Mushrooms are a healthy low-calorie food that will provide many essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to your diet.
You can use them in various dishes like stir-fries, stews, pasta, pizza, soups, salads, grilled meats, and sandwiches. There are many different types of mushrooms, and they all have a characteristic flavor and texture.
Their flavor can be described as earthy, meaty, and slightly savory, with a spongy texture. Mushrooms go well with different meats, vegetables, spices, herbs, wines, and cheeses.
They also make a good substitute for meat in many recipes. Mushrooms will give a unique flavor and texture to recipes, absorbing the flavors from the other ingredients they are cooked with.
If you are allergic to mushrooms or for some reason you don’t like their flavor or texture, or you have just run out of mushrooms, don’t worry because there are other ingredients you can use as a substitute for mushrooms in your recipes.
The best substitutes for mushrooms include zucchini, eggplant, tofu, tempeh, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or some of the following products.
Let’s learn more about each substitute below!
Best Mushroom Substitutes
You can use any of these substitutes for mushrooms in your recipes and improve their flavor. But have in mind that some of the substitutes will work better in certain dishes with a similar flavor than in the others.
You can use zucchini instead of mushrooms to get a similar texture in your dishes. It has a mild, slightly sweet-bitter flavor which gets even sweeter when it is cooked.
You can use them in stir-fries, soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Just be careful not to overcook them because they will lose their crunchiness and become very soft.
Eggplant is a vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways. You can grill, bake, sauté, stir-fry, braise, deep fry, pickle or marinate it.
Eggplant has high water content and a similar flavor to zucchini-mild, slightly sweet and bitter with a firm-spongy texture.
To reduce the bitter flavor and water content you can peel and cut the eggplants, then sprinkle them with some salt and leave them for about ½ hour before use. Pat dry with paper towels and use them in your recipes.
If you want to get a similar texture to mushrooms, don’t overcook your eggplant because they will become very soft and break down.
Tofu is another good ingredient you can use as a substitute for mushrooms in your recipes. It is a flavorless compressed soybean paste that takes the flavors of the other ingredients cooked with it.
First, drain the tofu, then cut it to the desired size and shape. Finally, add seasonings and cook. You can use tofu in different stir-fries, pasta, pizza, and other quickly cooked dishes as a substitute for mushrooms.
You will get a dish with a similar texture to mushrooms and a flavor of your choice depending on the seasonings used.
Tempeh is made of cooked, fermented soybeans. It has a nutty, earthy, and slightly savory flavor similar to mushrooms. It also takes on the flavors from the other ingredients in the dish.
Tempeh has a chewy, hard texture and works well in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, pizza, and stews. You can use tempeh as a substitute for mushrooms in any dish that calls for mushrooms.
5. Caramelized Onions
Caramelized onions have a unique, rich sweet-savory flavor. You can prepare a bigger batch and use them to improve the flavor of many different recipes.
Slowly cook the onions to get a brown color and caramelize. Use them in your stews, pasta, soups, pizza, salads, and stir-fries as a substitute for mushrooms.
They will give a beautiful sweet umami flavor to your food. It will not be very similar to the flavor of the mushrooms. However, your food will still taste amazing!
6. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes have a sweet-tart, savory and intense tomato flavor. You can find them as dry-packed, and oil-packed with or without added herbs and spices.
You can add sun-dried tomatoes to many different dishes like soups, pasta, salads, pizzas, stir-fries, stews, sauces, and dressings.
Depending on your recipe, you can use dry-packed or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Even if they don’t have the same flavor as mushrooms, they will make your food taste better.
7. Artichoke Hearts
Artichoke hearts are the meaty, soft, and creamy center of artichoke veggies. They have a mild, sweet, and slightly nutty flavor.
You can find artichoke hearts in fresh, frozen, and canned forms. They can be cooked by grilling, baking, braising, roasting, boiling, and steaming.
Artichoke hearts work well in various dishes like soups, dips, pasta, casseroles, and stews. You can use canned artichoke hearts as a substitute for mushrooms to get a similar texture and flavor in your dishes.
8. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas have a lot of vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fiber, and amino acids. They are one of the most used legumes in various dishes like hummus, curries, soups, stews, salad dressings, salads, and falafel.
You can find chickpeas as canned and dried. Chickpeas have a mild nutty flavor and soft, creamy texture when cooked.
Cook the dried garbanzo beans and add them to soups, salads, and stews to get a similar nutty flavor in your dishes. You can also use canned garbanzo beans which are already cooked.
9. Russet Potatoes
Russet potatoes are a type of potatoes usually used for mashing, baking, and French fries.
They have a mild, earthy flavor, and dry texture and can absorb a lot of liquid. You can use russet potatoes as a substitute for mushrooms in soups, stews, fried and baked dishes.
Just peel and cut them into small pieces and add them to your dish. They will provide a soft and creamy texture and earthy flavor to your recipes.
10. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash has an orange color, dry, smooth texture, and sweet, nutty flavor.
It is used both in sweet and savory dishes such as cakes, pies, muffins, stews, soups, casseroles, pasta, and curries. You can use butternut squash as a substitute for mushrooms in soups, stews, pasta, and casseroles.
It will give a beautiful color, flavor, and creamy texture to your dishes.
Olives are another ingredient you can use as a substitute for mushrooms. Kalamata olives are a type of Greek olives with a tangy, fruity flavor you can use in pizza, pasta, and salads.
They are also salty, so you need to use them sparingly and lower the salt amount used in the dish. They will not give the same flavor to your meal as mushrooms do, but also improve its flavor. Because olives have a distinctive flavor and texture.
Lentils are a type of legumes with green, red, yellow, brown, and black colors. Their flavor depends on their color.
That said, red lentils have a nutty and sweeter flavor than the other types of lentils which are with a slightly peppery flavor. You can use lentils as a substitute for mushrooms in soups, pasta, stir-fries, stews, salads, and casseroles.
Green, black, and brown lentils will hold their shape better when they are cooked than the red and yellow types of lentils. They will become soft and mushy when cooked.
Carrots are nutritious vegetables used in many different dishes such as soups, sauces, stir-fries, stews, and salads.
Depending on their type, carrots can have a sweet, bitter, woody, or earthy flavor. Frying, cooking, or roasting breaks down the sugars in the carrots making them taste sweeter.
Carrots don’t have the same flavor as mushrooms, however, they will improve the texture of the dish and provide a sweet and earthy flavor.
You can use them in soups, stews, and stir-fries as a substitute for mushrooms.
Leeks are vegetables with a slightly sweet and mild onion flavor. And if you have leeks on hand, you can fry, boil, roast, braise, or sauté leeks.
However, if you decide to cook them it is important not to overcook the leeks because they will become mushy and slightly slimy. To avoid overcooking you can add the leeks at the end of the cooking time.
Leeks work well in many different soups, sauces, stocks, stews, salads, and casseroles. You can use leeks as a substitute for mushrooms in pasta, pizza, stews, and soups.
Seitan is a product made from wheat gluten. It is sold as strips, slices, and in-ground form.
When it is cooked it has a similar texture and looks like meat. Therefore, seitan is used as a meat substitute in various vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Seitan has a chewy texture and neutral, mild flavor similar to Portobello mushrooms or bland chicken meat. However, when it is seasoned or cooked with other ingredients it can easily absorb its flavors.
You can fry, roast, sauté, grill, or braise seitan and prepare different delicious recipes. It makes a good substitute for mushrooms in stews, stir-fries, pasta, pizza, and casseroles.
Mushroom Substitute In Pasta
Different types of mushrooms are used in pasta sauces to give them an earthy, umami flavor and better texture.
Fresh and dry mushrooms like Portobello, porcini, shiitake, crimini, oyster, and chanterelle work well in pasta dishes. They all have a distinctive flavor and texture and pair well with different types of pasta noodles.
However, if you don’t have any of them on hand and want to get a similar mushroom flavor in your pasta you can try some of the ingredients above and find your favorite!
Some of the best substitutes for mushrooms in pasta dishes include zucchini, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, tofu, butternut squash, olives, lentils, leeks, and seitan.
Mushroom Substitute In Soup
Mushroom soup is a delicious, healthy, creamy soup with mushrooms as one of the ingredients. To make a good mushroom soup you need to use quality mushrooms such as Portobello, shiitake, crimini, or porcini mushrooms.
You can use one type of mushrooms or mix 2-3 types of mushrooms to make mushroom soup. They will give a beautiful, rich, earthy, nutty flavor to the soup.
As a substitute for mushrooms in soup, you can use zucchini, carrots, caramelized onions, leeks, lentils, tempeh, garbanzo beans, russet potatoes, and butternut squash.
If you are using lentils as a substitute for mushrooms in soup have in mind that they will expand during the cooking and can easily make your soup very thick.
You should also be careful with the butternut squash, garbanzo beans, and russet potatoes since they contain starch which can thicken up the soup more than needed.
Mushroom Substitute For Meat
Mushrooms are used in various recipes as a meat substitute because they have a meaty texture and umami flavor. They are used as a substitute for meat in casseroles, stir-fries, stews, burgers, and many other recipes.
Some of the mushrooms you can use as a substitute for meat include Portobello, shiitake, crimini, and chanterelle mushrooms.
If you don’t have mushrooms you can use some of the ingredients mentioned in this article as a substitute for mushrooms in recipes where mushrooms are used instead of meat.
You can also seitan, tofu, tempeh, eggplants, caramelized onions, potatoes, zucchini, and butternut squash.
Mushrooms are a versatile ingredient used in various recipes. But if you don’t like them or don’t have them on hand that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare a recipe that calls for mushrooms.
Use some of the ingredients above as a substitute for mushrooms and prepare the dish. I hope that you will find a substitute for the mushrooms that will give you a similar flavor to your food as mushrooms do.
What is your favorite substitute for mushrooms? Do you have any new suggestions on what we can use as a substitute for mushrooms? We have a comment section so you can share them with us!