Though they are often considered a mere garnish, chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are quite versatile.
With their delicate onion flavor, they can be used to liven up everything from salads to soups to potato dishes.
What’s more, chives are a good source of vitamins A and C and calcium and iron.
Unfortunately, chives are not always easy to find, and when they are in season, they can be quite pricey.
So what are the best substitutes for chives? Read on to find out.
What are Chives?
Chives are a member of the onion family, and their flavor is similar to that of onions, although milder.
They are native to Asia and have been used in Chinese cuisine for thousands of years.
Chives are a versatile ingredient and can be used in soups, salads, and garnish.
They are also a good source of vitamins A and C.
Chives are easy to grow and can be grown in gardens and pots.
They should be planted in well-drained soil in a sunny spot.
Chives will flower in late spring or early summer, and the flowers are edible and make a beautiful addition to salads.
Simply cut them at ground level using a sharp knife to harvest chives.
Chives can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for longer storage.
The 4 Best Substitutes for Chives
For those who don’t have chives on hand, several substitutes can be used in their place.
Here are the five best substitutes for chives:
1 – Green Onions
Have you ever wondered what gives green onions their characteristic flavor? It’s a compound called pyruvic acid, which is also responsible for the sharp smell of onions.
Pyruvic acid is produced when the onion’s cells are damaged, releasing enzymes that convert stored carbohydrates into the acid.
In addition to its role in flavoring food, pyruvic acid is also used as a food additive and in skincare products.
The intensity of the flavor depends on the amount of pyruvic acid present.
Green onions have a higher acid concentration than mature onions, giving them a more pungent taste.
2 – Chinese Leek
The Chinese leek is a onion family member and is native to East Asia.
It resembles a white onion and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
The Chinese leek is commonly used in stir-fries, soups, and noodle dishes.
It is also a popular ingredient in vegan and vegetarian dishes.
The Chinese leek is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.
It also contains antioxidants and phytochemicals that may protect against cancer and other diseases.
The Chinese leek is an easy-to-grow plant that can be harvested throughout the year.
It is tolerant of cold weather and prefers full sun.
The Chinese leek is a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and nutrition to any dish.
3 – Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the curled, green shoots that grow from garlic bulbs.
Often discarded when trimming garlic, these nutty-tasting shoots can be used in various dishes.
Scapes can be chopped and added to salads, stir-fries, or pesto, or they can be pickled for a flavorful addition to sandwiches or pizza.
When cooked, garlic scapes become tender and slightly sweet, making them a delicious and unique ingredient.
So next time you’re trimming garlic, don’t throw away the scapes – put them to good use and enjoy their unique flavor.
4 – Shallots
There’s something special about shallots.
They’re not as strong as onions, but they have a depth of flavor that enhances any dish.
Whether you’re sautéing them with garlic or using them in a vinaigrette, shallots add a touch of sophistication to your cooking.
Plus, they’re so easy to use.
Simply peel and chop them, and they’re ready to go.
No need to wait for them to brown like onions.
In conclusion, the five best substitutes for chives are shallots, leeks, green onions, garlic scapes, and scallions.
Each of these substitutes has its unique flavor that can enhance the taste of your dish.
When substituting chives for one of these other ingredients, use the same measurement.
This will ensure that your dish still has the same great taste, even without the chives.