Mushrooms can be found in many different recipes, and are used almost worldwide. Mushrooms have also been used for centuries to bulk up a dish, add flavor, and bring much-needed vitamins and nutrients to many meals.
However, you might find that either you’ve run out of mushrooms, you don’t have time to run to the store to pick out some fresh mushrooms, or someone you are preparing the meal for has allergies to mushrooms.
When that happens, you’ll need to look for a suitable substitute for the fungi.
What are the best substitutes for mushrooms? There are a few substitutes for mushrooms, with the best options including zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant, tofu, and more.
Which substitute you use will depend on the meal you are making, what you have available, and which ingredient you would prefer to eat!
So, to help you out when you need a substitute for mushrooms, keep reading to find out which the best options are, and how you can use them as substitutes.
Zucchini is probably the most popular choice as a substitute for mushrooms in many recipes. It is easily accessible to most and can be found almost all year round, even though it is mostly eaten as a summer vegetable.
Zucchini is part of the squash family and has a soft, almost sweet flesh that goes well in many different meals, from stews to pasta and even roasts.
When substituting zucchinis for mushrooms, it is a great option for when you are making pasta. Zucchinis are great in pasta as it is, which is why it is a great starting point as a substitute for mushrooms.
Like mushrooms, zucchinis are soft and tender, and while it does not have that nutty flavor that mushrooms can sometimes have, it is on the sweeter side and does have a bit of an earthy note to it.
When substituting zucchinis for mushrooms in pasta or other meal, make sure to cook the zucchini much the same as you would the mushrooms, maybe just leaving them to fry a tiny bit longer.
Eggplant is a vegetable that people either love or refuse to eat, but it is a vegetable that works very well as a substitute for mushrooms.
It is easy to pick an eggplant out, with the deep, vibrant purple peel standing out among other vegetables.
The flesh of an eggplant is soft and tender, with a very sweet taste. In texture and appearance, they are quite close to mushrooms.
When cooking with eggplants, it is worth noting that the flesh can darken once the vegetable has been chopped or cut, so you should steep it in water to prevent this from happening.
To replace mushrooms with eggplant, you can slice or chop the eggplant similar to how you would have done with the mushrooms, and cook it similar to how you would cook mushrooms too.
Just be aware that eggplant can overcook easily and become soggy, so do not leave it on the heat for too long.
3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes might not seem like an obvious choice for a mushroom substitute, but it works out really well in dishes such as pasta or pizza.
Sun-dried tomatoes usually come preserved in olive oil and other herbs to give them a punch of flavor, which is considerably stronger than the flavor that mushrooms give.
However, when using sun-dried tomatoes in place of mushrooms, you should slice them up thin to spread the flavor out.
Sun-dried tomatoes can be sliced up thin and added to pasta where they will offer a similar texture to the mushrooms and will add some flavor too.
For a pizza, it is a good idea to sprinkle chopped sun-dried tomato over the other toppings, to add texture, bulk, and once again, flavor.
If you do not want to use sun-dried tomatoes, you could instead use fresh tomatoes. You can simply chop up fresh tomatoes and add them into a recipe where you would have used mushrooms.
The tomatoes cook to a similar soft texture to mushrooms and impart a fresh flavor to a dish.
Tomatoes are also very easy to come by and are usually affordable too.
4. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas, are another great choice as a substitute for mushrooms in many different recipes.
There are two different varieties of garbanzo beans, one being creamy, light in color, and bigger in size, and the other being darker and smaller.
Either is fine to use as a substitute for mushrooms in different recipes, whether the recipe is hot or cold.
There is quite a bit of versatility available when using garbanzo beans as you can choose to use them straight out of the can, top them onto salads, or cook them along with other ingredients to make a hot meal.
You can also choose to use dried garbanzo beans, which will need to be cooked or boiled for a longer period in order to soften. However, this is a good option if you are using them in a stew or soup that is left to cook for a long time.
Garbanzo beans bring a softer texture to a dish, along with their nutty, earthy flavor, which is quite similar to what mushrooms will bring to a dish.
The great bit is that you can keep tinned garbanzo beans in the pantry for ages, so you always have some on hand!
Tofu is a wonderfully versatile ingredient to use in many different meals and recipes and is a popular substitute for meat and other hearty vegetables.
Tofu is made from soy milk and comes in a cube or rectangle, which can be cubed and added to a recipe.
It is white in color and has a fairly mild taste, which is why it makes for a good substitute for mushrooms, as the flavor is not overwhelming and will not overpower other ingredients or change the recipe too much.
It is also a great option for vegetarians as it is high in protein, so the nutritional value is beneficial to add to different meals and recipes.
As it is very flexible, tofu can be used in just about any dish that mushrooms can. It can be sliced or chopped up similar to mushrooms before being added to a meal and cooked along with other ingredients.
It is a go-to substitute for many different ingredients, but it does work especially well as a substitute for mushrooms, and will add more protein and texture to your meal when mushrooms aren’t an option!
Potatoes are used around the world and are affordable and easy to find. They are a common ingredient in many households and this makes them a good substitute for mushrooms.
Russet potatoes, a particular variety of potatoes, differ from other varieties as they are considerably drier, but this only means that they are able to absorb a lot of liquids when they are cooking.
This means it is a good idea to use them in stews and for roasts when you do not want to use mushrooms.
When using potatoes in place of mushrooms for soups or salad, look for potatoes that hold up well when they are fried or baked.
To use potatoes in place of mushrooms in a recipe, make sure to peel the potatoes and cut out any lumps or eyes.
Chop the potato up into small cubes, or slice them into thin slices, and cook them for longer than you would have cooked mushrooms. The soft texture helps to replace the soft texture of the mushrooms and bulks up a dish well.
Use potatoes to replace mushrooms in stews, soups, and even salads, but avoid using them in pasta and as a topping on pizza.
Onions are another popular ingredient used in so many dishes worldwide and are a staple in so many homes and kitchens.
There are quite a few different types of onions to choose from, such as red onions which are sweeter and which are great to use as a topping for different meals.
Yellow onions are very fragrant and are not as sweet as red onions, while still holding some sweetness.
Whether you sauté, fry, bake, or stew onions, they work well in a wide range of meals and recipes and work well as a substitute in different meals.
Onions and mushrooms do not share too similar of a taste but they do work as a substitute if you do not have access to other options.
When fried or sautéed, they can have a very similar color to mushrooms, which is important when picking out a substitute.
If the recipe already uses onions and you need a substitute for mushrooms, you could add in a few thicker sliced onions to replace the mushrooms so that it does not feel as though you are missing out on any ingredients in the dish.
Tempeh is a soy food that is rich in protein. It has a firm texture and a slightly nutty flavor. You do get tempeh made from different legumes, but the most common type is made from soybeans.
The legumes used to make tempeh, and how it is fermented, does affect the resulting flavor.
Being so nutritious, even more so than tofu, tempeh is a great substitute for mushrooms. It can be sliced, cubed, or chopped however you would have prepared the mushroom, and cooked much the same.
9. Yellow Squash
Yellow squash has a beautiful golden color on the outside and a light yellow, thick flesh on the inside.
The texture of yellow squash is slightly different from mushrooms, but the bright flavor it brings to a dish makes it a great substitute option.
Consider using yellow squash as a mushroom substitute for meals such as soups, stews, rice, or risotto.
The flavor goes well with many different ingredients, and it cooks down to a soft texture, so while it might be quite different from mushrooms, they do share these similar properties.
A great bonus is that yellow squash is high in vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins B, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A, including beta-carotene, and fiber to help with digestion, so you can never go wrong using it in a dish!
To use it as a substitute for mushrooms, chop it up small and make sure it is left to cook for long enough so it is not still hard when served.
There is not much that replaces the flavor of mushrooms exactly. Mushrooms have a mild, nutty, and earthy flavor. It is difficult finding another recipe or ingredient that might bring the same flavor to a dish.
For some people, there really is no ingredient that replaces the flavor of mushrooms, so they choose to just leave the mushrooms out altogether.
However, ingredients such as chickpeas, eggplant, zucchini, and tofu can give a similar flavor to mushrooms. These will also have a similar texture to mushrooms as well, which is also important in a dish.
Alternatively, if you do not want to add in something as substantial as these, you could choose to use smoked salt or even vegetable stock.
These will help to add a dimension of flavor that might be missing without mushrooms and can bring about a good flavor to the dish without adding in any new textures.
Which Is The Best Mushroom Substitute?
The best substitute for mushrooms is certainly zucchini. Zucchini has an earthy-sweet flavor, similar to mushrooms, and offers up a similar soft and tender texture that mushrooms would have.
Zucchini can also be chopped or sliced similar to mushrooms and does not add too much of a different flavor to dishes, which could completely change the recipe.
You will also get some great nutritional benefits from using zucchini in a recipe, with it containing great nutrients and vitamins.
The taste, texture, and preparation of zucchini are as similar to mushrooms as you can get, so it is definitely a vegetable you should consider using next time you are making a recipe that calls for mushrooms!
Now that we’ve gone over some of the best substitutes for mushrooms, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
What mushroom can I use in place of shitake mushrooms?
If you cannot find shitake mushrooms to use in a recipe that calls for them, you could choose to use Portobello mushrooms or oyster mushrooms.
While these are not exactly the same, they can offer a similar taste and texture that can work as a good substitute.
There is also the option to use dried shitake mushrooms, which can be found online if you cannot find fresh shitake mushrooms at your local store.
What can I use as a substitute for mushrooms in coq au vin?
To make coq au vin without mushrooms, and for it to not seem like there is an ingredient missing, you could add in more leeks to the recipe.
While leeks are not the ideal substitute for mushrooms, they work well in coq au vin as they will not add a different flavor or texture to the dish, as they are already found in the dish.
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