Mushrooms have been such a familiar ingredient that finding their substitutes can be quite a challenge. That’s because everyone knows its flavor and texture inside out, and they’ll realize right away with even the slightest difference.
So, what should you pick? Fortunately, in this article, you’ll find the top 13 superior options to replace any kind of mushrooms you want. These choices have gone through tons of trials, and I promise they won’t fail you in the slightest.
Let’s find out all about them now!
Table of Contents
You May Not Know Everything About Mushrooms
Do you know there are more than 14,000 species of mushrooms in the world? However, keep in mind that most of them are poisonous and inedible.
The mushrooms now you find in the market have been chosen carefully to avoid any incidents. Button, portobello, and cremini mushrooms are three of the most well-received ones.
Mushrooms show up in almost all cuisines, from Eastern to Western ones. Its earthy and umami flavor can easily elevate your dish’s taste. Not to mention, the meaty, spongy texture makes every bite exciting. (1)
Do you know how to pick the most suitable mushrooms for your recipes?
Surprising Reasons To Switch Out Mushrooms
You may think the idea of substituting mushrooms is funny. Mushrooms are not so scarce, and they don’t cost too much. So, why look for their substitutes? Well, here are some reasons:
- Allergy: Several people are allergic to mushrooms, so finding some substitutes for this vegetable is vital. (2)
- Not like the texture/taste: Although mushrooms are a favored ingredient, not everyone likes them. Some detest their texture, while others can’t handle their taste.
Now, you can see why you should look for a mushroom substitute. However, finding one isn’t as simple as it seems since the texture and flavor of mushrooms are pretty unique. So, let’s go to the next part to see which replacements are waiting for you.
13 Choices That Are Up To Par With Mushrooms
You won’t even need mushrooms in your kitchen anymore with these alternatives below. I’ll show you a brief introduction about each option with this table before getting to the details.
|Mushroom Substitutes||Best Use For|
|Tofu||Soups, sauces, stews, and stir-fried dishes|
|Zucchini||Soups, porridges, risottos, and pasta|
|Sun-Dried Tomatoes||Soups, sauces, stews, and toppings|
|Eggplant||Any main dishes|
|Tempeh||Stews, stir-fried dishes, casseroles, tacos, and sandwiches|
|Russet Potatoes||Baked and fried dishes|
|Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)||Soups, stews, salads, and sandwiches|
|Tahini||Soups, sauces, dips, spreads, and fillings|
|Onions||Sauteed, baked, fried dishes, and toppings|
|Brown Rice||Soups and stews|
|Dried Mushrooms||Soups, sauces, casseroles|
|Miso Paste||Soups and stews|
|Soy Sauce||Stews, salads, and meat dishes|
Yes, you don’t see it wrong! One of the top choices in this list is tofu. This ingredient has substituted various meat and seafood in vegan recipes. So, obviously, it can replace mushrooms just fine, especially cremini ones since they have the same texture.
Also, since tofu easily absorbs flavor from other ingredients, you can alter its taste by cooking it with seasonings and spices, like mixing it with soy sauce.
Just make sure you draw all the water out from your tofu before using it. And tofu should be the last ingredient you add when cooking because it can fall apart within a short time.
However, since the main component of tofu is soybean, if you are allergic to soy, you should check other options besides this.
With this instruction, you’ll have the freshest batch of tofu all the time.
If you’re preparing a summer pasta and realize you’ve run out of mushrooms, well, it’s time to pull out some zucchinis instead. Some may feel surprised at this choice, but small zucchini tastes sweet with an earthy note, just like mushrooms.
As for the appearance, chop your zucchini into small pieces and mix them with other ingredients. No one will realize there are no mushrooms in your dish.
However, don’t cook zucchini for too long. The longer you cook it, the softer zucchini becomes, making it unsuited to replace mushrooms anymore. Also, you can sprinkle some salt over zucchini in advance to remove the excess moisture.
3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are a perfect option for people who don’t like mushrooms’ flavor but still want some bites in their dish. Not to mention, the vivid red color of these tomatoes can make your meal much more appetizing.
Depending on what dishes you intend to add, you can either slice or chop these tomatoes into pieces. Remember that sun-dried tomatoes are already seasoned with dried herbs, so you’d better alter the spices in your recipes accordingly.
Sun-dried tomatoes have two different styles: canned or dried versions. The first choice is softer with more tomato flavor, whereas the latter needs to be soaked in water overnight for a simpler preparation.
Now, you can make sun-dried tomatoes right in your kitchen!
Here is another choice to replicate the mushrooms’ texture for your meal. Eggplant’s flesh is somewhat stringy, reminding me of the original. Not to mention, its flesh tastes a bit sweet, just like mushrooms, too.
However, preparing eggplant might require lots of effort. Since this plant quickly turns black after peeling, you need to soak it into water immediately.
Also, sometimes eggplant will release a slight bitterness to your dish. To prevent that, sprinkle your slices with some salt for an hour. Eggplant gets overcooked quickly, and it’ll turn into a soggy mess even if you just glance elsewhere for a second.
For those who don’t know about tempeh, you can deem it a cousin of tofu. While tofu uses only a part of soybean, tempeh contains 100% fermented soybeans. So, this is a healthier option than tofu.
Moreover, tempeh is firmer, thus more suitable to replace mushrooms in recipes that require a long cooking time. And though its flavor is somewhat different, tempeh still brings an earthy flavor like mushrooms. The thinner you slice it, the tastier the result.
It just has one minor drawback: This option includes mold, so if you have a mold allergy, you can’t try tempeh.
Don’t miss out on these mouthwatering vegan recipes with tempeh!
6. Russet Potatoes
Potatoes are a familiar dinner ingredient in numerous households. But have you ever imagined swapping mushrooms with them, or Russet ones to be exact? Let me clear your doubts now.
Since Russet potatoes have a high starch content, you should refrain from using them in dishes containing liquid like soups or salads. This kind of potato shines better in baked or fried dishes, such as a casserole.
Even as a mushroom substitute, Russet potatoes don’t demand any further preparation. Just clean and peel their skin like always. The only difference is you need to slice them thinner and smaller, so they look more like mushrooms.
7. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Chickpeas are also a versatile ingredient for you to use in various dishes instead of mushrooms. No matter if it is soups, stews, or salads, chickpeas can blend in perfectly.
You can pick between canned and dried chickpeas. The former is much easier to prepare, suitable for cooking beginners. However, you need to check the packaging and due dates since garbanzo beans can lose their flavor after a long time in the marinating water.
Dried chickpeas won’t cause you this trouble, but it requires more preparation. The first step is washing these beans carefully and removing all the spoiled or discolored ones. Then, cook them in hot water for about four hours. This way, your beans will be soft enough to use.
Here is a visual guide for you to prepare dried chickpeas as efficiently as possible.
This one is not really a superior replacement for mushrooms since tahini’s flavor is pretty unique. However, if you run out of other options, tahini can be your last resort.
However, don’t overuse it, or the difference will be significant. Start with a small amount first. Then you can increase it until it reaches your desired thickness.
Made from sesame seeds, tahini contains lots of magnesium, a helpful chemical to your well-being or your body function in particular. Thanks to this feature, many people prefer it over other options on this list.
Onions have been a part of almost every existing dish and recipe. They are high in vitamins, easy to use, and have a wide range of flavors; no one can question why this ingredient is so well-received.
To replace mushrooms, you should avoid red onions since they are pretty spicy. White ones are more fitting due to their appearance and mild flavor. Browning them can bring out the desired earthiness in mushrooms.
If you crave more umami taste, combine this option with beef broth or horseradish for the best outcome.
10. Brown Rice
You may not believe it, but brown rice does a pretty good job of replicating the earthy flavor of mushrooms. However, since both of these ingredients are different in texture, you should use brown rice in soups, stews, or recipes that require shredded mushrooms.
For a more similar flavor, you can combine brown rice with other flavor enhancers like soy sauce or miso paste.
Also, unlike most options, brown rice needs a longer cooking time, so you should prepare it before using it for your dishes.
11. Dried Mushrooms
This option sounds a bit cheating, but some areas don’t have the privilege of fresh mushrooms. And this dried version is the best way for them to enjoy the mushroom flavor.
Of course, I don’t recommend you use this in recipes highlighting mushrooms’ texture like stir-fries or sandwiches. Soups, stews, or casserole are much better dishes for dried mushrooms. You can also blend them to make burger patties or a dipping sauce.
However, since this is a dried product, the mushroom flavor is condensed and much higher than regular fresh ones. Therefore, only use a smaller amount unless you want your dishes to get drowned in mushroom taste.
12. Miso Paste
Mushrooms often appear in Asian recipes. So, when you want to replace them in these dishes, you should choose some ingredients that Asian people are familiar with. And miso paste is one of those.
People who know about Japanese cuisine won’t feel strange about this flavor enhancer. It’s made from fermented soybeans and often added to soups and stews. You can also see it in other dishes.
While miso paste can’t substitute mushrooms in terms of texture, as for the flavor, you should choose dark red or brown type. It’s because these two have the earthy and umami taste resembling mushrooms the most.
Why not make miso paste yourself so you can have the most suitable flavor?
13. Soy Sauce
Just like miso paste, this option is more about flavor than texture. In fact, people usually combine it with other alternatives above to get their taste closer to mushrooms. But, it can still be a stand-alone choice as well.
Most of you must know about soy sauce’s flavor: sweet, salty, and rich with umami, just like what one expects with a flavorful mushroom dish. However, since it lacks texture, you should only use it to substitute mushrooms in meat dishes, salads, or stews.
There are various kinds on the market, but you should pick ones with the lowest sodium content possible and no gluten for a healthy meal.
I believe learning a bit more about mushrooms and their equivalences will deal no harm to you at all. So, here are some commonly searched questions that you may be interested in.
There Are Still More For You To Find Out
These ten choices above are just the best start for your searching journey. The culinary world is vast, and you may stumble upon an excellent mushroom replacement that I don’t even know.
So, if you come across or already have other options besides this list, please write them down in the comment section. And don’t forget to show this article to anyone who is looking for mushroom substitutes.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Mushroom – Wikipedia.
- Medindia. 2021. Mushroom Allergy – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention.
- Blogs, W. and Risk, D., 2021. Health Benefits of Mushrooms.