You clicked on the article for best mushroom substitutes because you might have suffered from running out of mushrooms while making a pizza (the sheer heartbreak). You talk about soul food; I say mushroom is the soul of food (Yeah, I am a little obsessed with the fun-gi).
That is why I’ve made a list of the best mushroom substitutes. Stop moping and get cooking! Wondering which are the substitutes for mushrooms? Some of the best mushroom substitutes that you can use are tofu, eggplant, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and chickpeas.
Mushrooms are very resourceful with a fleshy texture and are used in various cuisines. They have a unique taste and are also highly nutritious and healthy. Be it any dish, the inclusion of mushrooms will knock it out of the park!
Running out of mushrooms in the pantry is nothing less than an emergency, so TheFoodXP brigade is here. The solution to all your mush-y problems (Last dad joke, I promise) is here in this article. I have made a list of substitutes for mushrooms to use to your benefit.
Mushrooms In The Culinary World
Mushrooms are those edible, flavorful bunch of roundheads that are neither plants nor animals. They are a group of fungi, one of the largest life forms on earth. These make blue cheese blue!
You don’t have just one type of mushroom to satisfy your palate. There are various types of mushrooms that are uniquely flavorsome. Button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms are the most prominently used varieties of mushrooms.
But if you think you can eat all of the mushrooms you see, you might be in trouble! Not all mushrooms are friendly and enjoyable. Some of them may look like edible mushrooms but are, in fact, quite poisonous and dangerous!
Edible mushrooms are a treat to your taste buds, without a doubt. These have an earthy, woody flavor with overtones of umami, the fifth basic flavor. Mushrooms have a firm, crunchy texture that softens when cooked.
Uses of Mushrooms
Mushrooms in the culinary world can be used in myriad ways. They can be fried, roasted, sauteed, and used in pizzas, sauces, soups, used as toppings as well as meat substitutes.
Some tasty mushroom recipes include grilled garlic butter mushrooms, fried mushrooms, mushroom teriyaki, stuffed Portobello mushrooms, wild mushroom pasta, mushroom risotto, and mushroom pot pie.
Mushrooms On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Mushrooms render a distinctive umami flavor to your dishes without adding much fat or calories. These are powerful sources of antioxidants that can potentially reduce the risk of cancer. These are also quite low when it comes to sodium content.
Mushrooms are low-calorie sources of fiber, proteins, and minerals. They are rich in Vitamin D and help in reducing cholesterol levels. They help in the growth of gut-friendly bacteria and boost the immune system as well.
Why Should We Substitute Mushrooms?
Ever thought you’d be this curious to know about the substitutes of fungi? That too for eating?! I know, it’s wild. But mushrooms have this unique meaty taste and texture; you seriously can’t get enough of them.
Mushrooms can be consumed in almost every way possible, raw, cooked, dried, etc. They provide the dish with an irresistible umami flavor and are easy to cook. Their earthy texture is one of the major reasons chefs love to cook with them. From appetizers to the main course, they can be included in any meal course.
Just going to quote my boy Thomas Carlyle real quick: “Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art is a mushroom.” In simpler words, mushrooms always understand the assignment. Use them in soups, pizzas, etc., and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Along with being one of the most delicious veggies ever, mushrooms are a great source of nutrition. They provide a lot of health benefits and are rich in protein. They are also rich in antioxidants like selenium which aren’t easily available. Mushrooms can lift your mood and are good for your mental health. Leaving no room for further delay, let’s get right onto knowing the best substitutes for mushrooms.
18 Best Substitutes For Mushrooms
Now that you know everything you need to know about mushrooms let us discuss the best substitutes for mushrooms. Here is the curated list of the eighteen best mushroom substitutes.
Fact: Tofu is made out of condensed soy milk. It also goes by the name ‘bean curd’ and is vegan friendly. You can say that tofu is one of the best substitutes for mushrooms as they are similar in texture. It is easy to cook, just like mushrooms, and has a mild flavor.
Tofu will suit you the best while looking for substitutes for mushrooms if you’re not allergic to soy. It has sponge-like abilities and can soak in flavors well. They work well in stir-fries, quiches, etc.
Eggplants are fleshy and absorbent. When cooked, they develop a texture that is really close to that of mushrooms. Thus, they are a good mushroom substitute. They have a mild yet sweet taste and are very healthy.
While substituting eggplant for mushrooms, be careful not to overcook it. Overcooking mushrooms will make them all mushy and soggy and would not do your recipe any favors. Eggplant can be baked, grilled, fried, etc. You ask for it, and eggplant will give it to you.
Zucchini is also a befitting substitute for mushrooms. It’s absorbent and takes up all the flavor when cooked. When cooked, zucchini develops a similar texture and taste to our favorite fungi; mushrooms. Zucchini is fun to play with as it allows you to experiment. Boil it, grill it, stuff it, barbecue it, fry it! The possibilities are endless! It is also rich in provitamin A, potassium, etc.
4. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
As is evident in the name, sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been dried in the sun to get rid of their moisture content. They are usually included in stews and soups. They might not bear a great resemblance to mushrooms, but they come close in texture.
Sun-dried tomatoes would work great as a substitution for mushrooms if you want the texture and not the flavor. They can easily substitute mushrooms as toppings on a pizza, soups, etc.
Tempeh is made out of soybeans that have undergone fermentation. It is a bit more tightly bound or firmer than tofu. It tastes similar to mushrooms and has a bit of a thick texture. Tempeh keeps your heart healthy and maintains blood pressure levels in your body. When used as a substitution for mushrooms, Tempeh fits well in stir-fries. You can use it in soups or some sauces.
6. Artichoke Hearts
The heart of the artichoke is delicious and is also good at mimicking the flavor and texture of mushrooms. It has a subtle flavor and can be easily manipulated in a dish.
Artichoke hearts are also rich in vitamins and fiber. These taste great in stir-fries and stew. Artichoke heart has the same earthy texture as a mushroom and incorporates the flavor of other ingredients used pretty well.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a variety of legumes. They have an earthy and natural flavor. They are loaded with several nutrients, especially proteins which boost the health of the heart and bones. They also help combat diabetes and anemia.
Chickpeas add a certain depth to the dish, and although they’re not exactly similar in taste to mushrooms, they provide a mushroomy texture. They are convenient to include in recipes and work well in soups, stew, etc.
8. Caramelized Onion
Onions come in different flavors. They have sweet, sour, tangy, astringent, and umami flavors, depending on the type and cooking methods. They can be fried, baked, sauteed, and roasted based on the recipe and are such significant, versatile ingredients.
Onions and mushrooms do not share any similar characteristics. But sautéed or fried onions can work as good substitutes for mushrooms due to the brown color of onion when fried.
Squash refers to a family of different types of plants. Spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, delicata squash, and sweet dumpling squash are some of the popular types of squashes.
These have a mild, nutty flavor and a smooth texture. Squashes are sweeter than mushrooms in flavor. That said, butternut squash or pumpkin can work as good alternatives for mushrooms due to the earthy flavor.
Olives are oval-shaped fruits with a hard stone. These contain powerful antioxidants and are low in calories. These are popular for protecting the heart and are called one of nature’s smart drugs.
Olives have a mild, salty flavor and a firm texture. Kalamata olives are a considerable mushroom substitute due to their salty, earthy flavor and texture, similar to mushrooms.
Lentils belonging to the legume family are also called pulses. They have potential health benefits and are a part of a healthy diet. They are mostly compared to beans and chickpeas.
When cooked, lentils have an earthy, nutty flavor and a firm but mushy texture. Brown and green lentils have an earthy flavor and thus can be used instead of mushrooms in recipes. They can also retain their texture when cooked.
Leeks come from the same family as that onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions. They are bulbous vegetables with a white base and a bundle of green, leafy sheaths. They have a sweet flavor similar to onions and a soft texture.
Leeks can replace mushrooms in many recipes due to the mild, sweet, and earthy flavor. In soups, sauces, stews, and even pizzas, they can be used instead of mushrooms.
A type of root vegetable, the potato is a thick, starchy tuber. This makes it a starchy vegetable with a sweet, mild taste. They have a creamy texture with soft, delicate skin. They can be mashed, boiled, steamed, or fried.
Potatoes are versatile substitutes for mushrooms, considering the fact they easily absorb the flavor of the seasonings used, just like mushrooms. Potatoes can replace mushrooms in soups, stews, and baked and fried dishes.
Carrots are incredibly healthy ingredients with a sweet flavor and a crunchy texture. Don’t be amazed when I tell you that there are around 45 types of carrots! Some are Yellowstone carrots, Danvers carrots, solar yellow carrots, and cosmic purple carrots.
Carrots and mushrooms are nowhere similar to each other regarding flavor or texture. But, carrots can offer a mild, sweet flavor and a nice orange color to your dishes and work as mushroom substitutes in soups, stews, and stir-fries.
Cilantro is Spanish for coriander leaves. You need no introduction to these amazing, flavor-enhancing agents. Cilantro leaves have an intense, citrusy flavor and are usually added just before the end of the cooking process. It is because their flavor will be lost if added before.
So, how can a bunch of leaves work as a mushroom substitute? Cilantro has a unique flavor that enhances your dishes’ overall flavor and aroma. Fresh cilantro leaves can substitute for mushrooms due to the mild flavor and for the mild flavor.
16. Umami Seasoning
If you are a person looking forward to enjoying the taste of mushrooms without actually using them, umami seasoning is the perfect option for you. Umami seasoning comprises porcini powder, white mushroom powder, onion powder, chili flakes, mustard powder, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Umami seasoning gives you that umami flavor imitating the flavor of mushrooms and thus works as a perfect mushroom substitute, especially in terms of flavor. Umami seasoning is a great alternative if you are looking to replace porcini or shiitake mushrooms.
17. Beef Broth
Beef broth is obtained by simmering beef in liquid with added vegetables, herbs, and spices. It has a deep beef flavor and a thick texture. Beef broth is appropriately seasoned and is often used as a flavor enhancer.
Beef broth can be used as an alternative for mushrooms, considering the earthy, savory, and umami flavor. But it may not give you the mushroom flavor since the beefy flavor will be more prominent.
18. Tofu with Soy Sauce
You already know by now how tofu works as the best mushroom substitute. Care for a closer flavor to mushroom? Simply add a pinch of soy sauce! Tofu has a mild, sweet taste and can absorb the flavors of whatever it is seasoned with.
Soy sauce has a salty, sweet umami flavor making it one of the finest condiments with a balanced flavor profile. Mixing tofu with soy sauce is a good alternative for mushrooms in stir-fries and other recipes.
Short Recap For Mushroom Substitutes
That must have been an exhaustive read on the best mushroom substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.
Vegetable-based Substitutes: The best mushroom substitutes which are vegetables are eggplant, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onion, leeks, potatoes, carrots, and cilantro.
Flavor: The best mushroom substitutes in terms of flavor are tofu with soy sauce, eggplant, zucchini, umami seasoning, and Tempeh.
Texture: The best mushroom substitutes in terms of texture are tofu, Tempeh, eggplant, Tempeh, artichoke hearts, caramelized onion, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Seasoning-based Substitutes: Umami seasoning, which is a seasoning agent, is the best mushroom substitute.
Mushrooms are one of a kind and can do wonders for a dish. Substituting them with any of the above substitutes might not provide the exact flavor and texture. But it would make the dish feel less incomplete without mushrooms. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and grab that pack of tofu!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a good mushroom substitute in stroganoff?
Butternut squash and pumpkin are good mushroom substitutes in stroganoff.
What is a substitute for mushrooms in Ramen?
Tofu or tempeh are considerable substitutes for mushrooms in Ramen.
What can you substitute for mushrooms in coq au vin?
Sliced fennel or sliced celery can be used to substitute for mushrooms in coq au vin.
What can I use to replace portobello mushrooms?
Matsutake mushrooms or cremini mushrooms can be used to replace portobello mushrooms.
Can I use cream of chicken instead of mushroom?
Cream of chicken soup can be used instead of mushroom if you don’t like using mushrooms.