If you are trying to make a recipe with mushrooms, but are all out, you need to try one of these eleven substitutes for mushrooms. These substitutes can work well for cooked or raw dishes.
What gives mushrooms their earthy flavor?
You’ve probably heard the term “umami” before. This term refers to a savory and meaty kind of flavor. This flavor is attributed to an amino acid called glutamate, which is a component in the seasoning monosodium glutamate or MSG.
Mushrooms are a source of umami flavor, which is why you can commonly see them being used as a replacement for meat in vegetarian dishes. Alternatively, you can add diced mushrooms to meat to enhance the umami flavor.
Common dishes including mushrooms
A variety of dishes from various cultures use mushrooms. Some dishes place mushrooms as the centerpiece, such as portabella mushroom steaks, while others use mushrooms as a source of flavor, such as chicken marsala.
Common dishes that use mushrooms include:
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Pizza with mushrooms
- Portabella burger
- Chicken marsala
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Steak with grilled mushrooms
Best Food Substitutes for Mushrooms
If you are looking to replace mushrooms with a food with a common taste and texture, here are the best options for you. Specific recommendations based on the recipe you are making are listed below each ingredient.
Canned artichokes can be a great replacement for mushrooms. They have a similar texture and also have a mild, earthy flavor to them. You can use them as a replacement for mushrooms in a variety of dishes, but they would especially work well on pizzas and in pasta dishes.
Eggplant is another vegetable that would be a good replacement for mushrooms. They are soft like mushrooms (especially when cooked) and are commonly used as a meat replacement, similarly to mushrooms. They work great in Italian dishes as a substitute for mushrooms.
Heart of palm
Heart of palm is another mushroom replacement which is similar to canned artichokes. It’s easy to bite into and has a mild, earthy flavor. I would recommend using heart of palm as a substitute for mushrooms in salads as well as cooked dishes like pastas and soups.
Tofu is another good replacement for mushrooms due to its similar flavor and texture. It’s soft and has a mild bean-y flavor. Tofu is commonly used as a meat substitute as well. It works great as a substitute for mushrooms in cooked dishes like pastas, stir fries and soups.
Tempeh is similar to tofu, making it a great replacement for mushrooms. It is made from soy and has a firmer texture than tofu, meaning it won’t fall apart as easily. Be sure to slice it into thin slices, similar in the way mushrooms are sliced. You can also dice or shred tempeh.
Caramelized onions are another great alternative to mushrooms. The caramelization process of onions makes them sweeter and softer. Because of this, they make a better substitute for mushrooms compared to raw or sauteed mushrooms. That being said, making caramelized onions is a lengthy process.
Leeks can be a good replacement for mushrooms as well. They are in the onion family and have a sweet, onion-y flavor, similarly to green onions. Leeks are a particularly good replacement for mushrooms in soup recipes because they add a lot of rich flavor.
Walnuts can be a good replacement for mushrooms because they have a nutty, savory flavor that can add to the richness of a dish. You can chop up walnuts finely to replace diced mushrooms in cooked recipes like soups and pasta dishes. Just be sure to check for nut allergies!
Best Seasoning Substitutes for Mushrooms
If you are looking for a flavor similar to mushrooms, sometimes adding a seasoning to a dish can be the best way to go. These seasonings mimic the umami flavor of mushrooms.
Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a great addition to any savory dish, but especially dishes you would typically add mushrooms to. In fact, mushrooms naturally contain glutamate. That is what gives them their umami flavoring. When in doubt, sprinkle a bit of MSG!
Miso paste is another great alternative to mushrooms because it adds a nice umami flavor. Since it’s a paste, it works great in soups or pasta dishes. It will blend right into the sauce and add some delicious savory-ness to the dish.
Truffle oil is one of the best ways to add mushroom-y flavor to a dish. This is because truffles are a type of mushroom. You can use truffle oil in pasta dishes, soups, salads, meat dishes or on top of pizza. That being said, it can be expensive. Usually a light sprinkle does the trick.