Water chestnut is a tuber vegetable that’s a staple in many Asian and Chinese delicacies, including salads, curries, stir-fries, and chop suey. The best part is its slightly sweet white flesh.
Not a nut in any sense, you can even consume this potato-look alike raw! Apart from its delicate crunch, you won’t want to miss out on it, and it comes packed with tons of health benefits as well. However, they’re not very easy to find in local grocery stores! It’s a harsh truth.
But don’t worry. If you’re wondering what are good substitutes for water chestnuts, they are Jicama, White Turnip, Jerusalem Artichoke (or Sunchoke), Celery, Pecans, Daikon, and Radish.
Table of Contents
- 1 6 Best Substitutes For Water Chestnuts
- 2 What are the best substitutes for water chestnut flour?
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 4 Conclusion
If you use water chestnut flour instead, you can switch to hazelnut flour, almond flour, and cassava flour. Let’s explore all these water chestnut substitutes in detail below.
Water Chestnut – Nutrients Per Serving (in grams)
Before getting on to the substitutes of water chestnuts, here are the nutrients you take in per 100g serving of water chestnuts.
- Protein: 2g
- Carbs: 23.9g
- Fat: 0.1g
- Calories: 97
- Fiber: 3g
- Sugar: 2g
6 Best Substitutes For Water Chestnuts
Let’s discuss the top 6 water chestnut substitutes.
1. White turnips
Turnip is one of the best ingredients you can switch to for the similar taste and benefits as water chestnuts. However, make sure to choose the white variety and not other varieties with a sharp taste. This root vegetable is generally found during the winter months.
However, some premium grocery stores sell them throughout the year. You can consume both its large bulb and the green part after sauteing it a little bit. If using it as a substitute for water chestnuts, leave the green part.
Just like water chestnuts, the white turnip has a mild sweet taste. But don’t forget its peppery notes either!
2. Jerusalem Artichoke
Jerusalem Artichoke or sunchoke comes from the sunflower family. It’s another root vegetable that has a sweet, mild, crunchy, and nutty taste, similar to water chestnuts. Appearance-wise, sunchoke resembles the regular ginger.
You can either eat Jerusalem Artichoke raw as water chestnuts or cook it on a low flame till it turns soft to go well with stir-fries or salads.
Similar to turnips, you’ll find sunchoke in multiple textures. The best Jerusalem Artichoke has a firm texture and smooth wrinkle-free skin. So, keep this in mind while buying the vegetable from the grocery store.
If there’s one substitute out of the ones listed here that very much resembles water chestnuts, it’s Jicama. Jicama is a root vegetable with a soft and starchy white interior enclosed by brown skin. When eaten raw (which is not much recommended), it tastes like potato. However, it has more protein and fewer carbs than the latter.
The best way to consume Jicama is by cooking it for a few seconds on high flame to keep its firm texture and prevent its natural sugar from caramelizing. Otherwise, it’d taste sweeter.
Jicama is great for warm dishes and is better than Artichoke.
If you’re missing that crunch of water chestnuts in your dishes due to their scarcity, celery can easily fill that “crunch” void. And guess what? Celery is readily available in all supermarkets and regular grocery stores.
To incorporate celery, make sure to finely chop its lower “white” portion and add it to your dish towards the end to keep its crunch! There’s another important thing to note while cutting celery.
Resist cutting celery lengthwise. Instead, cutting it crosswise is better since its fibers go along the rib.
While the above substitutes can only replace water chestnuts in savory dishes, what if you’re preparing a dessert with water chestnuts as the star ingredient? Got pecans at home? They would go!
The nutty flavor of pecans blends very well with other common dessert elements/flavors such as vanilla, caramel, and maple. Moreover, pecans are more nutritionally packed than water chestnuts. It’s high in protein, good fats, fiber, and much more.
While using pecans, make sure to roast them to let their aroma and flavors come out.
Daikon hails from the family of radish and can replace water chestnut when required. It’s a staple in Asian and Japanese cuisines due to its mild peppery flavor unlike the other varieties of radish.
You can utilize daikon either in its raw form or cook it over a high flame for a few seconds, just to soften it a little bit. Daikon goes well with soups, low-calorie dishes, and stews.
These were the top 6 water chestnut substitutes you can turn to.
What are the best substitutes for water chestnut flour?
As aforementioned, there are ample ways to consume water chestnuts. Its flour is another form you can have it in. If the water chestnut flour is out of stock in your nearby grocery, you can pick these 3 substitutes instead.
1. Almond flour
Made from raw almonds, the almond flour is a top substitute for water chestnut flour. It’s loaded with nutrition, good fats, and fewer calories. And the best part is that it’s gluten-free.
You can incorporate almond flour in both savory dishes and desserts in a 1:1 proportion.
2. Hazelnut flour
Another expensive swap of water chestnut flour is hazelnut flour which is produced from the nutty hazelnuts. Again, it’s gluten-free. Use it in smoothies for a thick texture or marinate chicken, fish, and other items.
Since the fat content is higher in hazelnut flour, use a small proportion of the flour at a time.
3. Cassava flour
Extracted from dried cassava, the cassava flour is a much healthier option than the above two flours to replace water chestnut flour in your dishes. Always consume cassava flour in cooked form as it contains cyanogenic glycosides that can turn into cyanide inside your body when eaten raw.
The flour is high in carbs and equally low in calories, sugar, and fat. Ideally, cassava flour is best suited for baking purposes. Although its thickening capabilities aren’t hidden as well.
So, you can use cassava flour in smoothies or gravies as a thickening agent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is water chestnut a nut?
No, the water chestnut isn’t a nut, but an aquatic tuber vegetable staple in many Asian cuisines. It has a mild sweet taste that can be eaten raw or cooked.
How to store water chestnuts?
While storing water chestnuts, it’s necessary to mind their crispness. To preserve the crispness, soak them in water. You can store unpeeled water chestnuts in the fridge.
Can I use chestnuts as a substitute for water chestnuts?
No, you cannot use chestnuts as a substitute for water chestnuts although they come from the same family. This is because you can’t consume the former in its raw form, unlike water chestnut that’s mostly eaten raw.
So, here you go. Do try these awesome alternatives to water chestnuts and water chestnut flour. Don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comments below. If we missed anything, comment down, and we’ll surely give it a shot.
Until then, happy cooking.