6 Easy Substitutes for Water Chestnuts

Substitute for water chestnuts

 

Water chestnuts are known for their mellow sweet taste and crunchiness. This Asian grown water tuber is widely confused as nuts, though it is an altogether different vegetable.

Water chestnuts are widely used in Asian cuisines, especially in Chinese food. In fact, China is a major cultivation center of water chestnuts.

Available in fresh, canned, and powdered form, water chestnuts can be replaced with a variety of other similarly tasting tubers. Let’s find out which substitute can best replace the water chestnuts and how?

 

What Are Water Chestnuts?

substitute for water chestnuts

 

Water chestnut is an aquatic tuber vegetable that is grown in the roots of the Eleocharis dulcis plant. They can grow both in freshwater or in muddy marshes.

This tuber appears dark brown in color with a shape resembling the actual chestnut. It is this appearance that gives this tuber the name “water chestnut.” Otherwise, they are completely different from the Tree-Chestnuts.

On the other hand, it has all the tuber-like properties, from its taste to nutritional content. They have a rounded shape with shiny dark brown skin. Under this skin, there is a white flesh that is crunchy in texture, and it has a sweet and nutty taste.

Water chestnut is an aquatic tuber vegetable that is grown in the roots of the Eleocharis dulcis plant. They can grow both in freshwater or in muddy marshes.

This tuber appears dark brown in color with a shape resembling the actual chestnut. It is this appearance that gives this tuber the name “water chestnut.” Otherwise, they are completely different from the Tree-Chestnuts.

On the other hand, it has all the tuber-like properties, from its taste to nutritional content. They have a rounded shape with shiny dark brown skin. Under this skin, there is a white flesh that is crunchy in texture, and it has a sweet and nutty taste.

 

5 Amazing Benefits of Water Chestnuts

Water chestnut is a surprisingly healthy vegetable. Since they are grown in water as a tuber, they are packed with lots of nutrients. Here are some of the known benefits of water chestnuts:

  • Low in calories

A 100 grams of water chestnuts provides only 50 calories which means that they can be added to any meal without disturbing the caloric intake.

  • Packed with Anti-oxidants

They have loaded with anti-oxidants gallocatechin gallate, ferulic acid, catechin gallate, and epicatechin gallate.

  • Lower the Blood Pressure and risks of Heart Diseases

Since water chestnuts are a good source of potassium, they can help keep the blood pressure controlled, and that in turn reduces the risks of heart diseases.

  • Promotes Weight loss:

Their low-caloric and high fiber nutritional content make them a good ingredient for every weight loss diet.

 

Can you have water chestnuts on Ketogenic Diet?

No, water chestnuts are not ketogenic. They are starchy tubers, so naturally, their carbohydrate content is too high for the ketogenic diet.

 

The 6 Best Substitutes for Water Chestnuts

 

1. Turnips

If you are looking for a good substitute for water chestnuts in spinach dip, then turnip is your answer. We all are well aware of the taste and texture of this widely used tuber. It has the same juicy water chestnuts like texture and does not require a lot of quacking.

Substitute for water chestnuts - Turnips

Turnips are the cheapest substitutes for water chestnuts, and they are easily available at every vegetable shop and cart. They do have a spicy mustard-like flavor, which develops over time, but that flavor mellows down with cooking.

How to Use

If you want to replace water chestnuts with turnip in a recipe, then use an equal amount of turnip, peel, and cut them into slices or cubes. Mix the turnips with some water, oil, and salt, then cook just until the turnips are soft. Now you can use this turnip in any recipes as a replacement for water chestnuts.

 

2. Canned Water Chestnuts

 

Substitute for water chestnuts - Canned Water Chestnuts

Canned water chestnuts can be the best substitute for water chestnuts in a lettuce wrap. All you will need to do is to drain and remove the excess liquid and directly add the juicy water chestnuts to the filling. Besides lettuce warps, you can use them in a variety of salads as well.

How to use:

Canned water chestnuts are practically the same as fresh ones, so they have similar taste and texture. You can use replace the fresh one with an equal amount of canned water chestnuts.

 

3. Jerusalem Artichokes

 

Substitute for water chestnuts - Jerusalem Artichokes

Another useful substitute for water chestnuts is Jerusalem artichokes. They are also a tuber and looks more like a ginger root with light brown skin. Like other tubers, they are crunchy, sweet and nutty in flavor, and that makes them an excellent replacement for the water chestnuts.

How to Use    

Replace the water chestnut with an equal amount of Jerusalem artichokes in any recipe. Make sure to peel the artichokes first, then cut them into slices or chunks. Cook for few minutes with water and salt until slightly soft, then use.

 

4. Jicama

 

Substitute for water chestnuts

Can you substitute jicama for water chestnuts? Why not! Jicama has everything that makes it a good water chestnuts replacement. It is also a root vegetable that has brown and papery skin with starchy flesh. This flesh has a juicy and crunchy texture with a mild and mellow sweet and nutty taste like the water chestnuts.

How to Use

Peel the jicama and cut the flesh into slices or in small cubes. You can replace water chestnuts with an equal amount of jicama slices in the recipe to get a similar taste.

Water Chestnut Flour Substitutes

Water chestnuts also have a good amount of starch in them, and for this reason, the water chestnut powder is also used in a variety of meals either to add taste or for thickening. Here are some perfect caltrop starch substitutes that you can try.

 

5. Hazelnut Flour

 

Substitute for water chestnuts

Hazelnut flour is made out of raw hazelnuts, so they have a good nutty taste to substitute for water chestnuts flour. This flour is, however, less grainy, so you can use it in baking as well.

How to Use:

Another good thing about hazelnut flour is that it is gluten-free, so if you want to bread a fish or chicken without adding gluten to the meal, use hazelnut flour. It is also good for smoothies. Since this flour contains more fat content than the water chestnut flour, it can give the meal or drink a thicker and denser texture.

 

6. Almond Flour

 

Substitute for water chestnuts

Almond flour is the dry powder processed out of the almonds. It is a good water chestnut powder substitute. There are two varieties available in the market, blanched and unblanched almond flour. Blanched almond flour is finer in texture and lighter in color, whereas unblanched almond flour is coarse and darker in color.

Almond flour has this mildly sweet and nutty flavor which can provide a great water chestnut starch substitute.

How to Use:

You can replace water chestnut powder with an equal amount of almond flour. You can use it as a thickening agent and as a flavor and texture equalizer as well.

 

Healthiest Substitutes for Water Chestnuts

To best understand which of the above-given vegetable substitutes are the healthiest alternative for water chestnuts, let me breakdown the nutritional facts of all those options in this table down below:

Substitutes for Water Chestnuts (Nutri Table):

Nutrients Water Chestnuts (100 grams) Turnips(100 grams) Jerusalem Artichokes(100 grams) Jicama(100 grams)
Calories: 50 28 73 38
Fat: 0.6 grams 0.1 grams 0 grams 0.1 grams
Carbs: 12.3 grams 6 grams 17 grams 9 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams 1.8gram 1.6 grams 4.9 grams
Protein: 0.8 grams 0.8grams 2 grams 0.7 grams

According to this table, turnips are by far the healthiest replacement for water chestnuts. They are not only low in calories but are also low in carbohydrates. Turnips can be a good keto substitute for water chestnuts.

Jicama slices come next in this healthy water chestnuts substitution list.

Lastly comes the Jerusalem artichokes, which contain the highest calories and carbohydrates per 100 grams.

Overall, all those options are healthy, and using any of them will not disturb your daily caloric intake.

 

Cheapest Water Chestnuts Substitute in Market

Turnips are the cheapest substitutes for water chestnuts, and they are easily available at every vegetable shop and cart.

Jicamas are available at a $0.31 per ounce price rate, so they are also the “good for the pocket” substitute.

You can find Jerusalem artichokes at the price rate of $15-$19 per pound.

8-ounces canned water chestnuts cost $31 to $33, so they are comparatively expensive than other fresh substitutes.

 

How to Use Water Chestnuts?

This aquatic tuber can be used as a healthy ingredient in a variety of meals and recipes. It goes well in a number of vegetable stir-fries, especially with the mushroom stir-fry.

You can make delicious appetizers using the water chestnuts as well, like bacon wraps, etc. it is great to make a creamy spinach dip or any other dip with a similar taste base. Peeled water chestnuts also add good taste to salads and side meals.

How to Prepare Water Chestnuts

You can preserve and store fresh water chestnuts for long-term use in your refrigerator. Cut the top and bottom portion of each water chestnut bulb and place them in a large jar. Pour cold water into this jar, then seal the lid. Now refrigerate these chestnuts until you are ready to use them.

 

Recipe Ideas to Use Water Chestnuts:

Here are some great recipe ideas to use water chestnuts or their substitutes:

  • Water chestnuts in spinach dip
  • Sautéed green beans with water chestnuts
  • Chicken lettuce wraps
  • Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
  • Shiitake fried rice water chestnuts

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are water chestnuts a nut?
No, water chestnuts are basically water tubers, so basically, they are a vegetable. Due to their dark brown appearance and rounded shape, they are named as water “chestnut”, but they are no nuts.
Are water chestnuts a vegetable?
Yes! Water chestnuts are grown in water, and their Eleocharis dulcis plant is widely cultivated in the Asian region, especially in Japan and China.
What do water chestnuts taste like?
Water chestnuts have a fruity and nutty flavor which taste like a mix between the coconut and apple flavors. Its flesh has an Asian pear-like texture.
Do I need to cook water chestnut before eating?
You can eat the raw water chestnuts as well, but only after peeling. And you can cook them as well. Make sure to keep their cooking time minimum, or add the water chestnuts just a few minutes before you finish cooking a meal, else they will lose their texture and shape.

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