If you are looking for suitable substitutions for mushrooms in your cooking then this is the place to be. Mushrooms are such a diverse ingredient that is widely used in cooking, however, they can be wisely substituted with different ingredients when need be. Let’s explore mushroom substitutes in more detail!
If you want to cook amazing dishes for yourself, friends, or family, then having the right ingredients is the start of the journey. Mushrooms are such a well-rounded option to add, and you might find that it is listed as an ingredient for many recipes you come across. They are an excellent source of nutrition and are adaptable ingredients to use. But, if you don’t like them because of the texture or taste, or you just want to seek out alternatives, then you might be wondering what are the best substitutions for mushrooms. Here are the options to consider!
Common Types of Edible Mushrooms
Let’s explore some of the most popular and flavorful edible mushrooms. Each type of mushroom offers its own unique features, taste, and texture.
Portobello mushrooms are a popular choice for their large size and meaty texture. With their earthy flavor and dense chewy texture, they are often used as a vegetarian alternative to meat. When cooked, they have a rich umami flavor that makes them a great addition to dishes like burgers or grilled as a hearty main course.
Shiitake mushrooms have a distinct earthy taste and a meaty texture. They are commonly used in Asian cuisine for their rich, umami flavor. When dried, they can be used to make umami seasoning, adding depth to broths and sauces. Shiitake mushrooms also pair well with broth, enhancing the savory notes of the dish.
Oyster mushrooms have a delicate, mild flavor with a velvety texture. They are known for their subtle earthy taste and are versatile in cooking. Their tender texture makes them suitable for quick stir-fries or sautéing. Oyster mushrooms can absorb flavors well, making them a great addition to umami seasoning in various dishes.
Porcini mushrooms are prized for their strong earthy flavor and meaty texture. They are often used in Italian cuisine for their rich umami taste. When dried, they can be rehydrated to add depth to soups, stews, and risotto. Their robust flavor makes them a popular choice for enhancing the savory notes of dishes.
Enoki mushrooms have a mild, slightly fruity flavor and a crunchy texture. They are often used in salads or as a garnish for their delicate appearance. Their subtle taste makes them a versatile ingredient, adding a touch of earthiness to dishes without overpowering other flavors.
King Oyster Mushrooms
King oyster mushrooms have a firm, meaty texture and a mild, earthy flavor. They are popular in vegetarian cooking for their versatility and ability to absorb flavors. When cooked, they develop a rich, umami taste, making them an excellent choice for enhancing the depth of dishes.
White Button Mushrooms
White button mushrooms have a mild, earthy taste with a tender texture. They are a versatile option for various culinary applications, from sautéing and grilling to use in soups and stews. Their subtle flavor makes them adaptable to different seasoning and cooking methods.
Fresh Mushrooms VS Canned Mushrooms
Fresh mushrooms have a firmer texture and a more pronounced earthy flavor compared to canned mushrooms. Canned mushrooms are softer and may have a slightly different taste due to the canning process. Additionally, fresh mushrooms are more versatile and can be used in a wider range of dishes, while canned mushrooms are convenient but may not be as flavorful.
Delicious Dishes with Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a versatile ingredient that can elevate the flavor of various dishes. From soups to pasta dishes, they add a unique earthy taste and texture. Here are some delicious dishes where mushrooms shine:
Soups: Mushrooms are often used in creamy soups, adding depth and richness to the broth.
Pizza: Sliced mushrooms are a classic pizza topping, bringing a savory flavor and meaty texture to each bite.
Stir-fries: Whether in an Asian stir-fry or a veggie medley, mushrooms add a hearty and satisfying element to the dish.
Stews: Mushrooms are a great addition to stews, contributing a robust flavor and substantial texture to the overall dish.
Burger (veggie burgers): In vegetarian and vegan burgers, mushrooms can provide a meaty texture and umami taste.
Pasta: Mushrooms are often sautéed and added to pasta dishes, bringing a rich and earthy flavor to the sauce.
20 Best Mushroom Substitutes
One of the most popular and widely used options to consider as a substitution for mushrooms is Tofu. For those who are unsure, it is a soybean paste that is condensed and compressed into a block. It is an excellent alternative to consider, partially because of its texture, which is akin to mushrooms. The one thing to remember with tofu is that it has no flavor of its own, so you do need to consider ensuring that the tofu takes on the flavor combinations of your dish with time to absorb them. Or, ensure that you marinate the tofu with some flavors of your choosing before adding it to your dish. It is packed with water, so you will need to absorb the excess and/or press it using a tofu press before adding it to your dish or marinating it!
Lentils are edible pulses or seeds that belong to the legume family. They come in various colors such as brown, green, and red, and are rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. Lentils are a good substitute for mushrooms due to their ability to provide a similar earthy flavor and meaty texture in dishes. When cooked, lentils expand and add bulk to the dish, making them an excellent replacement for mushrooms in recipes such as soups, stews, and other savory dishes.
Seitan, also known as wheat gluten or wheat meat, is a high-protein meat substitute made from gluten, the main protein found in wheat. It is a good substitute for mushrooms due to its meaty texture and ability to absorb flavors, making it suitable for savory dishes where mushrooms are typically used. Seitan can provide a substantial and chewy texture that resembles certain types of mushrooms, making it a popular alternative for adding depth and substance to vegetarian and vegan recipes
Walnuts are edible nuts with a rich flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. They are known for their high content of healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients. When used as a substitute for mushrooms, walnuts can provide a meaty texture and a savory flavor to dishes. Additionally, their versatility allows them to be finely chopped or ground to mimic the texture of minced mushrooms.
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a widely accessible vegetable (that is technically a fruit!) that is an excellent substitute to use for mushrooms. It is an ingredient that could be used for many different dishes and cuisines, and is able to work well with all sorts of flavor combinations. The texture is similar to mushrooms, but it does have its own distinct flavor, so make sure you take that into account when using it as an alternative. It may even add to the depth of flavor in your dish, so it could be a great option to consider.
Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian fermented soy product that offers a nutty flavor and firm, chewy texture. As a rich source of plant-based protein and fiber, tempeh serves as an excellent substitute for mushrooms due to its ability to provide a meaty consistency and absorb flavors when incorporated into dishes. It is commonly used in various culinary applications, such as stir-fries, stews, and sandwiches.
Olives, particularly varieties like kalamata olives, are a noteworthy substitute for mushrooms due to their rich, savory flavor profile and slightly meaty texture. Their briny taste can complement a wide range of dishes in both Mediterranean and global cuisines.
Leeks lack the earthy umami of mushrooms, but they provide a subtle sweetness and a tender texture when cooked. You can use sliced or chopped leeks in recipes such as soups, stews, or sautés, as they offer a gentle onion-like taste without overpowering the dish.
Similar to eggplant, zucchini is another great substitute for mushrooms. Zucchini has a similar texture in its flesh to that of culinary mushrooms, and when cooked, can work well in most dishes that you would normally use mushrooms in. Much like eggplant, zucchini squash also has its own distinct flavor. Zucchini is another vegetable (that is technically a fruit!) that is rather versatile, so it could be chopped or even grated into dishes.
Artichokes are edible flower buds that belong to the thistle family. When sautéed or roasted, artichokes develop a savory depth that complements various recipes, providing a unique taste that sets them apart. Additionally, artichokes are rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, making them a nutritious alternative to mushrooms
Squash can be a good substitute for mushrooms because of its mild, versatile flavor and tender, yet slightly crisp texture. The high water content in squash contributes to a juicy quality when cooked, adding moisture to dishes.
Carrots are root vegetables known for their vibrant orange color and high beta-carotene content. They have a distinct crunch and sweet earthy flavor. When sliced or julienned, carrots can be used in stir-fries, salads, and soups to provide a satisfying texture akin to mushrooms.
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit with a fibrous and meaty texture. When cooked, shredded, or pulled, jackfruit mimics the appearance and mouthfeel of shredded mushrooms, making it a suitable replacement in various dishes. They are a good source of dietary fiber and low in calories.
Cauliflower can resemble the texture of mushrooms when it’s finely chopped or riced. It’s suitable for use in dishes like stir-fries, casseroles, or rice-based recipes. While lacking the distinct umami taste of mushrooms, cauliflower absorbs the flavors of the dish it’s cooked in, making it a flexible ingredient.
Legumes are great alternatives for many different ingredients and chickpeas can work particularly well as a mushroom substitute. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a great source of protein and fiber, are versatile and can be added to many different dishes. They can be served straight out of the can or cooked through. If you are cooking them, then make sure you rinse them thoroughly before adding them to your dish. Chickpeas also have a distinct flavor so you may notice they work well with specific meals, especially sauces and curries.
Unlike mushrooms, bell peppers do not have the same umami depth. But they contribute a distinctive taste, satisfying crunch, and mild sweet flavor that elevates the overall dish.
Russet potatoes are the starchy variety of potatoes known for their brown, netted skin, and fluffy texture when cooked. When diced or sliced, russet potatoes can be used in recipes such as stews, casseroles, or skillet dishes to impart a hearty and filling quality similar to mushrooms. Unlike the umami-rich flavor of mushrooms, russet potatoes have a neutral taste that allows them to absorb the flavors of the dish.
Onions are pungent and flavorful bulbous vegetables. While they may lack the meaty texture of mushrooms, onions contribute a caramelized sweetness when cooked which adds depth to the overall flavor of the dish. Additionally, onions contain high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans. It comes in various types, such as white, red, and brown miso, each offering unique flavors. Miso serves as an excellent substitute for mushrooms, particularly in providing umami richness to dishes. It’s used as a flavor enhancer to add depth and complexity to recipes.
Sun-dried tomatoes, also called dehydrated tomatoes, provide a concentrated tomato flavor with a slightly sweet and tangy note. Their chewy texture adds a satisfying bite to dishes, and they are also a good source of vitamins and antioxidants.
So there you have it, 20 incredible substitutes for mushrooms!