Mushrooms have been a staple in various national cuisines for time immemorial. They usually have a fleshy texture and an earthy taste that many people love, a trait similarly hated by some.
But like I said, some people do not love it because of the taste or because they have mushroom allergies. Luckily there are many alternatives you can use and here are some of them.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Chickpeas(Garbanzo Beans)
- Onions or Caramelized Onions
- Russet Potatoes
If you are still unable to find any suitable substitutes from the list above, fret not! We have a comprehensive list below.
But first, let us understand a bit more about the history of this common ingredient.
23 Best Substitute For Mushroom
A few thousand years ago, the Egyptians believed that mushrooms were plants of immortality and the Pharaohs decreed that only they should only eat mushrooms. The vikings thought that mushrooms were the food of the gods.
Mushrooms are probably first cultivated in China and Japan as early as 600 CE
Mushrooms are good sources of multiple nutrients found in vegetables and other produce. That is why many people would opt to use them in their dishes.
In terms of taste and texture, some of the best substitutes include tofu and tempeh.
Without further ado, here are the best substitutes for mushrooms in different circumstances:
If you want to replicate the texture of your missing fungus, try using tofu instead. As one of the most used alternatives, tofu goes well to replace mushrooms in dishes like stir-fried vegetables and steaks.
If you want to replicate the taste of mushroom, you may season your tofu as it absorbs the taste of the dish it’s in, especially if you had pressed it before doing so.
This sub usually does not goes well with dishes that are cooked longer. If possible, try to use firmer ones as they retain their shapes better when used as an alternative.
In representations of being the perfect alternative, tempeh runs as the champ with their similarity to mushrooms in terms of texture and taste.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans like tofu. But unlike the latter, the texture of tempeh is much firmer and can be retained longer. The taste of tempeh is also earthy and nutty: That flavor closely resembles the taste of mushroom.
With all those similarities, tempeh can swap for mushrooms in almost all dishes that require them. If you are looking to retain the flavor of tempeh, add it a bit later in your dish.
Zucchini may not look like it, but this veggie from the squash family can be an excellent swap for mushrooms. It has an earthy tone similar to mushrooms, and its texture when cooked mimics the softness of your missing fungus.
This veggie with the alias of summer squash can grow up to one meter long. Despite that, people prefer to harvest it while it is still small.
Zucchini works well as a mushroom alternative in pasta dishes and stir-fries, but not in baked dishes like casseroles. To better mimic mushrooms, grate zucchini finely. You can also slice them thinly before adding them to your food.
Remember, zucchini contains more moisture than your missing fungus. Reduce other water content when you use this veggie as a substitute.
Eggplants are common vegetables found in the fresh veggie sections of your local supermarket.
As unlikely as it looks, eggplant does work as an excellent mushroom substitute due to its soft and fleshy texture. In terms of taste, eggplant is a bit earthy but leans much closer to sweet taste.
To use this veggie as an alternative, cut it as you would a mushroom. You can also cut its skin to produce more similarity to your missing ingredient.
Remember, however, that eggplant can go soggy if cooked longer than it’s supposed to. It also has more excess moisture, so reduce other liquid sources accordingly.
If you want to avoid a soggy eggplant, visit Kitchn and see how it’s done!
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Do you hate the taste of mushrooms but are fascinated by their texture? If that’s the case, you may want to try using sun-dried tomatoes as a replacement instead!
This alternative is favored by people who hate the taste of mushrooms. Although it gains some earthy tone due to the process it has undergone, it retains its bold tomato flavor. And that flavor is perfect for dishes like pasta and pizzas.
Sun-dried tomatoes usually come preserved in olive oil or different herbs. If you want to copy the texture of mushrooms perfectly, opt to choose those sun-dried tomatoes that are not preserved in oil.
Chickpeas are one of the trendiest ingredients lately due to their nutritional value. Although its texture does not replicate mushrooms in any way, its bland taste and earthy flavor closely mimic mushrooms.
Chickpeas come in two-size varieties, and the smaller ones pack more nutrition than the larger ones. However, it does not mean that you have to use smaller chickpeas all the time, as both varieties have their respective uses.
You can find this alternative as either dried or canned. Dried chickpeas are innately rare, but their canned counterpart is easier to find.
If you want to use the dried variety, you will have to cook it separately as it will get cooked much longer than your dishes.
Onions or Caramelized Onions
In terms of taste, onion is a bit off the mark. Its texture, similarly, does not have a striking semblance to that of mushrooms. But despite those, onion’s versatility makes it a viable replacement for mushrooms in some dishes!
Furthermore, you can caramelize onions to match the color and earthy flavor of mushrooms.
Onions’ versatility makes them a great addition to almost all recipes. If you have no mushrooms, you can add them to stews, soups, meat dishes, salads, sauces, and more!
Although sweeter in flavor, squash resembles mushrooms in texture and earthy taste. Squash is also great at taking the flavor of the dishes it’s in.
The best variety of squash to use as a substitute is the yellow squash. It has multiple health benefits, which is what you are looking for in a mushroom.
This sub produces a texture that is quite different from that of mushrooms. However, it is still a viable replacement for mushrooms in dishes like risotto.
If you opt to use this alternative, make sure to cook it long enough until it is soft enough to eat.
Russet potatoes are an excellent replacement for mushrooms in dishes that need more volume. Although it does not have that rubbery texture of mushrooms, Unpeeled potatoes create an earthy taste that is close to it.
Potatoes are also absorbent in flavor, which is similar to mushrooms.
If you decide to use this as a replacement, use a lower ratio of potato as its starchiness will make your food heartier. Also, avoid using potatoes as a replacement in soup as they would easily get soggy in those dishes.
Brown rice is a widely accessible alternative for mushrooms. You can find it worldwide, so it won’t be hard to spot it in your local supermarket.
Similar to mushrooms, brown rice can add a certain heartiness and savor to your dish. If you require shredded mushroom in your dish but can’t find some, try brown rice instead!
If you want to further the savory taste of your dish, then add some seasonings like soy sauce.
Lentils are easier to substitute for mushrooms compared to garbanzo beans in various ways. It adds volume to your dishes and makes them bulkier.
Lentil’s flavor is lacking in earthiness. But if you are looking for the texture mushrooms provide, this sub might work well with you. You can add other flavorings to enhance the umami of your dish along with lentils.
If you decide to use this, remember to add it sparingly.
If you are looking for a substitute for mushrooms in your pizza and pasta dishes, you may want to try artichoke hearts.
This replacement is a canned good, that is either packed in water or marinade.
Use the former if you want to put it on pizza, as it would perfectly mimic the mild, earthy taste of mushrooms, as well as its rubbery texture.
On the other hand, if you want to use it on pasta dishes, use canned artichoke hearts seasoned with vinegar
Walnuts or Pecans
If you plan to use mushrooms in sauces, you may want to swap with nuts like walnuts or pecans instead.
To do that, submerge your nuts in water overnight.
When you are nearly done cooking your sauce, sneak some and see the result!
If you find yourself in a pinch, you may want to experiment with tahini and use it to replace mushrooms.
This substitute can enhance the texture of your dish, but be careful not to add too much as tahini has a very distinct flavor, sometimes even bitter.
Use this sparingly and see if it matches your preferences.
Dried mushrooms are still mushrooms. Although they are already dehydrated, you can rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, you cannot use dried mushrooms in all dishes that require fresh varieties as the dried ones have a rather chewy texture.
You can use this alternative on dishes that do not rely on the texture of mushrooms.
Kalamata olives are an excellent replacement for mushrooms in your pasta and pizzas.
They have that savory and earthy flavor that you are looking for from mushrooms. Their texture mimics mushrooms as well.
Olives are naturally salty. As such, make sure to use them sparingly.
Leeks are onions’ relatives and can be used in place of mushrooms in a myriad of cuisines. They have a slightly earthy flavor and are sweeter than mushrooms.
Leeks are delicious with chicken marsala, soups & stews, pasta, and even pizza!
Cilantro has remained a popular addition to meat, poultry, and fish dishes. Its distinct flavor is known to enchant the tongue, as it improves a wide range of foods.
It also functions well as mushroom alternative as it is both easy to prepare and easy to consume.
Make sure to wash your cilantro completely and remove the discolored leaves as well
The taste of mushrooms does not belong in the four primary tastes, namely, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Instead, it has a flavor known as “umami.”
According to The Seattle Times, dried mushrooms like shitakes are full of umami flavor.
With that said, umami seasoning is the best choice to perfectly mimic mushrooms’ taste.
Mushrooms aren’t the only ones with an earthy, savory umami flavor profile.
This flavor is also found in slow-cooked meat. As a result, beef broth is an excellent replacement when you want a savory flavor without the mushroom taste.
Use beef broth in soups, sauces, or as a texture and flavor enhancer for tofu or zucchini replacements.
Miso paste is a soybean-based paste that is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Miso paste has a distinctive flavor that distinguishes it from other seasonings (like umami).
If you’re looking to try out new flavors in your soups or sauces, miso paste is an excellent substitute for mushrooms.