Surprising Uses for Tiger Nuts
By Becca DiCenso
Don’t let the name fool you. Tiger nuts are neither made from tigers (thankfully), nor are they even nuts. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy them! Here are some of our favorites.
First thing's first; what exactly is this funny-sounding food? A tiger nut is actually a small root vegetable filled with belly-busting fiber and health-boosting nutrients. Popular amongst Paleo dieters, this ancient health food originated in Egypt, but—thanks to its sweeter flavor and numerous uses—it’s recently made a comeback, popping up in health food stores across the nation. Aside from the plain old raw tiger nuts (which you can just toss into your mouth like candy), food manufacturers are also popping out milks, flours, and oils made from the ancient veggie.
But what can tiger nuts do for you, exactly? Well, not only does this powerful little tuber have some amazing uses, it’s also a potent source of resistant starch, a starch that does exactly what the name implies—resists digestion and aids weight loss. The soluble fiber in tiger nuts can also be a significant source of prebiotics, the fuel that helps your good gut bacteria thrive. Compared to actual nuts like almonds and walnuts, tiger nuts have less protein. However, they possess a hearty dose of bloat-banishing potassium and vitamin E, a nutrient that protects cells from the damaging effects of potentially cancer-causing free radicals.
While the flavor is a bit sweeter than actual nuts, not everyone is a fan of the bland taste and dry texture. To reap the benefits of this new superfood—without suffering through an unpleasant snack—we’ve come up with some easy and delicious ways to fit tiger nuts into your diet!
In Healthy Desserts
Use tiger nut flour (which can be purchased here) to create delicious gluten-free desserts. Next time you’re in the mood to bake something sweet, swap in tiger nut flour for refined white flour. (A 1:1 ratio will work just fine.) Since the flour alternative is naturally sweet and nutty, you could also consider healthifying the recipe further by using a bit less sugar than the recipe calls for. Try it in cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, or anything else your sweet tooth craves.
As a Topping
Make a simple heart-healthy granola using chopped tiger nuts, shredded unsweetened coconut, your favorite unsweetened dried fruit, coconut oil, honey, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. (You can find a great recipe at Paleo Pumpkin.) This crunchy topper is perfect for grab-and-go snacking and also tastes great sprinkled on top of Greek yogurt and overnight oats. You can also coat fish and chicken with sliced tiger nuts straight out of the bag. (Drag the meat through an egg bath first.) It’s a great way to reap the health benefits without making any major alterations to your favorite dinner recipes.
As a Drink
Making tiger nut milk is easier than you might think. Just follow our guide for making homemade almond milk and swap out the almonds for your new favorite tuber. Looking for a thicker sip? Mix tiger nuts into your smoothies. Delish!
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ABC News Chief Women's Health Correspondent