Watercress is one of the most delicious and healthy greens you can use in your recipes. It boasts an incredible taste that adds a new flavor element to your recipe and is also packed with vital vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, watercress isn’t found growing wild at every grocery store, so if you like using this leafy green in your meals, you may have to find an alternative.
There are a few watercress substitutes that you can always use, such as Nasturtium leaves, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, dandelion green, purslane, radicchio, spinach, arugula, and cabbage. All these options will cure your hunger for watercress meals.
Now, let’s quickly look at how you can use them in place of watercress in your dishes!
What Is Watercress?
Watercress is a leafy green vegetable available year-round and has a mildly peppery taste.
It is often used in salads and sandwiches, which can be added to soups. Watercress is also high in antioxidants, like vitamin C, which is said to help prevent several diseases.
Watercress first became popular in the United States when it was eaten by pioneers who did not have access to other leafy greens.
In addition to being a good source of vitamins, watercress also contains calcium and iron. This makes it an excellent food choice for vegetarians who do not eat dairy or meat products.
Best Watercress Substitutes
1. Chinese Cabbage
Are you sick of getting your watercress wet? Us too.
That’s why we’re here to aid your journey into the world of Chinese cabbage. Chinese cabbage is easily a better choice than watercress. If you’re looking for a crunchy, succulent leaf that has no bitter taste, then Chinese cabbage is the perfect substitute to use in place of watercress.
It works well in any dish — whether stir fry, pickled, soups, and stews, or even as a wrap. Plus, it’s healthy! You can never go wrong choosing Chinese cabbage as a watercress substitute. Moreover, it is easier to find in supermarkets worldwide compared to watercress.
It’s also cheaper than watercress, so you won’t have to spend more money on something you can get for less money elsewhere.
2. Dandelion Green
Everyone grows up hating dandelions. Then we realize it’s one of the healthiest leafy vegetables on the planet. It’s also an excellent watercress substitute if you’re looking for something easy to find in stores and has a milder flavor.
You can even get them in large quantities at farmers’ markets for an affordable price. Aside from that, it is a powerhouse of nutrients.
You can get tons of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin E, and folate from just one cup of this delicious leafy green.
3. Nasturtium Leaves
Nasturtium leave is another leafy green that can serve as a stand-in. The difference between watercress and Nasturtium is the texture and size.
Watercress is small and soft. On the other hand, Nasturtium is larger with thicker stems that can be cooked along with its leaves like any other leafy vegetable.
Although it doesn’t look appetizing at first, never judge a book by its cover. You could miss your blessing.
When it comes to salads, there is no better choice than lettuce. Besides, you have ample lettuce options to choose from.
You can opt for iceberg lettuce, butterhead, Batavia, Lactuca, celtuce, etc. Funnily enough, you can never go wrong with any of them. All of these types are low in calories and packed with healthy nutrients.
Lettuce is mostly used in salads and sandwiches, but you can also use it on pizza, burgers, spring rolls, green beans, garden peas, seafood like prawns, and shrimp.
Compared to watercress, it is not a winner when used with soups and stews, but it can be used in stir-fry dishes with a short cooking time. However, lettuce is the clear winner if you’re looking for something low in calories but packed with nutrients.
Popeye had it right; spinach is a superfood. If you don’t have any in your refrigerator, you should get some. It’s pock-friendly and readily available fresh at grocery stores or farmers’ markets. Also, preparing it is a breeze, yet it offers excellent nutritional value.
Spinach leaves can vary from small to large, so don’t get mixed up when you see them. The mild flavor can be easily added to many dishes without altering the taste too much, whether small or big. You can replace watercress with this superfood to elevate any side dish, salad, smoothie, etc.
Not only that, Spinach can help improve your health by providing essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for overall well-being, such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, selenium, and more.
6. Water Spinach
First, you need to know that water, spinach, and Spinach are not the same greens. But they are both healthy alternatives to watercress.
When cooked properly, water spinach is savory and crunchy. You can enjoy it as a delicious snack, salad, soups, or steamed and mixed with other veggies.
Most homeowners do deep-fried it, and it tastes even better. Water spinach is also packed with more iron and vitamin C and is fewer calories than watercress.
Radicchio and watercress are vegetables that most people have grown to love. They both have a bitter taste and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. These vegetables are good for salads, though watercress is one of the best greens for making smoothies and juices.
On the other hand, radicchio is more crunchy when eaten raw. It has an earthy flavor with just the right amount of bitterness.
Radicchio can be used in salads, but it is also great as a pizza topping or as a substitute for lettuce in sandwiches. But that doesn’t mean you can’t swap it with watercress.
If you can’t find any watercress, you might consider purslane as a healthy green to incorporate into your diet. These greens are known for their high amounts of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants.
You’ll get the same delicious flavor profile as watercress, and you can use it for salads, omelets, sandwiches, bruschetta, and pizza, just to mention a few.
Purslane is the best, most underrated vegetable that grows wild by the side of the road! It’s succulent, flavorful, versatile, and quite affordable.
When you hear the word arugula, it sounds like a fancy vegetable that you can only get at a farmer’s market. But in reality, arugula is everywhere — many other names just know it. Arugula and watercress share similar qualities, but they aren’t quite the same.
Arugulas are leafy green with a spicy flavor and slightly bitter taste, like watercress. And you can also use it in salads or as a garnish on dishes like pizza or pasta; or cooked up with other vegetables.
However, it would help if you didn’t eat it raw unless you know it’s safe. Some people may experience stomach upset after eating them straight from the garden without cooking them first!
If you can’t find your watercress, don’t sweat it! Cabbage is a great substitute. Just grab some, and you’ll be good to go!
Watercress isn’t as common or cheap as cabbage, so if you’re looking for an affordable leafy vegetable that’s easy to find, go for cabbage! Cabbage is not only affordable but also low maintenance, versatile, and flavorful.
You can enjoy its crispness in salads in the summer or toss it into soups in the winter, like watercress. It’s one of those vegetables you can always count on to be there when you need it, and it won’t let you down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Watercress Best Eaten Raw Or Cooked?
It’s a thing of personal preference and taste because watercress is a leafy vegetable that can be enjoyed either raw or cooked. But most people prefer to eat it raw because the vegetables’ nutrients reduce during the cooking process.
Cooked watercress loses most of its nutrients, especially Vitamin C and folate. Eating raw watercress helps you retain more of its health benefits.
Why is Watercress A Superfood?
You know how you were taught eating your veggies is good for you; watercress is a class of its own. And the reason it’s a superfood is that watercress contains a long list of vitamins and minerals that are essential to maintaining and improving your overall health.
For example, it’s an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps the body heal wounds and aids in the production of blood clotting factors. It’s also high in vitamin C and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), which help to protect against free radicals and shield your cells from damage.
Is Watercress Bad For Your Gut?
Watercress, a leafy green vegetable with many health benefits, is one of the best natural diuretics and laxatives. It can help improve your digestive system, Gut health and flush away toxins in your body. So eat watercress moderately regularly. You won’t regret it!
Is Watercress Poisonous?
Watercress is a common water plant that grows in rivers, streams, or roadsides. People enjoy eating it, and it’s not toxic for humans. However, ingesting a large amount can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In summary, watercress is one of those odd ingredients you need to have a specific frame of mind to enjoy.
It is famous as a sandwich topping and is used in salads. Aside from those, you can incorporate them into many recipes. But watercress isn’t always easy to find in your local market, and sometimes, it isn’t easy to grow.
So for both the impatient cooks out there and those who may not have access to clean watercress daily, this is where the watercress substitutes come in.