Before I go any further, let me quickly say that what you see in the above photo is not cookie dough. It’s actually tiger nuts!
I had to mention it straight away because I know that these little tiger nuts TOTALLY look like cookie dough bites and I would not want to disappoint and mislead you.
That said, I am working on a vegan raw cookie dough recipe that will be ready for you in a few weeks . . . Patience, my friends. Patience.
OK, tiger nuts . . . Let’s get to it!
The Curated Kitchen:
WHAT ARE THEY? //
These sneaky little “nuts” aren’t nuts at all, rather tiger nuts are tubers and a member of the root vegetable family.
Tiger nuts are found in Africa and the Mediterranean. While they are closely related to carrots and potatoes, they obtain their crunchy, nut-like texture by being dried in the sun for up to three months prior to being sold for consumption.
Even after the long drying process, tiger nuts retain a slightly soft and chewy texture, similar to a cashew. Their relatively mild flavor—nutty, earthy, and subtly smoky—makes them easy to incorporate into different recipes (more on that below!).
WHY YOU NEED ‘EM //
Tiger nuts are one of the best dietary sources of resistant starch you can find.
I’ve talked about resistant starch and its benefits before, but to jog your memory, resistant starch simply means a type of starch or carbohydrate that our bodies are not able to digest. This type of starch provides fuel (a.k.a prebiotic) to the millions of good bacteria (a.k.a. probiotics) that colonize our digestive tract. By giving the probiotics a good source of food, they are better able to proliferate and keep the harmful bacteria populations within a normal range.
Other sources of resistant starch include green bananas, raw potatoes, as well as cooked rice, oats, or potatoes that are eaten cold (the cooking and cooling process allows some of the digestible starch to be converted to resistant).
Resistant starch also helps increase satiety, which can help with appetite control and weight management.
I love that tiger nuts are another source of resistant starch and their chewiness makes them take longer to eat compared to actual nuts. Plus whenever you can nourish both yourself and your friendly gut bacteria, you’re doing good.
GREAT FOR NUT OR COCONUT ALLERGIES
Allergic to nuts or coconut? Try tiger nuts! They are an excellent substitute—especially for non-dairy milks. See below for a quick recipe to make your own.
NUTRITION HIGHLIGHTS //
Serving size: 1 ounce // 1/4 cup // 30 grams
Calories: 120-140 kcals
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fiber: 10 g
Nutrients: iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium
VITAMINS + MINERALS OF NOTE
Tiger nuts are a good source of potassium, which is important for both heart health and essential for muscle contractions and digestion. High in fiber to help with satiety and promote regularity.
They contain arginine, which is an amino acid that may help lower your blood pressure by supporting the body’s production of nitric oxide.
WAYS TO USE ‘IT //
Tiger Nut Milk. Using tiger nuts for milk originated in Nigeria and there this traditional drink is known as “kunnu aya.” Simply soak tiger nuts in filtered water (use a 1:4 ratio so 1 cup tiger nuts to 4 cups of H2O), blend, and strain the pulp to produce a creamy, nutrient-rich beverage. You can always add a bit of honey, cinnamon, cardamom, or other spices—really whatever you like.
And, as I mentioned, it’s the perfect dairy-milk alternative for anyone with coconut or nut allergies and/or sensitivities. Delicious over granola, oatmeal, or warmed on the stove for a soothing pre-bedtime cuppa.
Salads. Add whole tiger nuts to salads for extra crunch and texture.
Smoothies + Smoothie Bowls + Green Juice. You can always add any a few tablespoons of either the Gemini smoothie mix to a green smoothie or add the nuts whole.
Tea. Infuse boiling filtered water with dried or fresh dandelion flowers for an invigorating tea that supports digestion and liver health. Recipe >>> 1 quart dandelion flowers + 1 quart boiling H2O and let it steep for an hour then add your sweetener of choice. Or try this one.
Straight Up. You can always eat them plain, but I prefer to season them a bit and bake them to get them a tad more crispy and crunchy. Just as you might make roasted chickpeas, you can bake tiger nuts with a little cinnamon or sea salt and rosemary for a simple and hearty snack.
Granola. Toss them in with other ingredients the next time you make homemade granola!
Baked Goods. Experiment with using tiger nuts in baked goods as a nut-free, grain-free flour. I have a few recipes in the works that I hope to share soon! 😉
Pesto. Substitute in place of pine nuts or whatever nuts you might use.
Cookies + Desserts. Add texture, substance, and healthy fats to your cookie and dessert recipes.
SHOP SMART //
You can usually find tiger nuts in the bulk section of most health food stores (i.e. Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Market, etc.).
I also really like Organic Gemini tigernut products, especially the vanilla smoothie mix, which can ONLY be purchased at Whole Foods. It has only four ingredients (which is awesome) and the protein source is peas.
TIPS + ADVICE //
Tiger nuts have a high fat content, which makes them more susceptible to rancidity. Store tiger nuts in the freezer if you don’t plan to use them within a month.
Otherwise, there aren’t any major concerns or safety precautions when it comes to these little nut wannabes.
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
Have you ever baked with tiger nuts? How have you used these tiny tubers or are they a new superfood to you, too?