October 7, 2020
Top 8 Substitutes for Mushrooms
Are you missing mushrooms in your ingredient list? Stick around because in this article we are going to share some great substitutes for mushrooms.
Mushrooms have long stood as pantry staples around the globe. As a matter of fact, a variety of edible mushrooms have gained prominence in the culinary world – and for good reason.
Besides imparting a unique earthy and umami flavor to any dish, their exciting texture also makes for a great meal. This may be one of the reasons why they’re used in so many dishes, from vegetarian to vegan, and everything else in between.
Unfortunately, not everyone loves mushrooms. Some even have allergies to them.
Because of this, you should know some of the best mushroom substitutes. Not only can you help avoid unwanted food allergy attacks and accidents, but you can also ensure everyone enjoys your meals.
What Are Mushrooms?
Before anything else, mushrooms are a type of edible fungus. They grow into an umbrella-like structure called a primordium, which then grows into a substrate.
Studies show that more than 14,000 species exist around the globe. However, you cannot eat most of them.
Some of the most popular types of mushrooms include a white button, cremini, and portabella. There are also oyster mushrooms, chanterelle, enoki, porcini, shitake, and many other edible varieties.
Mushrooms have an earthy and savory flavor known as umami. They typically take on a firm, meaty texture when cooked. Fresh ones impart a relatively subtle nutty flavor.
Because of their mild taste, they make a good protein substitute as they absorb other strong flavors.
Top 8 Substitutes for Mushrooms
You will find mushrooms just about everywhere you go. If, however, you want to try other, similar textures, steer clear of allergic reactions, or simply want to avoid mushrooms altogether, we’ve rounded up a few options that will allow you to replicate the complex umami flavor of this fungus.
Tofu is one of the more popular alternatives to mushrooms primarily because of its mild flavor, especially when paired with soy sauce and other umami-rich sauces and condiments.
Made from soybeans and or soymilk condensed into a thick, white brick, tofu makes a great substitute that packs in a lot of protein.
Tofu is as versatile as mushrooms.
Besides using it in stir-fried dishes, you can also add tofu to soups and stews. Apart from protein, tofu has high levels of amino acids and isoflavones that help activate estrogen in the body.
Another soybean-based creation on this list is tempeh. Fashioned from cooked, fermented soybeans, tempeh is a nutrient-dense soybean product that also boasts of high levels of protein.
After it is fermented, tempeh is packed and firmed to form a block.
Tempeh bears many similarities to tofu, and of course, mushrooms. Like the fungus, it has a firm texture and meaty taste. The fermentation process produces a deeper and more complex flavor.
It also imparts some nuttiness and some acidity, which makes it a close alternative to mushrooms.
Another great contender on this list is eggplant. The firm texture of these purple vegetables makes for a perfect mushroom substitute.
The combination of the peel and the flesh also makes for great contrast, similar to a mushroom’s stalk and body.
Moreover, eggplant tastes sweet, which makes it a good candidate to replace mushrooms in recipes. Bear in mind when using eggplants, they darken after cutting through the flesh, so make sure to soak them in water to prevent further darkening.
Last but certainly not least we have zucchini. While typical a fresh summer fruit cum vegetable that is bright and fresh, it actually contains a lot of earthiness similar to mushrooms.
As zucchinis are normally harvested while still young and immature, they retain some of their sweet taste and their crisp texture.
To help you attain mushroom-like appearance, texture, and flavor, you might want to consider keeping the skin on. Plus, it will add more fiber and impart a meatier taste.
The Bottom Line
If you are interested in stepping outside the box and want to find an alternative for mushrooms, make sure to keep an open mind when checking out replacements. With the right substitute in hand, you can successfully recreate your desired dish without feeling like you’ve lost something essential.
We hope this list has given you some insight into some great mushroom substitutes you can use in your next cooking session. Good luck!
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