Mushrooms are an essential part in different cuisines thanks to their earthy flavor and rich vitamins and minerals. However, mushrooms aren’t for everyone. So if you love them but find them a bit too pricey, are allergic to them, or just don’t like the way they taste, we have made a list of great substitutes for mushrooms that make wonderful replacements.
Best substitutes for mushrooms
Mushrooms are not only darn tasty but can be used for various recipes in the kitchen, like these delicious air fryer mushrooms and garlic mushrooms. While this is a plus, it makes it difficult to find a specific substitute. Check out 8 of the most suitable substitutes for mushrooms you can find; zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, tofu, garbanzo beans, onions, russet potatoes and sun dried tomatoes.
Zucchini, also known as courgette, comes from the squash plant family alongside melons, spaghetti squash, and cucumbers. Farmers harvest this veggie when it’s still young and tiny because it best delivers a soft flesh and comfortable flavor at this stage.
Although it has a comfortable flavor, most people describe it as bland in taste. This characteristic makes it a versatile veggie as it takes on and nicely blends the flavor from other ingredients in the dish while adding bulk to the plate.
This makes zucchini a suitable option for a mushroom substitute if you want a vegetable that mimics mushroom’s meaty texture without the flavor. Most people use this veggie as a summer vegetable and use it with pasta instead of mushrooms.
Leading chefs suggest that you chop, cut, or slice this vegetable into tiny pieces when using in slow-cooked, stir-fries and savory meals like casseroles and pasta for easy consumption and digestion.
However, it would be helpful to remember that zucchinis have high-water content that makes some dishes overly soggy. You can help draw out the moisture by covering the sliced zucchini in salt and simmering it for 10 minutes before using a paper towel to dry it.
Summer squashes are long, round, and with a golden yellow outer shell. Most farmers harvest these golden squashes when immature, while the cover is still tender and edible.
This vegetable lasts a long time while in refrigeration, so you can eat it way long after you pick. Its inside flesh is usually thick, with a light yellow or cream color that makes its beauty stand out when mixing with other meals.
Summer squash is an excellent substitute for mushroom, and you can enjoy it, whether raw or cooked, by slicing it into salads and grating it into porridge, soups, risotto rice, and baked foods.
If you want the best summer squash, find one with a spotless shell and firm but not too hard. Plus, avoid extra-large summer squash because small squashes are tenderer.
This vegetable is rich in vitamin A, B, C, K, and beta-carotene and contains various minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, folate, zinc, and many more. It is equally fibrous, a feature that makes it helpful during the digestion process.
You must be familiar with egg plants – the egg-shaped vegetables with vibrant and thin dark purple peels.
Although they are mild-tasting vegetables, eggplants are another great replacement for mushrooms because they mimic mushroom’s “meaty” texture. It means that you won’t use it to replicate the mushroom’s taste but an alternative if you want a similar texture.
Eggplants are not many people’s favorite meals because they can taint your dish as they quickly get soggy when overcooked and taste slightly bitter. However, most chefs prefer them because of their high vitamin levels.
You can prepare eggplants by peeling and slicing them the same way you do mushrooms. Since they can quickly turn black after peeling, it would be best to steep them in the water while preparing to cook.
The best way to prevent it from tainting your dish by chopping, salting it, and heating it for 10-15 minutes before wiping it with a paper towel. This process reduces astringency and prevents wetness.
Here’s a great way to avoid meat, replace mushrooms and still not give up proteins. Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a favorite among women that love soybeans since it is rich in estrogens.
This food’s preparation includes condensing soy milk to form curds and pressing the curds into white solid brick-shaped blocks with a soft feel.
Sources suggest that tofu has been a staple in Chinese culture. The Chinese discovered over 2000 years ago when they accidentally coagulated fresh soy milk with nigari-what remains after extracting salt from seawater. This salty coagulant helped tofu solidify and maintain its form.
Today, this food is popular among vegetarians to replace meat because they have a high protein content, just like meat and fish. They are also a favorite for people struggling with weight because it has a relatively low caloric value.
Tofu is also versatile, and you can use it to prepare various dishes, from soup to stir fry dishes like black beans. Although it is a delicious addition and an excellent substitute for mushrooms, ensure that no one at your table is intolerant to soy.
Most people across the world know Garbanzo beans as chickpeas. Garbanzo beans are highly nutritious, and you can combine them with various meals and ingredients to make dishes appealing.
These veggies come in two most popular varieties, with the first one being bigger with a distinct beige color and a common sight in salad bars or cans in grocery stores. On the other hand, the second variety of garbanzo beans are smaller and darker in color.
However, besides beige and black, you can find chickpeas in black and red versions, which are still ideal for various recipes and salads, especially in middle eastern and Indian cuisines.
The most outstanding feature about this food is that you can cook or serve them straight out of the tin when raw if you want. If you intend to cook, remove any spoiled beans, rinse them thoroughly and boil in a large pot for about two to three minutes.
Allow them to sit in hot water for about three to four hours to preserve their mushroom-like natural flavor and create a chewy texture.
Chickpeas are also rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals like fiber, iron, zinc, and phosphorous. Additionally, garbanzo beans improve digestion and eliminate the risk of developing issues in the bones.
Onions must be among the oldest and the most used edible ingredient in humankind’s food. This bulbous vegetable relates closely to chives, garlic, and scallions and bears a few similarities to mushrooms.
Although spicy, onions pack plenty of flavor and nutrients and come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. These vegetables also differ in flavor, with red onions being the spiciest and not ideal for every meal.
On the other hand, white onions are a bit sweeter, serving as an excellent option for mushroom replacement and best as toppings in burgers, fish, and poultry dishes.
Onions have various health benefits; for instance, they help neutralize the free radicals in a human’s body because they contain many antioxidant compounds. Plus, they are helpful for people with reduced appetite and atherosclerosis. Raw onions also have low caloric content, only about 40 calories per 100 grams, 89 % water, and relatively low carbs and fats.
You can fry, sauté, or include onions in baked dishes. However, onions taste different from mushrooms but are just as versatile and suitable for preparing fast and healthy snacks.
There are many potato varieties, including the russet variety that is famous among culinary enthusiasts. You can distinguish this potato variety from the rest, thanks to its extended size and significant features.
Russet potatoes are equally thick and rough to peel and usually substitute mushrooms in baking and frying processes. They also have a relatively large starch stock that gives their flesh a creamy color and makes them drier than other varieties, perfect for baking and frying.
On the other hand, one of the most outstanding features of these potatoes is their ability to absorb liquid or other enrichments. This feature makes them trendy when preparing mashed potatoes.
However, russet potatoes are not suitable for meals and recipes that require boiling, such as soups or salads. The reason is, their absorbing capacity makes them get soggy faster, spoiling the meals.
When looking for russet potatoes to replace mushrooms, find those used for baked and fried dishes and avoid the watery ones.
Their preparation phase works the same way with regular potatoes; clean their skin and peel while digging out to remove the potato eyes. Lastly, cut them into suitable sizes and shapes depending on the recipe.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Although most recipes call for fresh tomatoes than sun-dried slices, most culinary masters prefer sun-dried tomatoes because of their unique features.
Of course, dried tomatoes greatly vary with mushrooms in taste, although they keep some texture. They are a suitable option if you hate mushrooms’ flavor but want something with a different personality.
You can prepare these tomatoes by cutting regular tomatoes into thin slices and frying them in olive oil. Since they work well with seasoning ingredients, including parsley, cilantro, dry herbs, and others, it would be best to mix them before drying.
Sun-drying helps the tomatoes achieve a rich earthy taste that you can use as toppings to enrich many slow-cooked dishes like salads, spreads, soups, and fish. You can also take advantage of these tomatoes by drying them whole and only slicing or dicing them, depending on the recipe’s requirements.
Dried tomatoes also offer bulk to meals and often make a good combo with dough dishes like pizza pastries, sandwiches, pasta, and pies, just like mushrooms. You can store them in jars full of oil to maintain their softness.
What would be become of homemade pizzas, hamburgers, salads, and soup without mushrooms! This makes mushroom substitutes even more helpful, especially if you are allergic or you can’t get hold of mushrooms at the moment.
However, as with many veggies, mushrooms have a unique flavor, which means finding their perfect replacement can be challenging. But now that you have the closest substitutes for mushrooms, you can choose any, depending on whether you want the taste or the texture.