Substitutes for Watercress

Watercress is being used as a healthy vegetable in salads and dishes for centuries. Being a part of the Brassicaceae family, it is comparable to wasabi, radish, and garden cress. Both other than the members of the Brassicaceae family, a few more vegetables can be used as substitutes for watercress. 

While choosing a proper substitute for watercress, you need to consider the nutrient elements in your preferred vegetable. Watercress is rich in nutrients like calcium, iodine, iron, folic acid, Vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. [1] The substitutes shouldn’t fall short either. 

However, it’s not so easy to find a substitute that has so many nutrients. With our thorough research, we have brought together all the great alternatives at the same place. See our list!

1. Arugula

This unique plant has a lot of names, including roquette, rucola, or rocket. Its exotic shape of leaves can draw anyone’s attention. In terms of flavor, it is quite similar to watercress as it has a spicy, peppery, and pungent taste. 

The best part about arugula is, the flowers and seeds are also consumable along with the leaves. The younger leaves can be eaten raw in salads, while the older ones are great cooking ingredients. 

Arugulas are widely used in recipes like pizzas, pasta, and soups. 

2. Nasturtium Leaves

Nasturtium leaves are also known as Indian cress. Don’t get fooled by the name, as it doesn’t belong to the same genus as watercress. You can get the same peppery, pungent taste like watercress from nasturtium though. [2]

Like arugula, almost all parts of nasturtium are edible. Its bright flowers look very beautiful and provide a distinct flavor to different kinds of salads. You should only use the leaves as a watercress substitute as the flowers have a totally different taste. 

3. Spinach

Originating in Asia, spinach is considered as one of the healthiest plants of the world. This flowering plant can be used in many cuisines, including North American, Asian and European. However, it can replace watercress in numerous dishes as well. 

If you decide to use spinach in place of watercress in your dish, be ready to accept a different taste. Spinach has a bit of distinct taste compared to watercress. If you are looking forward to getting a much similar taste, then you need to add some additional pepper to it. 

4. Radish Sprouts

Radish sprouts don’t taste exactly like radishes. Rather, you can get a very similar taste to watercress from radish sprouts. In Japanese dishes, radish sprouts are used as a very common garnish to enhance the taste of salads. 

If the nutrient value of your food is your primary concern, then you won’t find that many watercress substitutes as good as radish sprouts. Be sure to make your sandwiches and salads healthy and tasty with this ingredient if watercress is not available. 

5. Kale 

Kale has different variations, and most of them are good alternatives to watercress. With a very close flavor to cabbages, you can put the kale into many dishes that primarily need watercress. 

In different countries, kale is used as a regular ingredient in stews and soups. You should avoid eating raw kale though, as it might cause stomach pain. [3]

6. Dandelion Green

Dandelion green plants have high proportions of nutrients like minerals, calcium, protein, iron, and vitamins. [4] Also, it contains very few calories. People who are looking for a diet to get rid of the extra pounds off their body should include dandelion greens in their food chart. 

The younger leaves of dandelion greens are proper substitutes of watercress as the older leaves are too bitter. If you use older leaves, don’t put too many of them in the dishes. 

7. Endive

Endive is well-known for the bitter taste of its leaves. Among different species of this plant, the Belgian variant is the best alternative to watercress because of the tangy, crunchy and bitter flavor. 

Like dandelion, don’t use too much endive in dishes as your food might become way too bitter. 

You shouldn’t randomly choose a watercress substitute without taking the dish into consideration. For example, while kale is a great watercress substitute in stews and soups, radish sprouts go better in salads. 

Also, take the other food ingredients into consideration. Not every single watercress substitute makes a great combo with every other ingredient.

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