Finding the right caper substitute can be extremely challenging as the distinct flavor makes it hard to match.
This edible flower bud comes from the Capparis spinosa or caper bush. This perennial plant is native to the Mediterranean. Both the fruits and flowers buds are consumed pickled.
Caper is a staple ingredient in the Mediterranean cuisine and has a sharp and pungent taste. It can give a salty and briny taste to any salads, pasta, and meat.
Although there’s nothing that is quite like the caper, you can still use some alternatives that will give you almost a similar flavor.
This article looks into some caper substitutes that you may try to acquire the same taste in your dishes.
7 Caper Substitutes That You Can Try
1. Green Olives
Green olives can be the closest substitutes for caper due to their pungent taste. Besides, they have numerous health benefits that make them healthy alternatives to caper.
Green olives are rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticancer properties. When used in a recipe, they can give you the same taste as with caper.
However, green olive is bigger, meaning that you need to take about half the number of olives when using it as an alternative.
Thyme is an exotic culinary herb that can be used for garnishing and seasoning a dish. It comes with a strong flavor that is quite similar to that of capers.
Like most herbs, thyme is also rich in therapeutic properties that are beneficial for your health. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help treat a number of diseases.
To get a similar flavor like capers in your recipes, you need to add thyme in the early stage of your cooking. This will help the flavor and fragrance to get fully blended with other ingredients of that dish.
Whether you use the ground thyme or the fresh leaves, it will taste the same.
3. Nasturtium Seeds
Nasturtium is a flower that can be consumed along with its leaves. Its seeds can be a good alternative to caper when pickled.
Nasturtium plant is easy to grow in your garden and contains a number of minerals and bioactive compounds.
Due to the antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, nasturtium seeds are also known as a healing agent.
They can easily mimic the peppery flavor of capers when used in salads and papers.
Pickles can be a great substitute for capers because of their powerful flavor. However, their flavors may vary due to the amount of salt and vinegar used.
You can choose from different pickles for more complex flavors. Always add very little at a time to get your desired flavor. Pickles are a good choice in pasta and cold dishes.
5. Lemon and Peppercorns
Peppercorns brined with lemon zest can be another good alternative to caper. Both of them are readily available in your kitchen and contain numerous health benefits.
A research published in the journal Nutrients shows that vitamin C can prevent pneumonia.
If you fall short of capers and need something quickly, you can use a mixture of ground black pepper and lemon zest.
6. Mustard Greens
If you’re not a huge pickle fan but still want to enjoy the dishes that call for capers, you can go for mustard greens.
The phenolic compounds found in mustard greens are extremely beneficial to human health.
Mustard greens bring pleasantly sharp flavor when used in cooking. To use them as a replacement for capers, chop them into a salad or sauté them as a side.
7. Pickled Artichoke Hearts
If you’re making fish or meat dishes that require capers, then pickled artichoke hearts can be a good choice for you.
This fiber-rich food is extremely healthy and can promote heart health. A 2013 study confirms that the health-promoting properties of artichokes may prevent cardiovascular disease.
You can pickle some artichoke hearts at home as a quick solution if capers aren’t available.
Substituting an ingredient that has a distinct flavor is quite challenging. You need to use them very carefully so that the original taste and flavor don’t get ruined.
Capers are difficult to replace, but with the closest alternative and a bit of creativity, you can bring almost the similar flavor in your dishes.
Next time you make any savory dishes that require a pungent flavor, try to use the above-mentioned substitutes to create a similar taste and flavor.