Save yourself calories (and cooking time) with this healthier alternative.
Credit: Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Bacon is a flavorful indulgence that we all enjoy from time to time. But when looking at the nutrition label, bacon can quickly add up when it comes to calories and saturated fat numbers. There is hope though: there's a close cousin to bacon that is a lighter alternative, while tasting just as satisfying. 

Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that often gets a bad rep for high-salt content. While this concern isn't unfounded, two slices of prosciutto contains around 690 milligrams of sodium, it's in many ways still a healthier option than bacon. It’s recommended that individuals maintain a strict 2,000 milligrams of sodium a day, which is why sticking with only a single serving (two slices) of prosciutto is important. When compared to bacon though, which is notorious for being unhealthy, prosciutto has a few notable nutritional improvements that make it a healthier swap. 

Bacon (3 slices)

  • 150 calories
  • 10g protein
  • 12g fat
  • 4g saturated fat

Prosciutto (two slices)

  • 70 calories
  • 8g protein
  • 5g fat
  • 2g saturated fat

Compared side-by-side, prosciutto is a definite healthier option. Lower in calories and fat than bacon, in moderation it makes for a flavorful ingredient option. While they can both add some serious taste to a dish, it’s important to not overindulge in bacon or prosciutto, and be mindful that prosciutto’s sodium numbers might be too high for multiple servings at meals. 

For those who are looking for a salty, savory ingredient to add to a sandwich, salad, or appetizer, prosciutto is a great choice that also adds a subtle bite to dishes. Below are five instances where prosciutto could be a fresh way for you to update an easy recipe while also saving on calories. 

Credit: Photo: Greg Dupree

BLT Sandwiches

Meaty prosciutto could make a great substitute for bacon in your favorite rendition of a classic BLT. We love this particular spin on a breakfast version, where prosciutto could shine alongside avocado and a runny egg. 

Spinach and Bacon Salad

A classic combination in a leafy salad is spinach alongside warm bacon and a type of vinaigrette. But you can create a lighter version, that still brings out delicious savory tones, with a prosciutto and spinach salad.

Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

White Cheddar Risotto

One our favorite recipes from this year is our decadent White Cheddar and Bacon Risotto – but a fun way to make it a little lighter could be to substitute the bacon for tender prosciutto. 

Cobb Salad

Another classic use of bacon at lunchtime is in a wonderfully filling Cobb salad. We're feeling that a lightened Cobb salad with prosciutto could be your next favorite luncheon.

Credit: Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Pear and Bacon Whole-Grain French Toast

Bacon tends to rule the breakfast scene in many kitchens, but fresh prosciutto is a great (no cook!) alternative to the breakfast staple.