Mushrooms are healthy, tasty and well-loved, but some of us suffer from allergies or do not consume mushrooms at all.
As a substitute for mushrooms, I can suggest chicken or beef broth for meat lovers, umami seasoning, or dried mushrooms for those who just don’t have fresh mushrooms, vegetables, nuts, soybeans, chickpeas, caramelized onion or garlic, and some other options for vegetarian and people on the diet.
Recipes with Mushrooms
Mushrooms are one of the best ingredients for 100+ recipes all over the world: from sauces to pies. You can simply roast them with herbs and spices, or use them as an ingredient for soups, and they will always bring a unique flavor.
Here is some ideas of mushroom recipes you can make at home:
- mushroom cream soup
- green curry with mushrooms
- pasta with mushrooms
- creamy mushroom sauce
- sauteed mushrooms
- spinach mushroom strata
- grilled mushrooms in salads
- tofu with mushrooms and rice
- mushroom burger
- mushroom broth or consomme
- polenta with roasted mushrooms
- mushroom chowder with bacon
- vegetable pot pie
- 4 cheese and mushroom lasagna
and so on!
Mushrooms health benefits
Historically mushrooms were the food for elite, but nowadays, it is widely common and loved ingredient. Basically, mushrooms are a superfood.
The healthiest mushrooms to eat: cremini mushrooms, portobello, shiitake, oyster mushrooms, maitake mushrooms.
Mushrooms have some health benefits:
- maitake, crimini, portabella, oyster, and white button mushrooms can fight breast cancer. Shiitake doesn’t fight cancer directly but enhance the immune system. Mushrooms can also prevent prostate cancer for 50+ aged men.
- Mushrooms boost the immune system.
- Mushrooms can help lower cholesterol level (pink oyster mushrooms and shiitake)
- Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin B and Vitamin D.
- Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mushrooms can help lower blood pressure.
- Mushrooms contain antioxidants and help fight age.
- Mushrooms help lose weight.
- Mushrooms prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
In general, they contain fewer calories, are rich in protein, fiber, and minerals: zinc, potassium, selenium, copper, titanium, magnesium, phosphorous.
On the other hand, please note, that mushrooms can cause allergic reaction, bloating and upset stomach.
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Substitutes for mushrooms
I suppose that if you’re looking for a substitute for mushrooms, you don’t like them or are allergic to them. There is only one “mushroom” alternative I will suggest, but the other ones are non-mushroom.
If you still want to replace mushrooms (like button mushrooms) with other mushrooms, the better choice is cremini or portobello mushrooms, shiitake, oyster mushrooms.
Here is the list of all substitutes for mushrooms:
- canned or dried mushrooms
- marinated tofu
- miso paste
- umami seasoning
- russet potatoes
- sun-dried tomatoes
- tomato pastes with onion
- heart of palm
- artichoke heart
- yellow squash
- beef broth
- meat (chicken)
- sauteed onion with carrots
- caramelized garlic
- soy sauce
Substitute for mushrooms if you don’t have fresh ones
1 – Canned or dried mushrooms
In case you don’t have fresh mushrooms or it is just not an option for the moment, the best substitute for mushrooms can be just dried or canned mushrooms. They taste almost the same.
Dried mushrooms have a more concentrated taste, which means your substitute ratio will be 1/2 to 1 or even less. Try the mushrooms before cooking to evaluate how salty they are or how strong is the taste.
Recommended canned or dried mushrooms brand:
Meat and mushrooms can easily substitute each other, but for vegetarians I’ll list a lot of vegetable option.
2 – Beef broth or stock
Beef stock is a savory and rich “soup” that you can use as an alternative for mushrooms in dips, soups, and stews. Mushrooms are usually meant to imitate meat taste, so you will not lose in terms of flavor and consistency.
3 – Meat (chicken)
The easiest meat substitute for mushrooms is chicken – easy to buy, cheap, easy to cook. It will work in all dishes where you use mushrooms (soups, pasta, pies, etc.), quite healthy, and can be part of a diet too.
4 – Eggplant
Eggplant is one of the most recommended vegetable substitutes for mushrooms for its creamy and rich consistency (when cooked) and delicate flavor.
Works as perfect substitute in all dishes. They work really good when they are stuffed, as well as mushrooms.
- Tip: soak eggplants in salty water before cooking to make them tender.
5 – Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a great substitute for mushrooms: it has texture, mild taste and easy to cook.
Good for sides, marinades, roasted, in curry, pies, etc.
Don’t overeat it, cauliflower can cause an upset stomach. But, in general, cauliflower is used to fight obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions.
6 – Chickpeas
Garbanzo beans or chickpeas works as mushrooms substitute if you will ground it with spices.
Chickpeas are gluten-free, extremely healthy, rich in protein, fiber, vitamins B, magnesium, selenium, and other minerals. Do not eat raw chickpeas, as it really hard to digest for our digestive system, can cause bloating.
Good for sandwiches, as dips, with chicken, roasted, in pastas, with rice, in curry, etc.
You can always buy canned chickpeas.
7 – Lentils
Lentils are very close to chickpeas – rich flavor, thick soft consistency while cooked, which make them a good replacement for mushrooms.
Good as substitute in soups and stews.
8 – Beans
Same as lentils, beans will offer a very nice texture and taste in a dish and can substitute mushrooms in soups, pies, stir-fry, with potatoes, in sandwiches or burgers, etc. A lot of options as beans are a big part of Latin America and other cuisines.
9 – Zucchini
Zucchini is a healthy and savory substitute for mushrooms, but they are more watery than the last ones. Still, they work great in all kinds of dishes: soups, pies, sides, with pasta, in baking, they are especially great for vegetarian cuisine. Zucchinis are low in calories and gluten-free.
Tip: small zucchini is better if you want to replace mushrooms.
10 – Onions
Onion is a healthy and universal gem in your kitchen. To substitute mushrooms you can use white onions, caramelized onion works very well.
Onions are great for soups, meat, toppings, with steaks, in pies, with hummus, etc.
11 – Tomato pastes with onion
All kinds of tomato-based pastes with onion will work as a substitute for mushrooms. I love to use them as a spread. I use tomato paste with onion and peppers, homemade by sauteing. It has a sweet and salty, savory flavor, creamy texture.
Will work as sides, sauce, in pasta, with meat, etc.
12 – Sauteed onion with carrots
It is more in Eastern European tradition to saute onions with carrots and add them to rice, dumplings, fish, etc, but it is a savory, tasty, aromatic substitute for mushrooms as well.
Both ingredients are healthy and easy to cook. Works in soups, stews, as sides, with all kind of vegetables.
13 – Caramelized garlic
To be honest, caramelized garlic (with butter) has exactly the same taste as mushrooms for me. We made once garlic for steak and when I tried it, I was shocked, how it is tasty. It loses pungent taste and becomes chewing, meaty textured, salty.
I do it with salted butter or with black garlic butter (homemade).
14 – Russet Potatoes
Idaho potatoes or Russet potatoes are the easiest to buy substitute for mushrooms. It works better as sides, in pies, for frying and baking, but not for boiling.
Russet potatoes can prevent heart disease.
15 – Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes have a unique flavor and are a great alternative for mushrooms – they are sweet, savory, and healthy, but do not offer umami flavor.
Good for toppings, salads, sauteed dishes, pizza, pasta, etc.
You can always buy them in any grocery store if you don’t have time to make it.
16 – Yellow Summer Squash
Do not confuse with Golden zucchini.
Yellow summer squash is meaty, tender, and sweet enough to replace mushrooms in soups, sides, risotto, baked, and sauteed dishes.
Yellow summer squash is very healthy for eating: low in calories, contains vitamin A, C, and minerals: calcium, iron, protein.
17 – Artichoke hearts
Artichoke can imitate the texture of mushrooms. Moreover, they have this earthy taste, similar to mushrooms.
Cons are that they are more expensive, hard to find, and will not worth it if you’re looking to substitute mushrooms in baking, soups, or frying.
Good for steaming and for sauces (artichoke dipping sauce). Marinated artichoke hearts are very good.
You can also try canned artichoke hearts if it is hard to find fresh artichokes and you don’t want to prep them.
18 – Heart of palm
Heart of palm is another exotic substitute for mushrooms. In fact, it has meaty consistency and can replace both mushrooms and meat.
The heart of palm is very healthy to eat, but quite hard to cook.
Good in beef stroganoff, with other meat, and in salads.
19 – Marinated Tofu
Marinated tofu is a soy-based substitute for mushrooms. It has an umami flavor and a meaty texture.
You can buy marinated tofu, or make it at home (just marinate tofu cubes with a vegetable broth).
Perfect substitute for mushrooms in all dishes.
20 – Miso paste
Miso paste offer umami flavor and nice consistency, which is exactly what you need to substitute mushrooms. To substitute mushrooms you need brown or dark red miso paste as they have a salty and savory taste.
Works for salads, dips, sauces and gravy.
21 – Umami seasoning
Umami seasoning is a cheat code to mimic umami flavor. Basically, you can add it to many dishes and any vegetables to make them taste more like mushrooms.
Why it is such a close alternative? In fact, umami seasoning is made of dried mushrooms, salt, and some other ingredients.
Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning is gluten-free.
22 – Tempeh
Tempeh is a popular ingredient in Indonesian cuisine. It is made of fermented soybeans, has a nutty taste, solid texture, meaty as mushrooms.
You can make tempeh chips, tempeh patty for burgers, add it in salads, instead of meat or mushrooms in other dishes.
23 – Nuts
Walnuts and cashews are healthy substitutes for mushrooms. Roasted, ground nuts or nut paste will work.
24 – Cilantro
Coriander or cilantro is an aromatic herb with unique flavor for a variety of dishes. You can use cilantro as a substitute for mushrooms in salads, sides, soups, and other dishes.
Did you know that cilantro reduces anxiety?
25 – Soy sauce
Soy sauce works as umami seasoning – it can make anything taste more like mushrooms. It can work as a mushrooms substitute as well in salads, stews, with meat or fish, with veggies.
It can be a dipping sauce as well. The taste is sweet and salty, mildly umami, and a bit bitter.
Soy sauce is actually healthier than regular salt. Some manufacturers offer less-sodium and gluten-free options.
26 – Pickles
Pickles have distinctive pungent, salty taste which is great for meat and salads.
Good for salads, soups, pies, etc. They also extremely good served as they are 🙂
27 – Olives
Olives can be a good alternative for mushrooms, as they also have a very special and distinctive taste. Not all people love them, but they will be really good in salads, sides, sauces, pizza, and other dishes.
Do not add extra salt, as olives are very salty. Easy to buy in any store.
How to make non-mushroom substitute taste like mushrooms?
Mushrooms have very special earthy taste, the unique umami flavor which is hard to imitate with vegetables.
You can add herbs, spices, special umami seasoning, soy sauce or miso paste to mimic the umami.