Ever wondered if black pudding can be a beneficial part of your keto diet? Since sausage in general is kind of a mystery food, you might be wondering if there are any hidden fillers in black pudding that will throw you out of ketosis. The answer to the question of whether or not it’s keto-friendly is a bit tricky, but we contend that it’s probably OK for regular keto dieters.
Carnivores, paleo dieters and nose-to-tail advocates all sing the praises of black pudding, not only because of its purported nutritional benefits but also because it's a great way to use every part of the animal without creating more waste. With blood as its primary ingredient, it's rich in both iron and protein.
Let's dive into the details about how black pudding is made and how it can be incorporated into the keto diet for maximum flavour and nutritional benefits.
What Is Black Pudding?
Black pudding is a sausage casing filled with animal blood, fat and fillers, which make the sausage thick and solid enough to hold its shape. While modern black pudding is almost always a pork product with pork blood as the main ingredient, any type of animal blood can provide the base for blood sausage. This includes cow's blood, sheep's blood and even porpoise blood, if you’re 15th-century royalty in England .
In the U.S., it's called 'blood sausage'. In France, 'boudin noir'. In Spain, it's called 'morcilla'. Whatever you choose to call it, it likely originated in Scotland and is popular all over the U.K., Ireland and much of Europe.
Black pudding was developed by our farmer ancestors— with the first documented reference to it found in Homer's Odyssey in 800 B.C. — as a way to make use of the blood that resulted from livestock slaughter. Because blood doesn't keep well, it had to be processed right away in order for it not to go to waste, and black pudding was born.
How To Make Black Pudding
To make blood sausage, you need semi-frozen animal blood — usually pig's blood — heavy cream, pork fat (also called suet or rendered as lard), onions, pork sausage casings, oatmeal or another cereal grain like groats, and spices. Since we don’t advocate eating grains as part of a healthy diet, we’ve found a couple of great recipes that substitute the traditional cereal grains with cassava flour and almond flour.
Here are a few recipes you might consider trying:
- Essential Omnivore: A delicious recipe that also provides an apple compote to go along with your black pudding.
- Primal Palate: A Swedish version that includes eggs, apples, and pears.
If the thought of cooking with pig's blood makes you squeamish, but you're still curious to try black pudding, don't worry. You're not alone. You might be able to find prepared black pudding already encased and ready to bake or fry up at your local butcher. And, lots of restaurants serve it as well. It's an especially popular dish at Spanish tapas restaurants.
Is Black Pudding Keto-Friendly?
It depends. Traditional black pudding recipes call for a cereal grain as part of the mixture to thicken up the blend that will go inside the sausage casing. Grains aren't technically supposed to be part of a ketogenic diet, so if you're strictly going by ingredients, then traditional black pudding doesn't fit in. We’ve shared two recipes that cut out the grains entirely. And while cassava root is a somewhat high-carb ingredient as well (on par with grains), there’s such a tiny amount of it, you’ll likely be just fine.
In fact, if you take a look at black pudding's macros, you'll see that 100 grams of sausage only contains 1.3 grams of carbohydrates, which is pretty low and probably won't kick you out of ketosis. Furthermore, that same 100 grams of sausage delivers 34.5 grams of fat and 14.6 grams of protein, making it a high-fat, low-carb, medium-protein food, which is ideal for the keto diet .
If you're reading this, it's likely because you're on the keto diet and interested in giving black pudding a try. We say go for it. If you're making it yourself and can opt for the recipes with grain substitutes, even better. See how you feel, and evaluate from there.
Is Black Pudding a Superfood?
There's no formal criteria for what makes something a superfood beyond high nutrient density. The foods most typically considered superfoods are brightly coloured fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants and healthy fatty acids, and we've added organ meats to that list too.
Blood isn't exactly an organ, but it's very rich in iron. One hundred grams of black pudding provides 36% of your daily iron needs . Beyond that, the micronutrient profile isn't particularly dense.
But just because black pudding isn't necessarily a superfood on its own doesn't mean it can't be part of a delicious and healthy keto diet. Its macros work great, so it can still help you lose excess fat and keep your net carbs and blood sugar low.
Best Ways To Eat Black Pudding
Black pudding has a distinctive yet mild flavour. It can be a bit nutty and a bit sweet, giving you lots of options for the types of food you can combine with it to create a delicious meal. You can either bake or pan fry black pudding to heat it up before serving. Frying it in a touch of coconut oil, olive oil, tallow or avocado oil makes it crispy, and it's also a great way to add a few more healthy fats into the mix. Here are some simple ways to incorporate black pudding into your diet:
- As part of a healthy keto recipe for breakfast, break open the casing and fry up the morsels to sprinkle on top of your egg and spinach scramble.
- At lunch, slice your sausage up and stir fry it with onions and kale for a delicious wilted salad.
- In a dinner setting, bake or fry the sausages whole, and serve them with a generous salad, side of veg and a dollop of sour cream for dipping.
- As a salty and flavourful garnish, break open the casing, fry up the morsels and fold them into mashed cauliflower, blended celeriac soup or roasted vegetables. Use them like slightly more nutritious bacon bits!
Check out Great British Chefs and Clonakilty for more fun ways to use black pudding. In short, there's not really a wrong way to enjoy this scrumptious delicacy, as long as you keep your serving size reasonable and you keep to your keto macros.
Give Black Pudding a Try
If black pudding is new to you, consider starting with something already prepared and ready to eat. That way, you can try it without having to go through the gore of making it yourself. After all, 'you don't want to know how the sausage is made' is a turn of phrase for a reason. We have a great list of keto breakfast recipes you can try adding some black pudding to. Or mix it into a frittata.
But if you're familiar with the flavour and looking to add some more creativity into your keto diet, give one of our recommended recipes a shot. You can freeze what you don't plan to eat right away, and you'll get clout points for surviving the bloody business of making this British delicacy.
However you decide to eat it, black pudding can be a flavourful addition to your keto diet and a wonderful source of iron and healthy fats when eaten in moderation. Enjoy it at any meal you choose, and don't be shy about adding it as a crunchy, salty morsel atop any savoury dish.
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.