classic).
Kulen can light up your world with its hot paprika seasoning and add a bit of flame to your ordinary dinner party. Last but not least, you cannot forget the ever beloved pepperoni, a mix of beef and pork that can be found on pizzas from coast to coast.
Whereas these artisanal salamis add in a variety of flavors through cultural spice preferences, commercial salamis are packed in bulk. Though they still offer a wide array of flavor options, their bulk processing often eliminates the cultural infusion that makes the above-mentioned salami so delightful.
Commercial salamis are prepared through the addition of spices and curation, then sealed and sold in links. Commercial salami also has additives and preservatives that not only change the content of the meat, but they affect the flavor, too.
Acidity is key to producing commerical salami fast! I use different types of ‘starter cultures’, which have desirable effect to help preserve the salami.
When is comes to commerical salami they lower pH, therefore increasing the acidic environment so unwanted bacteria cannot thrive. This fast acid increase normally also gives the salami that distinct tangy or sourness flavor (different cultures mean different ‘tangs’).
Artisanal salami is dry-cured and infused with more spices and few preservatives as most artisanal producers are not in a rush to produce this as quickly – ‘slow fermentation’ takes months generally to produce distinct flavors.
Why is Protein Important?
There is a wide debate on the relative needs of carbs, sugar, and fat in everyday diets. So much conversation surrounds this topic and the pursuit of finding programs that incorporate just the right balance to ensure healthy living and work as a long term goal.
However, there are very few that would disagree that protein is an essential part of a healthy dynamic.
Common Salami Alternatives
There is no denying that salami is a fantastic addition to any wrap, sandwich, cheese board, or even on its own. There is a depth to this delicious cured meat that is difficult to find elsewhere and it even achieves a few health benefits in the protein department.
However, as flavorful as it is, this delicious meat treat is high in fat and some people are not so inclined to indulge themselves or use moderation.
If you still need your Italian sub fix, a nice alternative to salami is pastrami.
Pastrami is not the top shelf of meats as far as healthy items go, however, it does have a decent amount of protein in it and does not even come close in the fat department compared to salami, as it has a much lower fat content.
Classic pastrami is wet brined in a pickling solution with herbs/spices, then hot smoked/cooked.
You can also get creative with chicken breasts in different ways of cooking such as smoking, grilling, and marinating in order to change the flavor to something that gets you as excited as salami used to. This isn’t dry-cured meat but does pack a protein punch.
Ham also offers many different flavor options without overdoing your fat consumption from options like honey ham, black forest ham, smoked options, and even some spicier black pepper delicacies.
Although not a cured meat option, along with the formerly suggested chicken breast, these meats are very versatile in the way they can be cooked as well as how you can change the flavor of each.
Salami is a beautiful thing, but to know other options helps to expand your horizons with proteins and how you can staple them into your own diet.
Using balance, moderation, and a bit of creativity, you can expand your culinary preferences while still incorporating hints of salami along the way.
Thanks for dropping by, I’ve been passionate about meat curing for around 20 years now. Having been lucky enough to learn inside fine dining kitchens through to backyard smoking sessions. From doing courses, trial & error and reading extensively – finally, I thought it was time to share my passion online.
My insatiable appetite and passion toward classic Italian dry-cured salumi and all forms of curing and smoking are what drives this website engine. All the best, Tom