Vegetarian Substitute for Prosciutto: What Can You Eat Instead?

From charcuterie boards to pasta, you might find it challenging to stay away from prosciutto if you stopped eating meat.

The good news is that you can go right back to it as there are many equally tasty vegetarian prosciutto alternatives.

If you’re up for the challenge, you can cook up a great vegetarian substitute for prosciutto.

You’ll have a wide array of vegetables at your disposal and vegetarian staples like seitan and nuts. Alternatively, you can go the more convenient route and buy a pre-made product.

Check out all your options below.

vegetarian substitute for prosciutto

Why Choose a Vegetarian Substitute for Prosciutto?

If you’re wondering why you would go the extra mile when you could just have the real deal, the answer is simple.

Consuming prosciutto or meat, in general, is not an option for those concerned about their health, animal cruelty, or the environment.

Additionally, prosciutto is exceptionally high in sodium. As little as two slices make for over a third of your recommended daily sodium intake.

Moreover, too much sodium can elevate blood pressure leading to heart disease or a stroke.

As mentioned, animal cruelty might be a significant factor in deciding to stop eating meat.

The meat industry frequently commits humane-slaughter violations, making it impossible to enjoy prosciutto guilt-free.

Similarly, the meat industry is also responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions. Although beef has the biggest carbon footprint, pork is close on its heels.

Is There a Vegetarian Substitute for Prosciutto?

Due to its fine texture, prosciutto isn’t as easy to replicate as other meat styles like patties and sausages.

However, there are ways to create a believable vegetarian substitute for prosciutto in taste, texture, and looks.

When looking for a reasonable substitute for prosciutto, consider its use.

For example, if you’d like to make appetizers, the product’s final look is essential. In that case, go for ingredients that can be cut into thin and transparent pieces.

However, if you’d like to replace prosciutto’s taste in a meal, look for ingredients with a meaty flavor or those that can be infused with the desired flavor.

Let’s take a look at my recommended vegetarian substitutes for prosciutto.

Seitan

Many meat substitute conversation typically involves seitan.

It’s a widely used plant-based product made from vital wheat gluten that you can make yourself or buy pre-made.

Seitan is made by isolating gluten from the wheat dough. The remaining mass is surprisingly similar to meat, so you can use it to recreate a variety of meat styles.

When making seitan prosciutto, don’t forget to add vegan food coloring to get the appearance just right.

The taste will follow suit with the proper seasoning, and you’ll be left with a perfectly salty and chewy vegetarian prosciutto.

However, if you’re gluten intolerant, this option is out of the question. In that case, other vegetarian alternatives below may be more up your alley.

Rice Paper

Rice paper might seem like an odd choice, but it’s one of the rare prosciutto alternatives that can mimic its appearance perfectly.

Rice paper is translucent and thin, making for a perfect copycat slice of prosciutto. This may be necessary when using prosciutto in appetizers.

Cheese

In terms of appearance, cheese would probably not even cross your mind as a vegetarian alternative to prosciutto.

However, smoky and aged cheese types like Romano, Swiss, or Asiago can easily imitate the prosciutto’s taste.

You can also use them to replace prosciutto on a charcuterie board, as you can eat them raw.

Another excellent cheese option would be halloumi. This Greek cheese is high in protein, making it a useful meat substitute.

It’s perfect for vegetarian prosciutto, as it’s pretty salty, and it can fry up and get crispy.

Note that not all halloumi cheese is vegetarian. Some contain animal-derived rennet, so check the label before use.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an indispensable staple of vegetarian cooking. Their diverse textures have many uses and can replicate meat successfully.

When using them as a vegetarian alternative to prosciutto, go for the portobello or shiitake variety.

These mushrooms have a meaty texture and a rich taste.

Cut them into thin slices and brown them in a skillet to get close to the prosciutto’s appearance.

They’re also protein-packed, so you won’t lose out on this vital nutrient when using mushrooms as a meat substitute.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great source of protein in the vegetarian diet, making them an excellent meat alternative from a health standpoint.

Additionally, they take on the flavor of whatever ingredients you’re using.

So, with the right spices, you can imitate the taste of prosciutto in your recipes.

Nuts

Nuts can be another great vegetarian substitute for prosciutto. When toasted, they’ll add a lot of flavor to the dish.

For example, you can use them when making pasta, pizza, risotto, or to top a salad and add some crunch.

But, naturally, nuts don’t have a meaty taste.

So, if you’re aiming to replace prosciutto in those dishes, you should increase the spices in your recipe to make up for it.

Dried Tomatoes

If you’re looking to substitute prosciutto in a recipe, you might want to try dried tomatoes.

When fried, they have the flavor, texture, and crunchiness to do the job.

Beetroot

Feel free to reach for a beetroot when your recipe calls for prosciutto. It can look quite similar to a meat-based product when appropriately prepared.

Beetroot also has prosciutto’s chewy texture and salty flavor. You can serve it cold and use it for sandwiches and various appetizers.

Pre-Made Vegetarian Substitute for Prosciutto

There aren’t many store-bought vegetarian prosciutto alternatives choices.

So, when searching for a worthy alternative, consider other meat styles typically used to substitute prosciutto.

If you only consider prosciutto, check out Good&Green’s Sliced Plant-Based Veggie Prosciutto.

However, if that’s not a viable option, look for the meat products commonly used to substitute prosciutto like pancetta, bacon, or salami.

Their vegetarian alternatives are much more present in your local supermarkets than prosciutto.

In Summary

Following a vegetarian diet can be pretty challenging. However, it can also be rewarding, as you’re doing your part to help the environment while preserving your health.

As it turns out, you don’t have to eat meat to assemble one mean charcuterie board or enjoy your favorite prosciutto dish.

If you’re fond of this Italian specialty, you’ll find a vegetarian substitute for prosciutto in this guide.