Unmasking the Health Secret of Provolone Cheese: A Low-Calorie Powerhouse!

Provolone cheese, renowned for its rich flavor profile and versatility in culinary applications, harbors an unexpected secret – it’s a relatively low-calorie choice when it comes to cheese. Born in the sun-kissed regions of Italy, this traditional delight offers both a treat to your taste buds and a boost for your health. Whether you’re aiming for weight loss, seeking a protein-rich snack, or simply want to indulge in a delicious yet mindful manner, Provolone cheese serves as an exciting option. Join us as we delve into the intriguing world of this Italian gem, exploring its low-calorie nature, nutritional benefits, and ways to integrate it into your balanced diet.


Provolone cheese, originally from Italy, is a versatile semi-hard cheese recognized for its smooth, creamy texture, distinct flavor, and culinary applications. It’s known for its unique, slightly sharp taste that can add a savory burst of flavor to any dish.

Now, let’s talk about the nutritional aspect of Provolone cheese. A serving size of Provolone cheese, typically around 1 ounce (28 grams), contains about 100 calories, which is quite moderate compared to many other cheeses. It offers a good amount of protein (around 7 grams per serving), which aids in muscle recovery and growth, and can promote feelings of satiety, potentially helping you to eat less overall. Moreover, Provolone is a good source of calcium, a mineral that is essential for bone health.

The reason Provolone is considered relatively low in calories is mainly due to its moisture content. Cheese can vary significantly in terms of their moisture and fat content, and these two factors largely determine their calorie content. Provolone cheese, being a semi-hard cheese, has a higher moisture content and slightly lower fat content compared to hard cheeses, such as Parmesan or Cheddar, which have lower moisture and higher fat – and hence, higher calorie – content.

It’s important to note that, while Provolone cheese can be part of a balanced diet, portion control is key. Cheese, including Provolone, is often high in sodium, and consuming too much can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Furthermore, cheese is also relatively high in saturated fat, and while our bodies do need some saturated fats, overconsumption may lead to weight gain and cardiovascular health issues.

Provolone can be a nutritious and tasty addition to meals – think of slices melted onto whole grain bread for a grilled cheese sandwich or shredded over a salad for an extra punch of flavor. It can add richness and depth to your dishes, but remember to keep an eye on portion sizes. Combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, consuming Provolone cheese can help you maintain your health while still enjoying the foods you love.

Bear in mind that achieving weight loss isn’t just about the specific foods you eat. It’s more about the overall balance and composition of your diet, alongside other lifestyle factors such as physical activity, sleep, and stress management. It’s always a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist if you need personalized advice on these matters.

Nutrition facts

Here’s a general nutritional breakdown for Provolone cheese per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving:

  • Calories: Approximately 100
  • Protein: Approximately 7 grams
  • Total Fat: Approximately 7.5 grams
    • Saturated Fat: Approximately 5 grams
    • Monounsaturated Fat: Approximately 2 grams
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: Less than 1 gram
    • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: Approximately 20 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate: Less than 1 gram
    • Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
    • Sugars: Less than 1 gram
  • Sodium: Approximately 250 milligrams
  • Vitamins:
    • Vitamin A: Approximately 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
    • Vitamin C: 0% of the DV
    • Vitamin D: Approximately 1% of the DV
    • Vitamin B12: Approximately 5% of the DV
  • Minerals:
    • Calcium: Approximately 20% of the DV
    • Iron: Less than 1% of the DV
    • Potassium: Approximately 1% of the DV

The primary ingredients in Provolone cheese are milk, cheese cultures, salt, and rennet. It’s also common to see enzymes included as an ingredient, as these help to accelerate the cheese-making process.

Please note that these values can vary depending on the specific brand or type of Provolone cheese, and it’s always best to check the nutritional information on the product label for the most accurate details. Additionally, the percentages of the Daily Value (DV) are based on a 2000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your personal caloric needs.

Different types

Provolone cheese is traditionally made in two main types: Provolone Dolce and Provolone Piccante.

Provolone Dolce: The Dolce version of Provolone cheese, which translates to “sweet,” is typically aged for 2 to 3 months. It has a creamy, mild, and somewhat sweet taste. The texture is smooth and firm, suitable for slicing. It’s pale yellow in color and has a thin, waxed rind.

Provolone Piccante: Piccante means “spicy” or “sharp” in Italian. This Provolone variety is aged for more than four months, and sometimes up to a year or even longer. This prolonged aging gives it a sharper, more pungent flavor and a harder texture. The color is a deeper golden-yellow, and the rind is thicker.

Here is a summary comparison table:

Provolone Dolce Provolone Piccante
Flavor Mild, somewhat sweet Spicy, sharp
Texture Smooth, firm, suitable for slicing Hard, suitable for grating
Aging Time 2-3 months More than 4 months, up to a year or more
Rind Thin, waxed Thicker
Color Pale yellow Deeper golden-yellow

Both types of Provolone cheese have their place in different culinary applications. Dolce tends to be used in sandwiches or as a table cheese, while Piccante is often grated over dishes or used in cooking due to its stronger flavor. Both types provide similar nutritional benefits, but the flavor intensity and texture will significantly change the profile of your dishes. It all comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two.

Mixers and alternatives

Provolone cheese has a unique flavor profile that pairs well with a variety of foods. Here are some mixers that go well with Provolone:

  • Fruits: Pears, apples, and grapes provide a refreshing, sweet contrast to Provolone’s savory flavor.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and pecans add a nice crunch and additional healthy fats.
  • Meats: Provolone pairs well with lean meats like turkey, chicken, and ham.
  • Bread/Crackers: Whole grain bread or crackers can provide a wholesome base for Provolone in sandwiches or as a snack.
  • Vegetables: Sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, or avocados can be used in sandwiches or salads with Provolone.
  • Wine: If you enjoy wine, Provolone pairs well with medium-bodied reds like Merlot or whites like Chardonnay.

If you’re looking for lower-calorie alternatives to Provolone cheese, consider the following:

  • Mozzarella: Especially the part-skim variety, is lower in calories and fat than many other cheeses. It also has a mild flavor and melts well, making it a good substitute for Provolone in many dishes.
  • Swiss cheese: It has fewer calories and less fat than many other types of cheese, including Provolone.
  • Ricotta cheese: Particularly the part-skim variety, can be a good low-calorie option. It has a different texture, but it’s great for mixing with herbs and spices to create a flavorful spread.
  • Feta cheese: While feta has a distinctly different, tangier flavor, it can be a lower-calorie alternative to Provolone. It crumbles well over salads or can be used in sandwiches.
  • Cottage cheese: Although very different in texture, it’s much lower in fat and calories and can work as a substitute in certain recipes, especially those calling for melted Provolone.

Remember, each type of cheese brings its own unique nutritional profile and flavor characteristics. The “best” choice will depend on your individual health goals, dietary needs, and personal taste preferences.

Low calorie recipe

Here’s a simple recipe for a low-calorie salad featuring Provolone cheese.

Provolone and Spinach Salad


  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium-sized tomato
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of Provolone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a handful of walnuts or almonds for extra crunch and protein


  1. Prepare the ingredients: Wash the spinach, tomato, cucumber, and red onion under cold running water. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
  2. Chop the vegetables: Slice the tomato and cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the red onion.
  3. Prepare the cheese: Slice the Provolone cheese into thin strips or small cubes, depending on your preference.
  4. Assemble the salad: Place the spinach in a large salad bowl. Add the chopped tomato, cucumber, and sliced red onion.
  5. Add the cheese: Distribute the Provolone cheese evenly over the salad.
  6. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir well with a spoon to mix. You can also add a small amount of Dijon mustard or honey for extra flavor if you wish, but remember this could slightly increase the calorie content.
  7. Dress the salad: Drizzle the dressing over the salad, then toss gently to combine and ensure everything is well coated.
  8. Season the salad: Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Remember to be mindful of your sodium intake.
  9. Add the optional nuts: If you’re using them, sprinkle the nuts over the top of the salad just before serving to maintain their crunch.
  10. Serve: Enjoy your Provolone and Spinach Salad as a light lunch or as a side dish with your main meal.

Remember, the best part of making your own salad is that you can adjust it according to your preference. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables, sources of protein, and dressings, while keeping an eye on the overall calorie content.

Interesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about Provolone cheese:

  • Origins: Provolone cheese originated in Southern Italy, with production eventually spreading to the northern regions as well.
  • Name Origin: The name “Provolone” comes from the Italian word “prova” or “provolone,” which means “globe-shaped.” This is a reference to the traditional shape of the cheese.
  • Aging Process: Provolone can be aged for a few months (Provolone Dolce) or more than a year (Provolone Piccante), which drastically changes its flavor and texture.
  • Shapes and Sizes: Provolone cheese can come in various shapes, including spherical, pear-shaped, and even in the shape of a salami. The size can range from small individual portions to large wheels weighing over 100 pounds!
  • PDO Status: Provolone Valpadana, a specific type of Provolone cheese made in the Po River Valley in Northern Italy, has PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status. This means that it must be produced, processed, and prepared in a specific geographical area using recognized know-how.
  • Versatility: Due to its mild to sharp flavors and its melting quality, Provolone cheese is very versatile. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, sandwiches, pasta, and even as a pizza topping.
  • Production Process: Provolone is made from cow’s milk and involves a process known as “stretching” where the cheese curds are heated until they can be stretched and molded into the desired shape.
  • Maturity Indication: A unique aspect of Provolone cheese is that you can gauge its maturity by the color of the rind. A lighter, more yellowish rind often indicates a younger cheese, while a darker, more amber color suggests a longer aging period.
  • World Record: The world’s largest Provolone was made in Argentina in 1996. It weighed over 300 kg (661 lbs), was 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) long, and had a diameter of 54 cm (21 inches).
  • Nutritional Value: Despite its rich and full flavor, Provolone cheese is relatively moderate in terms of calories compared to other cheeses, and it is a good source of protein and calcium.


Where does Provolone cheese originate from?

Provolone cheese originated in Southern Italy. Over time, its production spread to Northern Italy and then to other parts of the world.

What is the difference between Provolone Dolce and Provolone Piccante?

The main difference between these two types lies in their aging time and flavor profiles. Provolone Dolce, which translates to “sweet,” is aged for 2-3 months and has a creamy, mild taste. Provolone Piccante, meaning “spicy” or “sharp,” is aged for more than four months and has a stronger, more pungent flavor.

What dishes can I use Provolone cheese in?

Provolone cheese is highly versatile. You can use it in sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, on pizzas, or melted over vegetables. It’s also a popular cheese for snacking or as part of a cheese platter.

Is Provolone cheese a good source of protein?

Yes, Provolone cheese is a good source of protein. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of Provolone provides about 7 grams of protein.

What does Provolone cheese pair well with?

Provolone cheese pairs well with a variety of foods, including fruits (like apples and pears), nuts (like almonds and walnuts), lean meats, and whole grain bread or crackers. It also pairs well with certain wines, such as medium-bodied reds and whites.

Is Provolone cheese suitable for vegetarians?

The suitability of Provolone cheese for vegetarians depends on the type of rennet used in its production. Traditional rennet is derived from the stomach of ruminant animals, but many cheese producers now use vegetarian-friendly microbial or genetically engineered rennet. Always check the label or contact the manufacturer to confirm.

Is Provolone cheese lactose-free?

While Provolone cheese isn’t completely lactose-free, it is considered low in lactose because most of it is removed during the cheese-making process. This means that people with lactose intolerance might be able to consume small amounts of Provolone without issues, but this can vary from person to person.

Can Provolone cheese be frozen?

Yes, Provolone cheese can be frozen, but it’s important to note that freezing may alter its texture, making it more crumbly and less creamy when thawed. It’s best to use frozen Provolone cheese in cooked dishes, like casseroles or soups, where the texture change won’t be as noticeable.


The captivating world of Provolone cheese is a testament to the wonders of Italian gastronomy. By bringing together taste, nutrition, and mindful eating, this cheese is indeed a sterling example of enjoying food without compromising health goals. Its lower calorie content, compared to many other cheeses, provides an avenue for cheese lovers to indulge without the guilt. Whether you choose to savor Provolone in a hearty salad, a wholesome sandwich, or simply on its own, remember that mindful consumption is key. Balance and variety are the main ingredients in the recipe of a healthy diet. With Provolone cheese in your culinary repertoire, the journey towards that balance becomes a tad more flavorful!

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