From Beef to Turkey: Uncovering Which Meats Complement Provolone Cheese Best

What could be nicer than a platter of deli meats and cheese?

Or the perfect pairing of a classic ham and cheese sandwich?

But it has to be said that sometimes it is not easy to get the right match of cheese and meat.

Similar to matching food with wine, there are certain nuances you have to be aware of, where one flavor will completely overwhelm the other.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite cheeses, provolone, has quite a mild flavor, especially when eaten raw, not cooked.

It is actually a versatile cheese that can be used in many dishes, but sometimes overly strong flavors can overpower it.

So, let’s try and find meat that goes with provolone!

As provolone is a mild cheese, it should be paired with meat that will not overwhelm it, such as prosciutto, ham, or salami. However, as provolone is not heavily salted or spiced, it can match with bacon or pepperoni, as the flavors will not fight each other for dominance. When using provolone for cooked dishes, it will work fine alongside ground beef in lasagna or melted on chicken. It is ideal for grilled sandwiches, with the addition of ham for extra taste and texture. Provolone can also be used as a delicious topping for burgers or a Philly cheesesteak.

What Are the Best Meat Pairings for Provolone Cheese?

How do you eat your provolone?

On its own as a snack, or maybe in a grilled sandwich, or perhaps as a topping on pizza?

Provolone has a mild, nutty flavor and is an incredibly versatile cheese.

So, if you have been wary of trying to pair it with meat, let me assure you that it goes well with plenty of delicious options!

If you want to start simple, try adding a slice of ham to your provolone grilled cheese sandwich. 

Another lunch idea is to create a roast beef and provolone panini.

As the cheese melts over the delicious meat, it will be reminiscent of a Philly cheesesteak.

Provolone is not salted or spiced, so it won’t fight for attention when paired with meat that has a stronger flavor.  

If you are building a deli platter, you can include prosciutto, salami, and Italian sausage.

Cured meats, in general, are a match made in heaven with provolone.

The added herbs and spices will bring out the nutty flavor.

If you want to try something a little more daring, then the mildness of provolone can calm down a very spicy meat.

How about Nduja, a spiced, spreadable sausage made with hot peppers layered with sliced, earthy provolone?

Above all, it’s about the flavor profiles and some experimentation may be necessary! 

Why Does Provolone Cheese Go with Meat?

Provolone is a stretched curd cheese made in Italy.

It is a mild, almost bland cheese, but it does have a pronounced nutty flavor with a creamy yellow interior.

Pairing provolone with meat brings out the unique elements of the cheese, adding a complementary flavor experience. 

Now, do be aware that I am talking about the young variety of provolone here.

As provolone ages, it does acquire a stronger taste, and this can be accentuated by adding animal enzymes.

This takes the cheese to a whole new level, which is best enjoyed on its own.

The same can be said for smoked provolone which can be difficult to pair with most meats.

Don’t forget to add accompaniments to your dishes that match well with provolone.

Surprisingly, fruit works well on a cold platter, especially figs, lime, and grapes. 

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

My Thoughts

  • Provolone is a mild cheese that is easy to pair with meat, either on a cold deli platter or in a hot dish
  • It has no overpowering salty or spicy notes, making it suitable for highly flavored meat such as salami, prosciutto, or pepperoni
  • Provolone is perfect for cooked dishes such as lasagna and will work well with ground beef.
  • Aged or smoked provolone has a stronger flavor and will be more challenging to match with meat products
  • Further matching accompaniments for provolone include fruit

Please let me know of any interesting combinations you have tried, tested, and enjoyed!

If you enjoyed this article, why not read another post on swapping different cheeses for provolone?

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