Water chestnuts never fail to spruce up any ordinary dish with their irresistible crunch and distinct flavor. If you enjoy crispy and crunchy flavors in your meals, then remember to keep your chestnuts on hand. However, it can be a difficult task because water chestnuts are not always available in certain locations. And, even if they are, you might not have the time to peel and clean them.
But, worry not because we have the perfect solution for you! In this article, we will be discussing the best substitutes for water chestnuts that will help add that extra crunch to your dish without any hassle.
12 Substitutes For Water Chestnut
1. Canned Water Chestnuts
The best alternative to fresh water chestnuts is canned water chestnuts. The difference is in the name itself, but canned water chestnuts are easily available in most supermarkets, and they are already peeled and cleaned – which means that you can save a lot of time and effort.
The flavor profile is also quite similar, with the nutty flavor being even more insistent in these canned chestnuts. Although some might argue that it is not as fresh, it gets the job done without hindering the quality. Apart from that, canned water chestnuts also have a longer shelf life than fresh ones.
How to substitute: One gram of canned Water Chestnut can be used to replace one gram of fresh water chestnut.
2. Jicama Slices
Jicama is a root vegetable that resembles a turnip in appearance but has a much sweeter flavor. It is often used as a crunchy and refreshing element in salads but can also be used as a substitute for water chestnuts, especially in stir-fries.
The skin is highly delicate and translucent, giving it a papery appearance—the interior features white tissue with a higher starch content than the outside. Jicama has a similar texture to water chestnuts, and it works in the same way to enhance the flavors of the dish.
How to substitute: Add an equal amount of Jicama slices to the amount of water chestnut called for in your recipe, but add it gradually. If you add your jicama slices one at a time and taste your dish as you go, you can ensure that the flavor of jicamas does not overpower your finished meal.
3. Jerusalem Artichokes
Found and sourced from the same plant as the sunflower, Jerusalem artichokes are a type of tuber lumpy and gnarled, resembling ginger. The flesh of these artichokes is white, and when cooked, it takes on a slightly sweet and nutty flavor- making them the perfect substitute for water chestnuts.
They have a small, brown, and knob-like appearance with a thin layer of skin. Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten raw or cooked, making them a versatile ingredient. They are mainly used to add layers to salads or as a side dish.
How to substitute: 1 gram of water chestnut equals one gram of Jerusalem Artichokes, half-gram jicama slices, and a tiny bit of turnips. First, remove the dirt and unwanted peel to enjoy the fresh and clean Jerusalem Artichokes.
Celery is probably one of the most common vegetables in any household. It is a type of plant that is often used as a garnish or for adding texture and flavor to salads and soup dishes. It has long, green stalks with leaves at the top and white or light-green colors.
Celery has a crisp texture with a very mild taste that is slightly sweet and salty. When it comes to substituting water chestnuts, celery is an excellent choice because of its similar texture and flavor profile. Add a little spice at a time to be sure you enjoy the new taste.
How to substitute: Replace the water chestnut with raw Celery to improve the nutrition of your meal by finely chopping it. Two grams of celery in exchange for one gram of water chestnut should do the trick.
5. Bamboo Shoots
Another excellent substitute for water chestnuts is bamboo shoots. They have a crisp and crunchy texture that adds extra bite to your dish, just like water chestnuts. Bamboo shoots also have a nutty flavor, making them a good choice for dishes where you want the flavor of the chestnuts to be more pronounced.
The only downside is that they can be a bit tough to chew, so you might need to slice them thinly, especially when cooking for kids.
How to substitute: Use a gram of delicious and nutritious bamboo shoots instead of one gram of fresh and raw water chestnut. You may chop the bamboo shoots or supplement them differently before cooking to eliminate the undesirable pieces.
Also known as the white radish, daikon is a type of root vegetable with a long and white cylindrical shape. It is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine and is often used as a garnish or added to salads in Japan. The taste of daikon is slightly spicy and peppery with a hint of sweetness.
Daikon is crunchy and firm when it comes to texture, making it an excellent substitute for water chestnuts. The low-calorie count gives it bonus points!
How to substitute: One gram of daikon radish can take the place of one gram of water chestnuts. You may not need to do anything differently when cooking with daikon.
7. White Turnips
Another root vegetable that we love is the white turnip. These turnips are small with a slightly sweet taste and white or cream-colored flesh. They have a crisp texture, making them perfect for roasting, sauteing, or adding to salads.
When substituting water chestnuts for white turnips, keep in mind that they will have a slightly sweeter taste. The best thing is that they’re readily available in nearby markets and stores.
How to substitute: One gram of white turnip can take the place of one gram of water chestnut. As with daikon, no extra preparation is necessary. Simply swap out the ingredients and enjoy!
8. Almond Flour
While some of you might be shocked since almond flour is clearly not a vegetable, rest assured that it is an excellent substitute for water chestnuts, primarily when used in baking recipes. Almond flour is made from finely ground almonds and has a slightly nutty taste.
It is also gluten-free, making it a good choice for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. It is low in carbs, loaded with supplements, and has a marginally better taste.
How to substitute: One gram of almond flour can take the place of one gram of water chestnut. You might need to add more liquid to your recipe since almond flour is drier than wheat flour.
9. Hazelnut Flour
Another type of flour that can be used as a substitute for water chestnuts is hazelnut flour. As the name suggests, it is made from finely ground hazelnuts and has a nutty taste. It is also gluten-free, making it a top choice for those with dietary issues and gluten-free diets.
Hazelnut flour is slightly sweeter than almond flour, which makes it a better choice for baking dishes where a sweet flavor is desired. It has more fat than water chestnut flour, so be prepared to add it accordingly.
How to substitute: One large cup of hazelnut flour can take the place of two cups of water chestnut. You might need to add more liquid to your recipe since hazelnut flour is drier than wheat flour.
10. Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is made from the whole root of the cassava plant and has a slightly nutty taste. It is gluten-free as well, giving those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities another choice to pick from. Cassava flour is also low in carbs and calories but high in fiber.
If not mixed with different flours, cassava flour will not rise and will result in a denser bread.
How to substitute: A gram of water chestnut flour is equivalent to a gram of cassava flour, a half-gram of almond flour, and a little bit of hazelnut flour.
11. Fresh Ginger
Even though many people consider ginger to be a spice, it is actually a root. It has a spicy and slightly sweet taste that can add flavor to any dish. Fresh ginger is commonly used in Asian cuisine, but you can also use it in Western dishes.
Substituting fresh ginger for water chestnuts will give your dish a slightly spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness. If you enjoy this kind of flavor profile, then the ginger would be a great choice; just remember to measure it correctly.
How to substitute: 1½ grams of raw, ground or finely chopped fresh ginger can be used for each gram of water chestnut required in the recipe.
12. Radish Slices
As the name suggests, radish slices are thin slices of radish that have a slightly spicy flavor. They are commonly used in salads or as a garnish on other dishes. While they might not be the most popular substitute on this list, they can still get the job done if you’re in a pinch.
Keep in mind that your dish will have a slightly spicy flavor; if you want to have a higher level of sharpness in your dish than water chestnuts provide, you can use unblemished radishes with their peels. Just mesh the radish slices and use them in the same way you would use the chestnuts.
How to substitute: One gram of radish slices can replace one gram of fresh chestnut. There is no need for extra preparation, simply swap out the ingredients and enjoy!
If you’re looking for quick substitutes for water chestnuts in a dish, all of these ingredients mentioned above will help. Most of them are readily available and can be used in the same way as chestnuts.