Rolls, stuffing, truffles, pasta, hummus, soups, cupcakes, salads – and so on. Chestnuts are used in a wide variety of situations, meals, and cuisines. However, it’s common to find that you have run out of chestnut.
I find myself running out of chestnut more often than I’d care to admit. It’s a bummer, really. But no need to fret.
There are some amazing substitutes for chestnuts. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the prime suspects!
The tasty substitutes for chestnut
The best substitutes I recommend for chestnuts are:
Pistachios have a somewhat similar taste and texture, but are more recommended in savory recipes and desserts. They are the perfect substitute in most chestnut-centered recipes as well. Use the same quantity of pistachios as the recipe requires of chestnuts – so, that means, 1 cup of pistachios to replace 1 cup of chestnuts.
Tiger nuts come with a distinctly similar taste and texture to chestnuts. Use half a cup of chopped tiger nuts to replace a full cup of chestnuts. Tiger nuts are a great reserve of fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. They’re great for any recipe.
Hazelnuts are perhaps one of the safest alternatives to chestnuts when it comes to preserving taste and quantities. Hazelnuts are more expensive, sure, but come with pretty much the same taste and texture as chestnuts. Use 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts in the place of 1 cup of chopped chestnuts.
Pecans also have a similar taste and texture to chestnuts. They are pretty much close relatives. Pecans are more expansive than fresh, shelled chestnuts. Consequently, you should use less than a cup of pecans in a recipe that calls for a cup of chestnuts.
Macadamia nuts will change the flavor subtly to a more nutty, fruity one. The most important thing to take care of is the quantity. Macadamia nuts have a very strong nutty flavor. If you overuse them, then the recipe will taste very different. Replace 1 cup of chestnuts with half a cup of chopped macadamia nuts.
Jackfruit seeds don’t have a very similar taste and texture to chestnuts but are worth experimenting with, which makes it a solid substitute in any meal. They’re also fairly cheap. The taste is still somewhat close to chestnut for certain recipes, but the texture is crunchy and unique. You need to use double the amount here. So, that means, use 2 cups of jackfruit seeds in the place of 1 cup of chestnuts.
But, what about the pricing of all these chestnut substitutes?
We all know that nuts are far from the cheapest type of food, but luckily not all substitutes for chestnut will break the bank.
Here is an overview of the pricing of all substitutes per ounce (prices taken from Walmart and Amazon):
- Pistachios: $0.40
- Tiger nuts: $1.10
- Hazelnuts: $0.63
- Pecans: $0.56
- Macadamia nuts: $1.15
- Jackfruit seeds: hard to find
Chestnut itself cost between $0.53 and $0.95 per ounce, depending on the brand. Your cheapest substitute will be X, while the most expensive one would be macadamia nuts, which are also the highest in calories.
Comparing the nutritional facts of chestnut and its substitutes
I know, I know. Taste and texture aren’t the only considerations. All these different types of nuts have unique nutritional compositions. It’s important to know, especially if you’re managing your daily intake or if you’re trying to avoid a lot of carbs or fat.
The nutritional facts of chestnut itself are as follows (per 1 ounce):
- Calories: 37
- Protein: 0.6 grams
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Fiber: 0.6 grams
Here’s a nutritional showdown between the various chestnut alternatives (per 1 ounce).
As you can see, you can go for jackfruit seeds if you want to stay low in calories, as these barely contain any fats. If calories don’t matter to you, you could also go for the macadamia- or hazelnuts, which both taste amazing.