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Prosciutto is a sweet, salty ham usually sliced and eaten raw. There are two types of prosciuttos, Crudo and Cotto; the former is salted and raw but safe to eat while the latter is served cooked. Prosciutto is a very savory product, so it can be used for different cuisines and dishes.
But what if you crave prosciutto but can’t find it? Thankfully, there are some excellent substitutes for prosciutto that you can use to enjoy the deep flavor and intense taste.
Some of the best prosciutto substitutes are Jamón Serrano, Ham, Culatello, Pancetta, Bacon, Beef Bresaola, Salami, Cheese, etc.
Some of these options are also great for those who don’t eat pork but still want a good substitute for prosciutto that delivers the same texture.
What Is Prosciutto?
Prosciutto (pro-SHOO-toh) is an Italian salty, sweet, and dry-cured ham that is often thinly sliced and eaten raw. In Italian, this style is known as prosciutto Crudo and is significantly distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto Cotto.
It’s worth noting that prosciutto is somewhat high in fat content. On average, an ounce of prosciutto contains about 3.5g of fat, with 1g of saturated fat. Sadly, saturated fat harms the human heart and increases the level of “bad” cholesterol.
This is primarily one of the reasons why people are always on the lookout for the best prosciutto substitutes.
Let’s quickly look at the most popular prosciutto alternatives:
Substitutes For Prosciutto
1. Jamón Serrano
Jamón serrano, also known as Serrano ham, or Spanish ham, is a rich, dark cured meat that has a deep and nutty flavor and aroma and is an excellent substitute for prosciutto in various dishes.
Jamón serrano, however, does not have a salty taste like prosciutto as it doesn’t use a lot of salt during the curing process, which lasts for over a year.
Its lengthy curing process and added spices give this cured meat a distinctive flavor that is less salty than prosciutto but intense enough to give your dish the needed flavor.
Jamón serrano can be added to any recipe that calls for prosciutto if you want the dish to be less salty without losing any flavor. It can also be served alone or combined with fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, fish, and bread.
This is also an Italian cured meat prepared similarly to prosciutto, making it a great substitute. However, culatello is cut directly from the thigh muscle, which makes it a lean cut, unlike prosciutto, which contains a small amount of fat,
Notwithstanding, culatello is rich in flavor, so you only need a tiny amount of culatello to enjoy a delicious dish. Because it’s cured with salt, pepper, garlic, and dry white wine, it has a distinctive winey taste.
Culatello can be eaten as an appetizer, alongside fruits like cantaloupe and watermelon. It can also be combined with cream and hard cheese on a charcuterie board, added to pasta, and sprinkled on top of your pizza or any other dish, and you get to enjoy a rich, savory flavor.
Ham is the closest to prosciutto in terms of flavor. In fact, ham just means prosciutto in Italy, but in the rest of the world, ham can indicate different products.
Ham has a tangy, distinctive taste that can be intensified when combined with other ingredients like honey-glazed veggies and cheese.
There are different types of ham like smoky ham, black forest ham seasoned with blueberries and garlic, and honey ham, which has a sweet flavor, all of which can be substituted for prosciutto.
Ham is a bit more flavorful compared to prosciutto, so you adding it to a salad or a sandwich where you need extra saltiness.
Bacon is another substitute for prosciutto, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork meat with a savory and slightly smoky taste.
There are different types of bacon depending on the meat cut, but thinly sliced smoked bacon is best used as a substitute for prosciutto in several dishes.
Bacon tastes like a fattier version of prosciutto when served raw, and it can be served on its own, added to a savory recipe, wrapped around a piece of fruit, or used to prepare a dessert.
Bacon is very versatile and has a very similar texture to prosciutto.
Pancetta is also known as Italian bacon and is a salt-cured pork belly meat. Pancetta tastes a lot like bacon but without the smoky flavor.
It has a similar savory taste to prosciutto, making it an excellent substitute for recipes where you want to add a touch of tangy and bold flavor. Pancetta can be thinly sliced and added to a salad, pizza, or stuffing to improve their taste.
Pancetta cannot be eaten raw as it is only cured; unlike prosciutto, which is salt-cured and air-dried, it must be cooked before it is eaten.
So, if you want to add pancetta in a salad or a cold sandwich, it needs to be cooked first and allowed to cool down before introducing it to the other ingredients.
Salami is traditionally made of pork meat, but you can also find other types of salami made of beef or poultry, which can be used as a non-pork substitute for prosciutto.
Salami is an Italian air-dried cured meat like prosciutto but has a bold and tasty flavor as it’s made of fermented sausages.
The flavor of the fermented sausages, as well as the spices used in the curing process, make salami a great addition to any recipe.
There is a variety of salami; it can be sweet, savory, or spicy. So, when using salami as a prosciutto substitute, ensure that you’re using the suitable alternative, which will enhance the flavors in your dish.
7. Beef Bresaola
Beef bresaola is a tasty non-pork substitute for prosciutto, which can be used in any recipe that calls for prosciutto, and you don’t like pork or can’t eat it for any reason. Beef bresaola is a type of Italian air-dried meat that is allowed to age for about two months.
Once aged, the meat becomes dark red and has a sweet, musty, and slightly nutty flavor. Bresaola is a cleaner cut compared to prosciutto and has a milder flavor.
Bresaola is usually served chilled and drizzled with olive oil, alongside cheese, crackers, and arugula, or other greens. You can also add it to a sauce or use it as a pizza topping.
8. Duck Prosciutto
Duck prosciutto is duck meat that has been salt-cured, just like pork prosciutto. Duck prosciutto is a fully flavored meat and can feel a little bit porky, even though no pork is used in its preparation.
When thinly sliced like prosciutto, cured duck breast can be used in a sandwich or served with crackers. It has an intense flavor that pairs very well with other sweet ingredients like cherry preserves, pickled raisins, and fig chutney.
You only need to add a small amount of duck prosciutto to any dish to enhance its flavor. Duck prosciutto can be chopped into small pieces and sprinkled on top of a salad or incorporated into a casserole to add extra flavor and richness.
Cheese is also a delicious prosciutto alternative that can be served with bread and crackers. To replace prosciutto, you need a hard-aged cheese like Romano, swiss, or asiago in order to achieve an intense flavor that is great with other ingredients in your recipe.
Cheese is best substituted for prosciutto in an appetizer. Add a slice of your favorite cheese on a cracker and enjoy; you can also serve it with a piece of melon.
Cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be added to salads and pasta dishes for maximum flavor.
10. Toasted Nuts
For a vegan or vegetarian substitute of prosciutto, you can use toasted almonds or walnuts. When these nuts are salted and toasted, they provide a unique flavor to dishes like risotto, pasta, and salads.
For even more flavor, you can add paprika to your nuts. You can also sprinkle toasted nuts on top of your pizza or served with cheese on a cheese platter.
Mushrooms have a rich umami flavor that enables them to be used as a vegan or vegetarian substitute for prosciutto.
To substitute mushrooms, cook them until caramelized, and add to any baked dish where prosciutto is called for, it will add a unique flavor and richness.
Portobello and shiitake mushrooms are primarily used in baked recipes due to their meaty and rich texture.
You can add mushrooms to your pasta, pizza, or salad instead of prosciutto; it will bring together the flavors of the dish as long as the right seasoning is added.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can prosciutto be eaten raw?
Yes, you can eat prosciutto raw if it is dry-cured, but that is for Crudo prosciutto. You cannot eat the other type of prosciutto (Cotto) raw as it’s a smoked and cooked ham.
Does prosciutto smell bad?
No, prosciutto does not necessarily smell bad; instead, it should have a porky, salty, and a little sweet odor.
What meat is similar to prosciutto?
Guanciale, Pancetta, Mortadella, Speck, and Salami are some of the meats that are similar to prosciutto.
What ham is similar to prosciutto?
Culatello is a type of ham that is similar to prosciutto but is made from the filet or loin of the hind leg; it originated in Parma, Italy.
Can Canadian bacon be substituted for prosciutto?
No! Canadian bacon is a substitute for pancetta but cannot be substituted with prosciutto.
What can I use instead of prosciutto in beef Wellington?
You can use “Turkey Ham” to replace prosciutto in beef Wellington.
What is a non-pork substitute for prosciutto?
The questions should; Is there a non-pork substitute for prosciutto? Yes, there is. The best non-pork replacements for prosciutto are chicken and turkey bacon. You can make your own seasoning and then mix the meat into it; this will help you achieve prosciutto’s taste.
Can I substitute pancetta for prosciutto?
Yes, you can substitute equal parts of pancetta for prosciutto. Salt pork or unsmoked lean bacon can also be suitable substitutes for pancetta.
Is Serrano ham like prosciutto?
Yes, Serrano ham is very similar to Italian prosciutto. The only difference is that serrano ham is usually made from a specific pig breed, which is the landrace breed of white pig.
What is the difference between culatello and Prosciutto?
Both culatello and prosciutto are crafted using adult swine, born and raised in north-central Italy. However, culatello is made with only the thigh muscles, while Prosciutto uses small portions of rind and fat, with the bone giving it its typical shape.
Conclusion | Prosciutto Substitutes
If you’re in search of the best substitutes for prosciutto, there are various alternatives to choose from that deliver the same flavor or a slightly different flavor with a similar texture as prosciutto.
The closest substitute to prosciutto is jamón serrano and can be used to replace it in almost every recipe.
Keep in mind that some of these alternatives may lack the saltiness of prosciutto, so you may need to add a little bit of extra seasoning to the dish, but notwithstanding, you can still achieve the same savory flavor as you would using prosciutto.