Keto, otherwise known as “ketogenic” is a term describing a low-carb diet. Those following this popular diet may find themselves eating mostly cheeses, vegetables, and meats.
In an effort to gain more variety in your meals, you may be looking into different types of meat. Whether these are Slim Jim, SPAM, or even sausages, it’s important to note any added ingredients that may not be keto-friendly.
One type of meat that may spark your interest is the Hispanic sausages known as chorizo. Although, is this keto-friendly?
The short answer is: yes! Chorizo is keto-friendly. It generally consists of meat, notably beef or pork, with spices and herbs. The average amount of carbohydrates found in chorizo is between 0-3g per serving – making it a low-carb food.
With this in mind, this article will be exploring everything you need to know about chorizo, from the different types, and differences, and whether or not it is healthy for you.
Let’s dig in!
What Is Chorizo?
Popular in Spanish and Mexican cuisine, chorizo is a highly seasoned sausage made using pork.
Different countries have different variations of chorizo sausage. For instance, Colombian and Mexican style chorizos are often prepared fresh and require grilling or cooking, whereas Argentinian chorizos are more classic as they’re dried.
Chorizo is most commonly consumed dry on a cheese board, grilled and eaten in sandwiches, or crumbled on top of tacos.
You can easily find chorizo at your local grocery store.
Is Chorizo Spicy?
Different types of chorizo can oftentimes be spicier than others. For instance, whereas Mexican-style chorizo is generally spicy, Colombian-style chorizo is milder.
Although, you can usually determine the spiciness based on the label where it will either be displayed as “hot” or “spicy”.
Can You Eat Chorizo Raw?
As previously mentioned, there are different types of chorizo. Argentine-style chorizo and Chorizo Cantimpalo can both be eaten raw and uncooked – similar to salami!
Although, fresh varieties of chorizo require either cooking or grilling.
Different Types Of Chorizo Sausage
Since chorizo can be found all over the world, there are a lot of different varieties of the sausage. Below, you will find some of the most common types of chorizo in the United States.
Although, having said that, some may be more challenging to find than others, so you may want to hit up your local Hispanic markets when looking for them.
- Chorizo Cantimpalo – This type of chorizo is completely cured and dried, and is commonly found in Tapas menus. It contains a strong, smokey garlic flavor with a deep, red coloring. It is also known as Superiore chorizo.
- Mexican Chorizo – This fresh variation of chorizo requires cooking. Instead of coarsely chopped meat, it is made from finely ground pork. On top of all the classic chorizo ingredients, you will also find oregano, local chilis, Paprika, and vinegar. Typically, this chorizo is crumbled rather than cooked in its casein. You can find it in stores labeled simply as chorizo.
- Mexican Green Chorizo – Comparable to the Mexican chorizo, this Mexican green chorizo is fresh and made from finely ground beef, or pork, and requires cooking. Its name comes from the tomatillos, green chilis, and fresh herbs, which include cilantro – giving it its green color. Unfortunately, this type of chorizo is often difficult to find in the United States. While many companies may advertise their chorizo as ‘Mexican green chorizo’, most of the time, it simply contains green food coloring. Therefore, make sure to always check the label to ensure that your chorizo is authentic. Moreover, it is sometimes referred to as Chorizo Verde.
- Colombian Chorizo – This is a type of fresh chorizo that is often prepared grilled or fried. Unlike traditional Spanish versions, this one contains less paprika and not much spice. In this chorizo, you’ll find garlic, vinegar, green onions, and fresh cilantro.
- Argentine Chorizo – Taking inspiration from Italy, this Argentine chorizo contains herbs such as thyme, garlic, oregano, nutmeg, and wine. This can either be grilled or eaten in a sandwich called choripan.
Originally from Spain, you can now find chorizo all over the world in different varieties and styles. Traditionally, chorizo is cured and fermented which results in a dry sausage that you can eat cold.
In Spanish chorizo, the main ingredients include smoked paprika, garlic, and chopped pork.
Is Chorizo Healthy?
Since chorizo is composed of fatty cuts of pork, it is often high in fat and calories per 1-ounce serving size.
The fat content of a chorizo sausage is considerably made up of saturated fats. If consumed in high amounts, this can increase the risk of developing heart disease.
Likewise, its high calorie and fat content can also contribute to weight gain if you were to eat it frequently. This could increase the risks of developing chronic diseases such as high cholesterol and hypertension, as well as diabetes.
Additionally, many chorizos are heavily seasoned with the likes of salt. Therefore, chorizo sausages – whether dried or fresh – on average, contain 400-600mg of sodium per serving.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults should consume no more than 2300mg of sodium per day. Therefore, 1 portion of chorizo (1 ounce) can contribute anything between 17-26% of your daily sodium intake.
Therefore, if you suffer from high blood pressure or you’re watching your salt intake, then it’s best to limit or avoid chorizo in your diet.
Chorizo is a delicious Spanish sausage that can add a hint of spice to your keto-friendly meals. Since chorizo can be found all over the world, there are many different styles and flavors.
However, while it may taste amazing, you shouldn’t eat it too often due to its high sodium content. Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about chorizo’s role in a keto diet.