You've probably seen them in your stir-fries, those crunchy little white balls that you didn't really ask for: these are water chestnuts. But what are water chestnuts? Don't worry, we're here to teach you some culinary info.

Wait... They're not Nuts?

Nope, water chestnuts are in fact, not at all in any way related to nuts. They're an aquatic vegetable found in marshy regions of Southeast Asia. Known for their sweet, crisp flavor, they've been cultivated for centuries; ancient herbalists actually believed it could sweeten breath.

So why the Confusion?

Well, they most certainly look like chestnuts: brown papery outside and relatively small. You should look for firm ones at the grocery store with no soft spots. But, they can be rather tricky to find fresh, so canned might be the only option in your area.

Are they Healthy?

Despite the slathering of teriyaki sauce that usually covers them, water chestnuts have zero fat and cholesterol, and are low in sodium. So, how do you use these healthy little guys? Here are some ideas.

Water Chestnut Cake

A popular dish in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year, this Water Chestnut Cake is soft, springy, with just a touch of sweetness. This dish will certainly impress all of your guests. Strut your culinary prowess.

Sautéed with Green Beans

Crisp and crunchy, these Green Beans and Water Chestnuts will give a touch of novelty to any meal. Next time, don't stress over adding variety to your meal—with this, you'll have a healthy, tasty side dish in no time.

Tempeh, Water Chestnut, and Sweet Potato Salad Rolls

Super easy to make, these Salad Rolls can be stored in the fridge for some easy and healthy meal prep. Think burritos minus the carbs—yeah, it really doesn't get any better. Rock and roll loves.

And of course, Bacon-Wrapped

Because everything is better with bacon, right? These Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts are an easy way to introduce a twist to your next get-together. And with only three ingredients and minimal effort, you can't mess it up. 

Dive Right In

As delicious as these recipes are, you don't need a guidebook to utilize these cute little guys. What are water chestnuts? They are whatever you want them to be. Add them to a salad. Eat them out of the can. Live your life, now that you're informed with kitchen-smart ideas.