I use chives in many ways, whether it is in dips, sauces, or fish. Not everyone likes this vegetable, though, as it has a particular flavor. If you find yourself scrambling to find another choice, you should know exactly what to look for.
What Are Chives?
This herb is related to onion and garlic and it has long green stems, and a very mild, slightly pungent, and citric flavor.
Chives are often used as a seasoning or topping in soups, dips, sauces, eggs, and potatoes. Because they are so small and delicate, chives don’t require a lot of cooking and should be added at the end of the process, so they retain the texture and flavor.
Because chives taste like onions, some people shy away from them, but the reality is the flavor is more subtle. Some famous recipes with chives include deviled eggs, grilled steak, omelet, and poached salmon.
Chives are extremely healthy because they contain high amounts of vitamin K, C, and A, folate, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, along with potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Some like using chives because they contain several antioxidants, including quercetin, flavonoids, and vitamin K. These can all be beneficial in reducing inflammation, preventing cell damage, and protecting from environmental toxins.
If you suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, or another chronic illness, chives may help treat your conditions.
What Can I Replace Chives With?
Whether the flavor isn’t for you or they are not in season, knowing about these chives substitutes may be helpful for you:
Best For Cooking, Garnish, and Mashed Potatoes
Some people confuse chives with scallions all the time. They are relatives, but not the same, and scallions can be used for the same purposes as chives. Scallions are also known as spring onions, and they have a bright color and long stems that resemble chives.
Scallions have a stronger flavor and are more pungent, so we suggest you stick to using about half the amount. This vegetable is also more heat-resistant, so you can add it earlier in the cooking process if you want.
Chop these onions laterally first and then in smaller circles, so they appear like chives when you use them.
When it comes to garnishing things like fish, eggs, mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs, then parsley is a great substitute for chives. The flavor is very different, more bitter, sweet, and lightly citrus, but it goes well in dishes that usually contain chives.
You can use a bunch of parsley and just chop off a bit to sprinkle on top of these dishes.
Like chives, parsley should be used only at the end of the cooking process, as it can be mushy and bitter when you cook it for a while. Similar to chives as well, parsley has some antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which makes it a healthy option.
See More: Parsley Substitutes
Since leeks are also a member of the onion family, they can be a good replacement for chives. Leeks, however, are very large, almost like a huge scallion.
The flavor is also much more potent and pungent, so soaking them in ice-cold water for a few hours before using them can be an easy way to remove some of this pungency.
Use leeks when you cook soups, mashed potatoes, eggs, and meat. This choice may be too big for garnishing, but it can still work, just make sure you cook the leeks enough time that they release their flavor and get softer.
See more: Leek substitution
Best For Soups, Salads, and Eggs
Shallots aren’t visually appealing in comparison to chives, but they can be a nice substitute in making soups, salads, sauces, and egg dishes. The flavor they impart is mild and slightly sweet, but they also have a peppery aftertaste like onions.
You should only use about ⅓ the number of shallots that the recipe asks for, otherwise, the flavor can be too strong.
Keep in mind too, that shallots are very hard, unlike chives, so cooking them will make the texture more appealing. It may be best for you to slowly add shallots, as you would something like garlic, or your dish may be ruined quickly.
See More: Shallots Alternatives
Onions aren’t particularly pretty, but they do have an amazing flavor that works well in replacing chives. You should add onions early in the cooking process, maybe even first, so that they get soft and release all their complex flavors.
Using yellow onions is best, as these are milder and sweeter, which is what you want in substituting chives.
You can use onions when you prepare soups, salads, meat, eggs, and more. Onions are very versatile, so they truly will go well with most ingredients. However, you should know that onions can be a little bland, so using tons of other flavors is best.
See More: Best Substitutes for Onions
Some people swear by garlic, particularly because it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and digestive properties. Garlic is very pungent, though, so using a little goes a long way. To swap it with chives, use ⅓ of a teaspoon of garlic for every 1 teaspoon of chives.
It is also a good idea to add garlic early on in the cooking process, but make sure you use mashed garlic or mash a clove yourself.
Use garlic when you prepare soups, sauces, stews, meat, and eggs. Some people dislike the aroma of garlic, so you should always go slow and add a little only.
See More: Garlic Shelf Life
#7. Chinese Leeks
Chinese leeks are not an easy option to come by, but they can be an appropriate choice if you happen to see it at a Chinese or Asian market. Chinese leeks are smaller than regular leeks, almost resembling scallions.
Surprisingly, this vegetable is sweet and only slightly bitter, but the flavor comes through if you cook it for a bit of time.
You can use Chinese leeks just like you would leeks, but be sure to give them time to release their flavors and get softer. Use this option when you want to prepare soups, stir-fries, meat, eggs, and rice.
If you want a similar flavor to chives, any of these seven choices works. Try using scallions, leeks, or onions to obtain the closest flavors. You can mix them too if you feel like the dish is lacking.
Scallions and green onions are essentially the same thing, except that scallions have a smaller bulb than green onions. Chives, on the other hand, are considered a herb, and while they look similar, they aren’t the same.
Yes, chives are very healthy, as they contain a high number of vitamins and minerals. Some even eat chives constantly because of their antioxidant content. Still, chives are usually consumed in very small amounts, so they pose no real nutrient effect on people.
You have certainly had chives before, whether it is in your deviled eggs or on top of some onion dip. The truth is, not everyone likes buying chives because they are expensive and small. Instead, you can opt to try one of these seven alternatives that bring excellent flavors to your cooking.
Up next: Chives vs green onions
*Image by depositphotos.com/Sengers