Plant-based chorizo is a vegetarian and vegan alternative to traditional pork chorizo sausage. It is made from a blend of spices, vegetables, and sometimes soy protein or seitan (wheat gluten). The number of calories in plant-based chorizo can vary significantly depending on the specific ingredients and preparation method used.
On average, a 2 ounce (56 gram) serving of plant-based chorizo contains around 100 calories. However, calorie counts can range from about 70 to 130 calories per serving depending on factors like the fat and protein content.
Calorie Range in Different Brands
Here is the typical calorie range found in popular brands of plant-based chorizo per 2 ounce serving:
- Trader Joe’s Plant-Based Chorizo: 70 calories
- Beyond Meat Plant-Based Chorizo: 90 calories
- El Burrito Soy Chorizo: 100 calories
- Tofurky Chorizo: 100 calories
- Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Chorizo: 110 calories
- Soyrizo (Various Brands): 90-130 calories
As you can see, calories range from about 70-130 per serving depending on the specific product. Trader Joe’s has one of the lowest calorie options at just 70 calories for 2 ounces. Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Chorizo is at the higher end with 110 calories per serving.
Calorie Differences Due to Ingredients
The number of calories in plant-based chorizo depends largely on the amount and types of fats and proteins used in the recipe. Here are some of the factors that affect the calorie content:
- Fat Content – Products made with more oils or nuts/seeds as a fat source are higher in calories than lower fat options.
- Protein Source – Soy protein and seitan add more calories than vegetable proteins like mushrooms or eggplant.
- Fillers – Ingredients like breadcrumbs or potatoes can increase calories versus recipes with more vegetables.
- Cooking Method – Frying in oil adds more calories than baking or pan frying with little oil.
In general, chorizos made with more nuts, seeds, soy protein, seitan, and cooking oils will be higher in calories compared to those made with more mushrooms, vegetables, and minimal oil.
Nutrition Facts Comparison
To give a sense of the nutrition profile, here is a comparison of the calories, protein, fat, and carbs in 2 ounces of 4 popular brands of pre-made plant-based chorizo:
As you can see, protein ranges from 4-11 grams, fat 3.5-5 grams, and carbs 2-5 grams depending on the brand. In terms of calories per gram of protein, Tofurky offers the best ratio.
Calories in Homemade Plant-Based Chorizo
You can also make plant-based chorizo at home. Homemade versions allow you to control the specific ingredients used.
Here is an example recipe for a lower calorie homemade chorizo with around 90 calories per 2 ounce serving:
- 1 8oz package mushrooms
- 1 15oz can black beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until well combined but still chunky. Pan fry with a small amount of oil until heated through and slightly browned. Using lots of vegetables and minimal oil keeps the calorie count lower.
You can also make higher calorie homemade versions using more nuts, seeds, oils, soy protein, or seitan which will add more calories per serving.
Calories in Chorizo Egg Breakfasts
A common way to enjoy plant-based chorizo for breakfast is in a breakfast scramble or burrito with eggs and vegetables. Here are the typical calories when adding chorizo to egg dishes:
- Chorizo and Egg Scramble (with 2 eggs, 2oz chorizo, veggies) – Around 300 calories total
- Chorizo Breakfast Burrito (with 2 eggs, 2oz chorizo, cheese, potatoes) – Around 500 calories total
As you can see, the calories increase significantly when you add more high calorie ingredients like cheese and potatoes versus just eggs and veggies. But both make for a satisfying and protein rich breakfast.
Calories in Chorizo Potato Recipes
Using plant-based chorizo in potato dishes is very common in Mexican cuisine. Here are the approximate calories in chorizo potato recipes:
- Chorizo Potatos (with 2oz chorizo and 1 cup potatoes) – Around 200 calories total
- Chorizo Potato Tacos (with 2oz chorizo, 1 cup potatoes, 2 small corn tortillas) – Around 350 calories total
The potato tacos have more calories due to the added carbs from the tortillas. But both make a delicious meatless taco filling.
Calories in Chorizo Rice Recipes
Plant-based chorizo also pairs well with rice dishes. Here are some typical calorie counts for chorizo rice recipes:
- Chorizo Fried Rice (with 2oz chorizo, 1 cup rice) – Around 300 calories total
- Chorizo Stuffed Peppers (with 2oz chorizo, 1 cup rice, 1 pepper) – Around 375 calories total
The stuffed pepper has some extra calories from the rice and whole pepper versus just rice. But it makes for a very hearty meatless meal.
Calories in Chorizo Sandwiches and Wraps
For an easy lunch or dinner, you can make chorizo sandwiches and wraps. Here are some typical calorie counts:
- Chorizo and Avocado Sandwich (with 2oz chorizo, 2 slices bread, avocado) – Around 400 calories total
- Chorizo Wrap (with 2oz chorizo, 1 tortilla, veggies) – Around 300 calories total
You can further lower the calories by using lower calorie bread or wraps and loading up on vegetables.
Comparing Calories to Pork Chorizo
For comparison, 2 ounces of traditional pork chorizo typically contains around 230 calories, 18 grams fat, and 13 grams protein. So the plant-based versions are generally lower in calories and fat when comparing similar serving sizes.
However, pork chorizo can have a better protein to calorie ratio than some plant-based varieties. But the plant-based options provide protein and flavor without the negative health effects of processed meat.
Lowest Calorie Options
If you are looking to keep calories very low, try using plant-based chorizo made with mushrooms, vegetables, and minimal oils. Also limit high calorie additions like cheese, large amounts of potatoes or rice, fried tortillas, etc.
Some lower calorie recipe ideas include:
- Chorizo egg white scramble
- Chorizo stuffed mushrooms
- Chorizo salad wrap with greens
- Chorizo veggie tacos on corn tortillas
Focusing on lots of produce can help keep the calorie density lower while still providing satisfying flavor.
Highest Calorie Options
On the other end of the spectrum, higher fat and protein varieties of chorizo as well as preparation methods can significantly increase the calorie content:
- Homemade seitan or soy protein-based chorizo
- Brands made with nuts, seeds, avocado, or significant oil
- Frying instead of baking/pan frying
- Serving chorizo with high carb sides like tortillas, rice, beans, potatoes
- Adding lots of cheese, avocado, sour cream
While these foods can all be enjoyed in moderation on a healthy diet, limiting portion sizes of the chorizo and high calorie additions can help keep your meal within your target calorie range.
Calorie Range Per Ounce
As a general guideline, here is the range of calories per ounce you can typically expect from plant-based chorizo:
- 35-65 calories per ounce for lower fat, veggie-based chorizo
- 70-100+ calories per ounce for higher fat, soy protein or seitan chorizo
The products on the lower end are made with ingredients like mushrooms, eggplant, and minimal oil. Options on the higher end contain more nuts, seeds, soy, wheat gluten, and cooking oil.
Tips to Reduce Calories
Here are some tips for reducing calories when cooking with plant-based chorizo:
- Compare brands and choose lower calorie options when possible
- Make your own version with lots of vegetables, beans, etc.
- Use small amounts of oil when cooking
- Avoid frying, opt for baking, grilling, or pan frying instead
- Fill up on non-starchy veggies instead of tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.
- Use lower calorie ingredients like corn tortillas, cauliflower rice
- Limit high calorie additions like cheese, sour cream, avocado
- Enjoy sensible portion sizes around 2 ounces
With some simple substitutions and paying attention to portions, you can enjoy delicious plant-based chorizo meals that align with your health and calorie goals.
Plant-based chorizo can range quite a bit in calories depending on the specific ingredients, cooking method, and how it is served. On average, a 2 ounce serving contains around 100 calories. But this can range from as low as 70 calories for veggie-based varieties up to 130+ calories for higher protein, higher fat options.
To reduce calories, choose brands made with vegetables and minimal oils. When cooking, use small amounts of oil and bake or pan fry instead of frying. Fill up on non-starchy vegetables instead of calorie-dense carbs to accompany chorizo. And be mindful of portion sizes. With a little planning, you can enjoy plant-based chorizo as part of healthy, lower calorie meals.