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What Are the Alternatives to Tigernut Products?

Tigernuts are a unique feat of nature as a nut-like plant product that doesn’t contain nuts! But why are they so popular? Here, we’ll explore the benefits of tigernuts, and alternative products and see where they stack up regarding nutrition, sustainability, flavor, texture, cost, allergens, and trends.

Keep reading to learn more about alternatives to tigernuts and when they should be considered.

tigernut alternatives

What Are Tigernuts and Why Consider Alternatives?

Tigernuts come from a plant that’s been recorded as far back in history as ancient Egypt! The yellow nutsedge plant is a grassy shrub that grows in temperate climates, making it perfect for Southern Europe, parts of Africa, and the Middle East. The tigernut is a tuber – an underground energy storage unit – that grows on the roots of the nutsedge plant. They are about the same size as chickpeas and are encased in a chewy, wrinkly skin.

Tigernuts are popular in health food as an allergy-friendly alternative to nuts. If you’re not allergic to nuts, you may consider alternatives like peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and other plant-based kernels or even seeds. Like tigernuts, many of these can be roasted, boiled, ground, or transformed into a spread or “butter” product for baking, sauces, snacking, and more. Tigernuts offer many health benefits, as do some of the leading alternatives, so gathering all of the facts is important to making a decision about which ones to include in your diet.

Nutritional Profiles: How Do Alternatives Compare to Tigernuts?

Let’s start with the nutritional value of tigernuts. Containing approximately 240 calories in a 2-ounce serving, tigernuts are very calorically dense, but not as calorically dense as almonds and peanuts, which both hover around 320 calories per serving.

Tigernuts are high in carbohydrates compared to alternatives. Where tigernuts have about 38 grams per serving, almonds have about 11 grams. The same serving size of peanuts contains approximately 9 grams of carbs.

As far as protein is concerned, peanuts come in the first place, packing a whopping 14 grams of protein in a 2-oz serving, while almonds have 12 grams and tigernuts only have about 4 grams. Tigernuts do lead in natural sugar content, though, with approximately 10 grams of naturally occurring sugar. Almonds and peanuts each contain approximately 2-3 grams of natural sugar in each serving.

Lastly, another important macronutrient to compare when discussing tigernuts and other alternatives is fat. Tigernuts contain about 14-20 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat in a two-ounce serving, surpassing almonds at about 18 grams and peanuts at 13 grams of monounsaturated fat.

Each type also contains micronutrients. Notably, almonds and peanuts don’t contain any vitamin C, while tigernuts do. They also contain differing amounts of trace minerals and vitamins.


Sustainability and Environmental Impact of Tigernut Alternatives

Tigernuts are a sustainable crop, but not all of the alternatives are. Let’s explore a few key areas of sustainability to see how tigernuts compare to real nuts like almonds and peanuts: water use, carbon footprint, and use of chemicals in cultivation and processing.

Tigernuts rank highly in terms of sustainability, needing much less water, chemical intervention, and leaving behind a smaller carbon footprint than many similar crops.

Almonds are notoriously unsustainable, requiring excessive amounts of water to cultivate and process them for human consumption. They also leave behind one of the largest carbon footprints, coming in second to cashews. About 85% of almond trees are treated with an environmentally dangerous herbicide called glyphosate.

Peanuts are similar to tigernuts in terms of carbon footprint and water usage, but most commercial peanut farming operations use harmful chemicals to deter weeds and pests from attacking crops.

Top Plant-Based Alternatives to Tigernuts in Health Foods

There are a handful of comparable plant-based foods that offer similar benefits to tigernuts, such as:

Chia seeds, which are high in fiber and can aid in digestion and weight management in the same way as tigernuts.

Hemp seeds, like tigernuts are high in unsaturated fat, which is great for your brain health, heart health, and other bodily processes.

Almonds, which are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than tigernuts, which is why many people turn to almonds during snack times.

Tigernut Alternatives Your Guide to Healthy Substitutes

Flavor and Texture: Finding the Best Match for Tigernuts in Recipes

Tigernuts are pretty close to other nuts in both texture and flavor, with a few slight differences.

Almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts and cashews offer a similar naturally sweet and earthy flavor as tigernuts, but aren’t allergy-friendly. When ground, coconuts and almonds can work in place of ground tigernuts in baking recipes, and tigernut butter can be swapped for a creamy almond butter, peanut butter, or seed butter for a similar effect.

Economic Factors: Cost-Effectiveness of Switching from Tigernuts

Tigernuts can be pricey compared to competition, especially in the USA, because they are mainly cultivated overseas and are largely imported. Peanuts are among the least expensive of the alternatives, while almonds, pistachios, pecans, and cashews are the most expensive.

Allergy-Friendly and Low Allergen Alternatives to Tigernuts

For those seeking the allergy friendliness of tigernuts in their diet, stick to seeds over nuts. Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and even water lily seeds can be a great alternative to tigernut seeds and won’t trigger allergic reactions in those with nut allergies. Always check the labels of the products for allergen information, and stick to trusted brands (like Natureul!) to prevent potential contamination.

Future Trends: What’s Next for Tigernut Alternatives?

Many tigernut alternatives have been long established as pantry staples and dietary standards, but edgy new competitors are popping up every day. New varieties and preparations of seeds, snack-ready legumes, and reinvented nuts are appearing on the market, like popped water lily seeds, roasted chickpeas, and uniquely flavored almonds.

Tigernut Alternatives: Your Guide to Healthy Substitutes

While there are many alternatives to tigernuts, each has advantages and disadvantages. When switching from tigernuts to true nuts, consumers lose the allergy-friendliness that draws many to try tigernuts in the first place. Tigernuts stand out as one of the most sustainable contenders among the bunch, but are higher in sugar and lower in protein than true nuts and other alternatives. Finally, while tigernuts are justifiably more expensive than competitors, it may be more cost-effective to switch to less pricey alternatives to fit your budget.

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