Mushroom is a definitive multitasker when it comes to its culinary potential. It has a unique earthy flavor that can add a special umami undertone when added to dishes.
Personally, I’m quite obsessed with this item and can’t stop including them in my favorite creamy Alfredo pasta sauce and pizza. The problem is, some of its varieties are pricey, so including them in every meal isn’t cost-efficient.
Fortunately, there are good substitutes for mushrooms to choose from.
Keep in mind, though, that not every replacement will work for a specific recipe. That means you can use a substitute only if the item is fit for the meal being prepared.
Here are some of the widely-known substitutes for mushrooms you can use for your daily cooking and consumption.
|Guideline for Use
|Use firm tofu, cubed or crumbled, in volume similar to mushrooms
|Sauces, stir-fries for a meaty texture
|Slice into small pieces similar in size to mushrooms
|Pasta dishes, recipes needing a mild, earthy flavor
|Use as per the flavor intensity of mushrooms in the recipe
|Toppings, dishes where chewy texture and rich flavor are desired
|Cut into tiny pieces, similar quantity to mushrooms
|Various cuisines, avoid overcooking
|Slice thinly, use in quantity similar to mushrooms
|Chilis, stews, tacos, sandwiches for flavor and texture
|Cook before using, adjust amount based on recipe
|Dry recipes, dishes requiring firmer texture
|Adjust amount to replace volume of mushrooms, best in dry dishes
|Fried and baked recipes, avoid in soups and sauces
Tofu is one of those suitable substitutes for mushrooms. For those who aren’t familiar with the item, it’s a soy-based food made of condensed soy milk formed into solid white blocks.
If you’re running out of mushrooms and planning to create a mushroom sauce, then feel free to use this mushroom substitute. Though it won’t copy the original flavor of the mushroom, adding them to the mixture will convince everyone that you included mushrooms in your recipe.
- Ratio/Guideline: Use firm tofu cut into cubes or crumbled, depending on the texture desired. No specific ratio is provided, but use enough to mimic the volume of mushrooms in the recipe.
- Usage: Suitable as a meaty texture substitute in sauces and stir-fries.
Another good replacement for mushrooms is zucchini. It’s a versatile fruit that grows in the warm season and is quite popular in Mediterranean cuisine.
The fruit has a moderately sweet and earthy undertone with a nice texture likely similar to mushrooms. You can use this mushroom substitute in your pasta dishes. To do this, simply slice young and fresh zucchini into small pieces before tossing them into the mixture.
- Ratio/Guideline: Slice young and fresh zucchini into small pieces, similar in size to the mushrooms they replace.
- Usage: Works well in pasta dishes and other recipes where a mild, earthy flavor is needed.
3. Sun-dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are a perfect replacement for mushrooms due to their unique taste and features. These special tomatoes are seasoned with herbs and spices and then dried to form extraordinary bits.
As a mushroom substitute, sun-dried tomatoes can be used as toppings in your recipes.
- Ratio/Guideline: Use in a quantity that matches the intended flavor intensity of the mushrooms.
- Usage: Ideal as toppings or in dishes where a chewy texture and a rich, concentrated flavor are desired.
From Italian to Chinese to Indian cuisine, eggplant is a staple in many dishes throughout the globe. Little did I know, this versatile fruit is also a good bet for mushroom replacement as it has a soft texture and slightly sweet taste akin to mushrooms. When using eggplant as a mushroom replacement, take note that you need to cut them into tiny pieces since the eggplant is in size. Also, ensure that you won’t overcook them so you can avoid a soggy eggplant.
- Ratio/Guideline: Cut into tiny pieces to replicate the texture of mushrooms. The quantity should be similar to the amount of mushrooms required.
- Usage: Good for various cuisines, but avoid overcooking to prevent sogginess.
Tempeh is one of the must-try substitutes for mushrooms. It’s a cake-like substance made from fermented soybeans that are formed into a block. It’s also a versatile choice for many dishes including chilis, stews, tacos, and sandwiches.
You can use tempeh as a mushroom substitute as both items share the same flavor. Their textures are incomparable, but slicing them as thinly as possible should do the trick!
- Ratio/Guideline: Slice thinly and use in a quantity similar to mushrooms for comparable flavor and texture.
- Usage: Suitable for chilis, stews, tacos, and sandwiches.
Chickpeas are one of those mushroom replacements that shouldn’t be missing in this list. This legume comes in many colors and is used in a wide range of cuisines around the world, specifically Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.
However, chickpeas can only be used in dry recipes. Make sure to cook them first before using them as a substitute for mushrooms.
- Ratio/Guideline: Cook before using, and adjust the amount based on the recipe requirements.
- Usage: Best for dry recipes and dishes where a firmer texture is needed.
7. Russet Potatoes
When it comes to great mushroom replacements, one of them is russet potatoes! It’s a type of potato variant that’s long and large in shape with thick and rough skin. It has a huge number of starches that’s suitable for fried and baked recipes.
For those who want to use these potatoes as an alternative for mushrooms, feel free to use them in your dry dishes.
Meanwhile, avoid incorporating them into your soups and sauces as they can cause sogginess to your recipes.
- Ratio/Guideline: Use in dry dishes, adjusting the amount to replace the volume of mushrooms.
- Usage: Great for fried and baked recipes; avoid in soups and sauces to prevent sogginess.
The bottom line
Finding the right substitutes for mushrooms is tough, especially when the food item has a distinct and unique earthy flavor that’s complicated to replicate. But this doesn’t mean we have to raise the white flag!
Just remember that each option only works for a specific recipe and that’s fine! If your recipe’s main item is mushroom, then you might consider discontinuing your dish as the ingredient features a complex flavor that can’t be substituted easily.
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Russet potatoes
- Pick eggplant as a substitute for your mushrooms
- Cut them into tiny pieces to replicate the mushroom's texture.
- Cook them before tossing them into your recipes.