Edible mushrooms have been a permanent staple in world-class cuisine for countless years. In fact, these vegetables date back to the early ages and were widely used by tribes for food. With their signature fleshy fungus, mushrooms were and still are synonymous with great taste and essential vitamins and minerals. However, there are popular mushroom substitutes when the price is a paramount issue and concern for culinary connoisseurs.
Substitutes play a pivotal part in the meal preparation and tend to cost lower than the foods they are replacing. While most people want healthy mushrooms as part of a daily diet, not all entrees and dishes tend to work with this healthy vegetable. Similarly, some folks may have food allergies to this item so it’s important to have replacements on the side for consumption.
While the mushroom is used in a variety of foods and dishes, not every substitute will work for a specific meal. This means that the vegetable can only be replaced if the item is suitable for the particular food being cooked. For example, you can easily replace turkey with chicken in rice dishes since both are considered poultry. Let us take a look at some of the most suitable substitutes for mushrooms in recipes and fine dining preparation.
What Are The Best Substitutes For Mushrooms
Zucchini is an ideal substitute for mushrooms and comes from the squashes family. Primarily eaten as a summer vegetable, its soft flesh, and sweet flavor is perfect for pasta dishes. This vegetable can even grow to one meter on average and is very versatile in cooking savory meals. According to leading chefs, it is best to chop, cut, or slice zucchini into small pieces for easy consumption and digestion.
We even covered this previously, in what to serve with tacos and zucchini was definitely one of our stand out choices. Not only is it healthy and nutritious but it’s really tasty too.
Read More: Simple Zucchini Recipes
2. Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes were very popular back in the early 1990s. However, this vegetable seemed to go off the radar with more folks opting for regular tomatoes at the time. Since then, it has seen a good resurgence in popularity especially among chefs. These tomatoes are cut into thin slices and sauteed or fried in olive oil. They work well with seasoning ingredients, including dry herbs, parsley, cilantro, and more. While dry in nature, they are good substitutes for mushrooms and can be a popular topping on several dishes.
You can also buy whole tomatoes which are bursting with natural flavor and essential vitamins. Simply slice or dice these vegetables for use in pasta, meat dishes, fish entrees, and chicken specialties. Make sure to check each recipe to see how tomatoes should or should not be used in certain meals. As always, this vegetable can be eaten like fruit for increasing energy, improving digestion, and flushing out harmful toxins from the body. I love sun-dried tomatoes and definitely use them as an obvious substitute worthy of its flavors.
Eggplants are egg-shaped vegetables with vibrant purple peels and good flavor. While not everyone likes eggplant, it is full of vitamins and preferred by many chefs due to their sweet taste. While a good replacement for mushrooms, eggplants can easily get overcooked so its important to keep a good eye on that when preparing meals.
As always, eggplants must be peeled and then cut into pieces for easy consumption. You can slice eggplant slices the same way you would do for mushrooms. Also, eggplants will darken after peeling so steep them in water to prevent this from happening. Perfect for replacing or using as a mushroom substitute.
4. Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
Garbanzo beans are also known as chickpeas in many parts of the world. There are essentially two varieties of these popular vegetables. The first is bigger in size and has a distinct cream color which is popular at salad bars or tins on grocery shelves. The second version is smaller in size and darker in appearance. Still, both substitutes are ideal for a myriad of recipes both hot and cold.
Chickpeas are nutritional and add good flavor to salads or dishes. You can even cook these beans or serve them out of the can if desired. If planning to cook them, make sure they are thoroughly rinsed and remove any spoiled or discolored beans. Sometimes, chickpeas are in tin cans for so long that they lose flavor and nutritional value. With this in mind, make sure to look at both the packing and due dates on the cans to ensure you have beans that are fresh, healthy and up to date.
Garbanzo beans can be boiled in a large pan or pot for about 2 to 3 minutes. Again, make sure they are washed before being boiled and let them sit in hot water for about 3 or 4 hours. This preserves their natural flavor and makes them a good choice for mushroom replacement in dishes.
5. Russet Potatoes
Potatoes are always in demand and grown in several varieties. This includes Russet potatoes which are a favorite among many shoppers and culinary enthusiasts alike. The Russet brand of potatoes is easily identifiable with its long size and large features. However, they are thick and rough to peel but great for so many entrees and dishes. These potatoes also contain a large amount of starch and are drier than other locally grown varieties.
One of the main features of Russet potatoes is their ability to absorb a lot of liquids. They are ideal for making mashed potatoes or simply frying or baking potato slices. These potatoes, however, are not good for boiling soups or making salads. In fact, they tend to get soggy fast in these meals so it is important to keep this in mind. When looking to replace mushrooms, look for potatoes that work well in baked or fried dishes. As always, clean their skin and peel carefully while removing the eyes. Cut them into smaller pieces if needed and add to suitable recipes for best-tasting results.
Tofu has long been a favorite among women that love to consume soybeans. Tofu is rich in nutrition is known for its soft feeling and versatility in different foods. In fact, these brick-shaped pieces stem from soy milk and are whitish in color and texture. They first appeared in China decades ago but soared in popularity across the Asian continent. Today, tofu is preferred by vegetarians since they have a lot of protein like fish and meat. Again, this food is good for women since it has a lot of estrogens and nutritional value for those wishing to eat right and stay in shape.
Tofu can be used in different entrees, including fried-dishes and soup. As a mushroom replacement, this food can easily be sliced with a knife or cheese cutter if preferred. With its flexibility and ease of use, tofu remains a popular substitute that is healthy and always in culinary demand. Known as an ideal substitute for mushrooms and adequately nutritious, definitely an equally satisfying choice.
Onions can be spicy but certainly, pack a lot of flavor and vitamins. Red onions are particularly spicy and not ideal for every meal. However, white onions taste a bit sweeter and serve as the perfect topping for burgers, chicken, fish, and poultry dishes. Onions can be sauteed, fried, or even part of baked dishes. This gives them the versatility that most people look for when deciding on vegetables to add to meals. While different in taste than mushrooms, onions should always be on your list for last-minute or evergreen replacements when cooking or making fast, healthy snacks.
Cilantro has long been a favorite topping for hearty meat, chicken, and fish-based meals. With its unique flavor, cilantro is known to dazzle taste buds and enhance dishes of all kinds. They also work well as substitutes for mushrooms since they are vegetables that are easy to add and consume. It is important to wash this vegetable thoroughly while removing any brown or discolored leaves.
While you can add cilantro to rice dishes, pasta, and especially Indian and Pakistani entrees, they are perfectly edible to eat as a snack. Consider this vegetable which is a good source of nutrition and very affordable in supermarkets. There are even organic versions for those that are health conscious and prefer locally grown vegetables and fruits.
9. Portobello Caps
Portobello caps are a larger and meatier alternative to smaller mushroom varieties. They can be grilled, sautéed, or roasted and provide a hearty texture and deep flavor that’s similar to mushrooms.
Chickpeas can be roasted and used as a mushroom substitute in many dishes. While they don’t replicate the exact texture of mushrooms, their nutty flavor and ability to absorb other flavors make them a versatile substitute.
Seitan, a popular meat substitute made from wheat gluten, can also replace mushrooms in a dish. It has a chewy, meat-like texture that can be similar to mushrooms when cooked properly.
Unripe jackfruit has a texture similar to that of mushrooms and can be used as a mushroom substitute in vegan and vegetarian recipes. It’s relatively flavorless on its own, so it takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with.
Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, is another excellent mushroom substitute. It has a firm, meaty texture and a nutty flavor that can complement various dishes.
14. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers, when roasted or grilled, can also replace mushrooms in a dish. They offer a different flavor profile but can provide a satisfying texture and an appealing color to your dish.
Cauliflower is another versatile vegetable that can be used as a substitute for mushrooms. It can be roasted, sautéed, or even pureed. Its mild flavor allows it to easily absorb the flavors of the other ingredients it’s being cooked with. Plus, it offers a satisfying crunch when roasted or sautéed, making it a great alternative to mushrooms in terms of texture.
Whether for intricate meals or just an afternoon snack, it is important to pay attention to any dish. After all, you are consuming this food and it should be healthy and taste just right. If you love mushrooms but cannot afford to add them to meals each week, look for replacements or substitutes like the ones mentioned above. You can explore your culinary creativity by adding different vegetables for sauteed or fried dishes. Similarly, these vegetables are good enough to eat as standalone snacks or enhancements to lunches and dinner.
If you love to cook, you know the importance of mushrooms in different dishes. These include homemade pizza, along with hamburgers, salads, and especially Asian style soups. The Thai have and continue to use these popular vegetables across a variety of soups and appetizers. However, you cannot expect to create restaurant-style dishes unless you have good experience in culinary creations and food preparation. With this in mind, always keep an open mind about replacements that can improve the meals for you and your loved ones.
While we have covered a range of popular substitutes, there are even more ways to add some pizzazz and flavor to your favorite meals.
Hopefully you found this list of fresh mushroom substitutes useful, be sure to send us other substitutes that are relevant to include. Leave me a comment down below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.