I don’t usually buy hazelnuts a lot, but given how expensive Nutella is, I wanted to make a batch of my own at home. And, I soon realized that hazelnuts are the primary component in this spread. But, as luck would have it, the store didn’t have any hazelnuts.
I could have just bought a batch of Nutella from the market but I wanted to enjoy the actual nutritive value of the hazelnuts without any guilt. So, I knew I had to find some good alternatives for this nut.
Hazelnuts have a unique nutty taste of their own and are incredibly versatile. Not only does it taste good with decadent desserts, but it also tastes equally good in savory dishes.
Given how subtle the taste of the nut is, replacing it is not complicated. There are a few substitutes for hazelnut that work just as well.
Why Are Hazelnuts Good for You?
Apart from the crunchy taste and texture of the nuts, these are equally good for your health. They have a high nutritional value and have a good percentage of healthy fats, much like the other nuts.
Compared to its nutty and crunchy texture, hazelnuts have a buttery aftertaste. They also have a toasted flavor that intensifies the taste of the dishes it is added to. The nut’s flavor is quite distinctive, but the nuts’ subtle taste makes it suitable for any dish that you add it to.
It is rich in fiber, Vitamin E, and proteins that ensure better overall health and serves as an excellent weight-loss snack.
It also contains thiamine and magnesium, both of which have proven benefits in improving your gut health.
The healthy fats in the nuts help reduce inflammation in the body and improve your overall cardiovascular health for the better.
What are the Best Substitutes for Hazelnut?
Given how versatile hazelnuts are, finding a substitute for it won’t be that hard. Before picking an alternative, consider what kind of cooking you will use the nut for. If you are going to use hazelnuts for dessert, you need to find an alternative nut that works well with desserts.
Let me walk you through some of the best alternatives for hazelnuts.
If you want to mimic the crunch and texture of hazelnuts, almonds are a close second. Just ensure that you don’t soak them, and instead, dry roast them to further enhance the crunch and taste.
Almonds have lesser calories than hazelnuts, so if you are looking for a healthier weight-loss snack in place of hazelnut, this is the best option. It also has a high level of protein and carbs, keeping you satiated for longer.
But, if you want to substitute hazelnuts with almonds in terms of taste, you will know a distinct difference. Hazelnuts have a tinge of sweetness to it, while almonds have a bitter aftertaste.
The best way to get rid of the bitter taste is by blanching them in some hot water for 5 minutes. Once done, remove the skin and use the white flesh of the nut. It is the skin of the almonds that give it a distinct bitter taste.
Pecans are considered as festive nuts that are mostly toasted and used for pies and as a crunchy topping for cold salads.
If you want to substitute hazelnuts while baking a dessert, pecans pose as a good option. It has a mild taste and flavor like hazelnut, making this a good alternative.
The nutritional value of pecans is similar to hazelnuts, so that you won’t be missing out on any nutritional value with the replacement.
The best way to substitute hazelnuts with pecans is by roasting them first. If you are using it for baking, make sure that you dry roast and then crush it into the dessert that you are making.
3. Macadamia Nuts
If there’s one nut that mimics the look of hazelnuts, its macadamia nuts. Both of these nut variants grow inside a shell and are round in shape. Surprisingly, macadamia nuts are seeds, even though they are called nuts.
The reason why they work as a suitable replacement is because of the buttery taste it has. Even the taste of both these nuts are quite identical, both on the sweeter side.
Macadamia nuts have a very subdued flavor, making it a good option for sweet and savory dishes.
But, one thing that these two vary on is the nutritional value. Macadamia nuts have high levels of calories and saturated fat content. Both these nuts have an adequate level of vitamins and minerals in them, deeming them suitable for your overall well-being.
4. Cashew Nuts
If there’s one nut substitute that mimics the high-fat content of hazelnuts, its cashews. Contrary to popular beliefs, cashews grow inside a cashew apple, which is shaped like a kidney. You can either roast them or eat them raw, depending on how you want the flavor.
As for the taste, cashews add a very creamy and buttery taste to any dish you add. Even though it has a higher fat content than hazelnuts, it is also enriched with protein, magnesium, iron, and copper.
Cashews are quite versatile and work both with desserts and savory dishes. It has promising benefits for your health, serving as a healthy snack, and improving your vision.
If there is a twin to hazelnuts, it is walnuts. Even though they have a very different shape and size, it is a lot similar with respect to the taste and the nutritional benefits. Walnuts have optimal levels of fats and proteins, giving the nut and slightly sweet and creamy taste.
It works amazingly with salads and adds a beautiful crunch to the dish. It is also popular for its health benefits, especially in reducing the risks of inflammation and lowering hypertension risks. It also promotes brain function and cognitive thinking abilities.
If you replace hazelnuts with walnuts in desserts, make sure to use it raw instead of toasting it.
Finding suitable substitutes for hazelnuts is no rocket science. Since it has a very mild flavor, replacing it with another nut doesn’t alter the taste or the flavor of the dish. Just ensure that you follow the right cooking methods, and the rest will likely fall into place.