9 Spam Alternatives

Most of us have seen Spam at the grocery store before. It is very versatile and easy to use, which has made it pretty popular. Its taste is like a salted ham, which is partly where its name comes from. But, Spam is extremely high in sodium and fat contents so it’s reasonable to look for another healthier product to use instead.

Spam is a popular and versatile meat. While it is known for this, it is also known to be extremely unhealthy. If you’re looking for a healthier Spam alternative, or just foods that are similar, you have many options.

Some of the best Spam alternatives are: tofu, Holiday Luncheon Meat, OmniPork Luncheon, potted meat, deviled ham, Beyond Breakfast Sausage, deli slices, jambon, and Klik.

What is Spam?

Spam is a type of canned meat that is used for protein in many foods, from sandwiches to soups. It was created by Hormel Foods during the Great Depression in order to make cuts of meat last longer and feed more people than they otherwise would have.

Now, it is one of the most familiar brands in the world. Though it was originally developed as a replacement for pork, there are many recipes that have since been created on how to use Spam as a replacement for other types of meat.

Its taste is somewhat salty, and can be enhanced or changed with spices, depending on how it’s planned to be used. Though Spam is a nostalgic product for many, new versions of the product with different flavors are always being produced today in Thailand and other places in Asia.

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What is Spam Actually Made Of?

Spam is made out of the shoulder of pork or ham. In addition to the cuts of meat, salt, water, hydrolyzed soy protein, sodium nitrate, sugar, and caramel color are all part of Spam’s ingredients list. 

When Spam is made, the meat is chopped into smaller pieces and is then canned using a giant pressurized cooker. Before Spam is canned, it is cooked, which makes it easier and more convenient to use at home.

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What is a Good Substitute for Spam?

1. Tofu

If you haven’t used tofu before, you’ve probably at least heard of it. Tofu is an immensely popular meat substitute and, like spam, it can be very versatile. It is made from the curds of soybeans, and is high in protein but low in calories.

Tofu also does not contain any cholesterol, making it a very healthy Spam alternative. It is inexpensive and sold in bricks, and multiple varieties are available. When using it in place of Spam, opt for soft or silken tofu.

When plain and uncooked, tofu doesn’t have much of a taste. It is slightly salty, but when cooked and seasoned properly its flavor can replicate that of various meats in a pleasant, surprisingly accurate way. 

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2. Holiday Luncheon Meat

Holiday Luncheon Meat is like a generic type of Spam. Instead of containing just pork, it could be a combination of multiple meats, typically chicken and pork. It comes in a can, the shape and size of which is very similar to the can that Spam comes in.

You may find that Holiday Luncheon Meat has a higher price tag than Spam does, and this is because higher quality meats are used to make it. In simpler terms, Holiday Luncheon Meat is like deli meat, whereas Spam is like regular ham.

3. Omnipork Luncheon

If you’re looking for a vegan replacement to Spam and don’t want to (or can’t) use tofu, Omnipork Luncheon is the Spam replacement for you. It was created by OmniFoods, whose goal was to make a canned meat that is entirely vegan.

Instead of using meat, OmniPork Luncheon is made out of various other proteins, such as wheat, soy protein isolate, and potato starch. It is a good source of fiber, folate, and iron, and at the same time it contains less saturated fats than ground beef does.

4. Potted Meat

Potted meat is a Spam replacement that mimics the properties of Spam. It is also a canned meat, but is often a combination of various types of meat, including turkey, beef, chicken, pork, and organ meats. It is affordable and has a long shelf life.

Like Spam, potted meat comes in a three ounce can. Its shelf life can last for as long as five years, and potted meat can be used for any of the same purposes that Spam would be used for. 

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5. Deviled Ham

Deviled ham is sort of like an upgraded, more deluxe Spam. It still comes in a can, and it is just ground ham packed tightly into a container. But, its name comes from the various spices that are added to it. 

Deviled ham is flavored with hot sauce, peppers, turmeric, or cayenne pepper to give it a special kick. If you aren’t a fan of the blandness of Spam, or if you particularly like spicy food, deviled ham is the Spam replacement for you. It can be found at most grocery stores.

6. Beyond Breakfast Sausage  

Beyond Meat breakfast sausages are a healthy, vegan alternative to Spam. Due to the fact that they are plant based, you don’t need to worry about any cholesterol, hormones, or antibiotics. These breakfast sausages also contain half of the amount of fat that are in regular sausage.

Instead of meat, pea protein, rice protein, and potato starch are the main proteins in Beyond Meat breakfast sausages. They also have more protein than most other meats, including Spam, and less sodium and calories.

7. Deli Slices

Deli slices are another easily accessible and relatively inexpensive alternative to Spam. Their nutritional value is a bit better, but pretty comparable to that of Spam. If your recipe can stand a slight texture change, deli slices can easily work as a Spam replacement in a pinch.

Another bonus of using deli slices instead of Spam is that you can choose what meats exactly you use in your recipe. With Spam, you’re getting some type of highly processed pork every time. With deli slices, you have at least some control over what you’re getting.

8. Jambon

Jambon is a meat product that is derived from the shoulder of pork. Before it became popular in America, it was used often in Switzerland and France. In America, jambon is mainly used as a topping for sandwiches or baked potatoes.

Often, jambon is smoked. It is far lower in fat content than Spam is, making it a viable, healthy replacement. It has a very similar taste to Spam, but it is not as heavy. The color of jambon can vary based on its added ingredients. The biggest difference between jambon and Spam is that jambon needs to be refrigerated and has a shorter shelf life than Spam. 

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9. Klik

Klik is essentially a Canadian version of Spam. If you can find it at the store or online, it’s almost a perfect replica. Like Spam, it is also made out of pork meat. Its nutritional value is also about the same as Spam, but if you’re looking for something that’s extremely similar, Klik is a sufficient replacement for Spam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat Spam?

Dogs should not eat Spam, and it is not considered safe for them to consume. For one, its main ingredient is pork, which is not recommended to feed to dogs. It is also highly processed and contains many additives which are unhealthy for dogs.

Why is Spam meat called Spam?

Spam is a shortened version of “spiced ham.” The company has its own museum, the Spam Museum, and in it there is information about how the name came about. Hormel Foods had a naming contest, and the brother of an executive came up with the name and won $100.

Why is spam popular in Hawaii?

The roots of Spam in Hawaii go back to World War II, when it was served to soldiers. Because of its long shelf life, Spam was an ideal food for soldiers to have on hand. Eventually, Hawaiian people who weren’t fighting in the war got a taste of Spam. 

As time went on, they quickly adopted it into their diets, loving it for its convenience and versatility. Fried Spam and rice became a popular and easy Hawaiian meal. 

Conclusion

Spam is an immensely popular processed meat to use in cooking. It’s known to be unhealthy as well, and you’ll be pleased to find out that there are many healthier alternatives to Spam. Some of them are even vegan and contain no meat, but manage to replicate the flavor of Spam. 

There are also many other types of canned meat that are very similar to Spam. Whatever you’re looking for in a Spam replacement, you’re sure to find it here.