Dijon mustard is a condiment that packs a real punch. Now you may be thinking, its just a sauce right? Well yes and no. Whilst it can be said to be true that Dijon mustard can take your sandwiches, subs, burgers and grilled meats to a new level on all on its own, it can also be a really handy ingredient to make your dishes sing.
Add it to a cup of yoghurt, with a squeeze of lemon juice (and maybe a touch of salt and pepper), and you’ve got a really solid Dijon mustard dressing. A spoonful added to a gently simmering pan of white wine and cream makes for a really lovely pasta sauce.
Dijon Mustard is one of the oldest sauces in existence, and is literally the food of kings, tracing it’s origins back to medieval times, if it’s still around it’s got to be good? It relies heavily on the melding of a few really good quality ingredients, namely, brown mustard seeds, and an acidic element such as vinegar, along with the addition of salt, water and a few other spices. Dijon mustard has strong, tangy acidic notes and perhaps just a hint of sweetness.
Substitutes For Dijon Mustard
Speaking of substitutes, whilst it is versatile, Dijon mustard may not always be readily available. It can be a bit of a niche product, and whilst it is super tasty, it may not feature as a household staple. However its taste can be replicated (well, nearly) provided you have one or two more common household ingredients. Let’s take a look at some of the best substitutes for Dijon mustard:-
1. Yellow Mustard
OK, it’s not quite the food of kings, but so what? Chances are it is more readily available and likely to be found in most cupboards. Regular yellow mustard features many common ingredients found in Dijon mustard. It has mustard seeds (obviously) and unlike some other mustards it still has a slight acidic kick making it an ideal choice in a pinch.
2. Whole Grain Mustard
Whole grain mustard is in fact not too dissimilar to Dijon and offers a relatively similar taste profile, with mustard seeds and vinegar featuring as its main ingredients. Granted it isn’t quite as smooth as Dijon, but that said it can add a nice bit of ‘pop’ and texture to many dishes (especially mashed potatoes).
3. English mustard
English mustard has a strong flavour, on its own it can be a little bit ‘hot’. But that said from a flavour and texture point of view it shares a great deal in common with Dijon. When used as an ingredient the ‘strength’ tends to become more rounded and softer, however we’d still use it sparingly.
4. Spicy Brown mustard
Chances are you will be familiar with this one. It can go by different names, due to it featuring heavily in delicatessen line-ups worldwide, you may know it simply as ‘deli mustard’. From a taste point of view it is slightly stronger than Dijon mustard, due to it being a bit thicker and using less vinegar. But that said with a few teaspoons of water or Worcestershire sauce added, it makes a great approximation.
No wait, hear us out. Wasabi is very similar taste-wise to English mustard, with an earthy and hot element. Whilst we probably wouldn’t recommend smothering a pastrami sandwich with wasabi, as a great addition to give your dish a ‘kick’, wasabi can make quite the difference. Certainly what goes well with sushi.
On the back of our wasabi recommendation, let us introduce horseradish. Horseradish is made from the root of the horseradish plant. Guess which other plant is found in the same family? That’s right, the mustard plant. It might not be the same colour or texture, however for a tangy and slight warm note, horseradish can fit the bill nicely.
7. Honey mustard
Obviously, honey mustard is going to be a bit sweeter. But that said if you are dealing with a picky crowd (especially smaller children) then this could make a nice alternative. Its also very easy to create at home, equal parts of honey and mustard… simple. It is lovely both as an addition to salad dressings and on a sandwich, especially with stronger or saltier meats.
8. Egg yolks or egg yolk powder
Dijon isn’t just used for flavour, it can be used to add a bit of colour and also acts to thicken salad dressings. If you haven’t got a dollop to hand, a couple of egg yolks or a spoonful of egg yolk powder can give a nice creamy consistency. Obviously the flavour will be mild, but this presents the ideal opportunity to experiment without blowing the dish up with too many flavours. A spoonful of chopped herbs, or perhaps half a clove of mashed garlic can make a dressing really shine.
9. German Mustard
Germany has its own mustards that are nearly as unique as those found in France. Germans devour grilled Bratwurst with mustard by the bucket-load, so they know what they are about when it comes to mustards. They are made in a similar style with similar ingredients. Whilst normally dark brown in colour they can range from tangy and hot, to sweet and mild. German mustard can make the ideal accompaniment for grilled meats.
10. Beer Mustard
Whereas Dijon traditionally uses tangy grape juice as a main ingredient, beer mustard uses… well, beer. It isn’t quite as sharp tasting as Dijon mustard, but the mildness can allow other flavour elements to come to the fore. If you want to try something different on a sandwich, or even create a really unique salad dressing, beer mustard can sometimes provide a really robust alternative.
Going back to the milder side of things, mayonnaise is often the go to sauce for salads and dressings. It is normally made with an acid (either lemon juice or vinegar) but isn’t quite as strong as Dijon, so if you want a softer, less intrusive dressing, perhaps reach for the Mayo.
12. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is dark and acidic, do you know anything else that shares that characteristic (like say… Dijon mustard)? It is laden with flavour including onions, garlic and a spicy sweetness. The good news is that you probably won’t need a lot to get a Dijon-esque effect, a teaspoon liberally added to a tablespoon of yoghurt (or mayonnaise) can work wonders.
13. Lecithin powder
This one is a bit different, and perhaps a bit specialised. That said if you are looking for a vegan friendly thickening agent for a salad dressing or sauce then lecithin powder can work in a pinch. It doesn’t have much of a flavour, so you’ll need to spice it up with other things.
Dijon is of course unique, but if you are not too fussy about being culturally correct then there are plenty of alternatives. It pays to think about what you are trying to achieve in your dish. Is it colour, flavour, or texture? Provided you have one or two of the above suggestions you should be able to achieve something pretty close. Sometimes you may want an alternative to subtly transform a dish, or you just want to try something new. Hopefully the above has given you a few ideas.