What Is A Good Substitute For Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are widely used in many dishes, starting with Italian pizzas to American tacos. However, if you are to replace the mushroom in the recipe, you need to have proper knowledge about ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms.’ This is what we have discussed here in this article.
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Several staple ingredients have become a significant part of several international cuisines worldwide. For example, you use parsley, rosemary, and dill as common herbs in many cuisines. Like meat, tuna fish, and prawns, many proteins are used to prepare several dishes in various parts of the world. Similarly, mushrooms are also used in many recipes, starting from soups to pizza toppings, pastas and so on. The ingredient’s subtle taste seems to be tantalizing for the taste buds, thereby tempting food lovers to try various dishes where the mushrooms are the star ingredient. However, recently, chefs and food lovers have been asking about what is a good substitute for mushrooms since some might suffer from allergies. At the same time, some might not get their favorite variety in their location.
To answer your queries, today, we will discuss the types of mushrooms, the benefits of the ingredient, various substitutes for mushrooms, a few dishes to cook with the substitutes, and other relevant information. By the end of this article, you won’t have any problem choosing the right substitute for the mushrooms that you can use in your recipe.
Table of Contents
What Is A Mushroom?
As you all know, fungi can of various types, starting from being unicellular to multicellular. This organism usually grows in wild regions since their food source mainly includes decaying leaves, plant parts, animals, etc. Mushrooms are a special kind of fungi with a round cap with spore bodies and gills for breathing. Some mushrooms might have stems, while some might lack this body part.
Mushrooms are found in two major types- poisonous and non-poisonous. Not all the mushrooms you see growing in the forest are edible for humans. That’s why you need to know the types of most common edible mushrooms to avoid growing a poisonous variety.
What Are The Types Of Edible Mushrooms Commonly Found In The Market?
Before you learn about what is a good substitute for mushrooms, it would be best to know the types of mushrooms common in the market. This will help you understand what kind of substitute you need and for which kind of mushroom.
So, let’s have a look at the top mushroom types that are available in every country!
White Button Mushroom
With a mild taste compared to other varieties, the white button mushrooms are widely used in many cuisines, including American, French, Indian and Italian dishes. The best thing about this mushroom variety is eating it in both raw and cooked forms. You will have the mushrooms in both brown and white colors, thereby allowing you to introduce variations in the dishes.
From the name itself, you can understand that the mushroom is native to the Japanese lands, and it grows in the wild on the oak tree. However, nowadays, the shiitake mushrooms are cultivated worldwide, thereby making it the second-most widespread variety. The mushroom’s cap is slightly curled underneath along the edges. You will get a light woody flavor in the raw form, which becomes intense as the mushrooms are dried.
Enoki mushrooms are mainly eaten raw, thanks to the crunchy taste it adds in a dish. These mushrooms are both grown in the wild and cultivated in farms because of the high demands of the world’s enoki variety. The stems are quite long, and the mushroom caps are small, almost like a little flower sitting atop the stems.
Oyster mushrooms are popular in the Chinese and Japanese cuisines due to its fresh and mild taste that enhances the overall taste of the dish in which it is used. The mushrooms are large and white in color, with the cap having a fan shape.
The portabello mushroom has a meaty flavor and texture which makes it a great substitute for meat in the Italian cuisine. Starting from soups to toppings, the mushroom is widely used in many dishes. Also, its large structure allows you to make it a base for a bun recipe. These are much larger than white button mushrooms.
Mainly grown in the wild, the Porcini mushrooms are famous for their smooth texture and the wild, woody flavor. It’s mainly found in Italy and France in its fresh form. In other parts of the world, the dried mushrooms are found in the market.
What Are The Top Health Benefits Of Mushrooms?
Some might ask how an ingredient growing in the wild can benefit our health, especially when it’s a fungus. After all, fungi are said to be one of the disease-causing organisms in other animals and humans alike. As a result of this perception, many people hesitate to even taste the mushrooms despite knowing that these fungi are rich in flavors. And that’s why people ask ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms.’
So, to ward off your confusion, let’s have a look at the major health benefits of this world-renowned food ingredient.
- Removes the signs of early aging
The two most important antioxidants present in the mushrooms are the ergothioneine and the glutathione, both of which act as barriers to keeping your body younger. They prevent the early signs of aging like the appearance of wrinkles, growth of grey hairs, etc.
- May help prevent cancer
Studies from worldwide have proven that people who eat mushrooms regularly have fewer chances of having cancer. Five different varieties of mushrooms, including portabella, oyster, and white button, have anti-mutagenic properties that help to prevent the development of cancerous cells. Also, the shiitake mushroom has lentinan- a compound that increases the strength of the immunity system to fight against cancers.
- Helps in reducing the concentration of free radicals in blood
Several antioxidants are present in most of the varieties of mushrooms. Thanks to these compounds, one won’t have to deal with the consequences of having a high concentration of free radicals in the blood.
- Alleviates the chances of neurological disorders
Before you ask for ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms,’ you need to understand that mushrooms are extremely healthy despite being a fungus. And fortunately, one of its major benefits has been seen in people with a high risk of neurological disorders. Studies have shown that taking this ingredient daily prevents neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
- Helps to keep a healthy heart
Most of the mushroom varieties have beta-glucan and chitin- two biomolecules that help lower the amount of cholesterol and LDL in the blood. As a result, they enhance the heart’s health and prevent various diseases like increased cholesterol levels, heart attacks, etc. Shiitake mushrooms help the liver to act on the blood cholesterol level, thereby reducing its concentration further.
- A good source of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced in crops that are exposed to direct sunlight during most of their lifetime. Mushrooms are grown in the wild or are cultivated in open fields because of which they contain a high amount of Vitamin D. As a result, these mushrooms will help your body to avoid bone and muscle problems.
- Best for strengthening the immune system
Mushroom is one ingredient that is rich in many vitamins and minerals. Different varieties of Vitamin B family are present in the mushrooms, strengthening your immune system greatly, thereby enabling it to fight against many diseases. This is why if you are looking for a substitute for mushrooms, make sure you are choosing an ingredient rich in vitamins and minerals.
What Is The Taste Profile Of The Mushrooms?
The mushroom’s taste varies as per the variety of the mushroom you have chosen. Some species growing in the wild have a woody flavor and aroma, just like the forest’s earth. Some other species have a nutty flavor, which can add an intense taste profile to the dishes. The portabella mushrooms have a meat flavor that can add a wonderful taste to the dish. Species like the button mushrooms and the porcini mushrooms have a soft but smooth flavor, neither too light nor too intense for the palette. With all these varying flavor profiles, you need to know that to understand ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms,’ you need to choose the replacement as per the original mushroom flavor.
What Is A Good Substitute For Mushrooms?
Now, since you are almost aware of all the basic facts about this fungi species, it’s time to learn about what is a good substitute for mushrooms if you are allergic to the ingredient or want to add something else as a replacement. Make sure that while choosing the substitute, you are not hampering the mushroom’s taste profile since then all the efforts of replacing the ingredient will go in vain. So, here are the most common ingredients that can act as:
A Good Substitute For Mushroom
This particular ingredient acts as a wonderful substitute for the mushrooms, thanks to the component’s earthy flavor. For enhancing the flavors, you can add the tofu slices to soy sauce, which will bring in a taste closer to that of the button mushrooms or the shiitake mushrooms. Tofu can act as an excellent mushroom flavor substitute only in sauces and soups because if you are using the element in curries, tofu won’t add the same flavor notes.
If you want to know ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms’ regionally, you should try the Tempeh. It is widely used in Indonesian cuisine as a substitute for the fungus. Even though this ingredient’s appearance closely resembles the nougats, the flavors, however, match the mushrooms only if you are slicing the Tempeh thinly.
One of the amazing substitute mushrooms is the zucchini, which is used in various cuisines worldwide. From being used as a topping to sandwich filling, zucchinis have a taste profile closely related to that of the mushrooms. The younger vegetables have a sweet taste with a fresh aroma that substitutes for the button and porcini mushrooms.
If you are willing to add a little bit of protein in your dish with a meat flavor, then any meat will act as a fantastic mushroom alternative for the portabella variety.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you want to understand ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms’ that can be prepared in the home, you need to understand the process of drying the tomatoes under the sun. The sun-dried tomatoes have an earthy flavor because of the natural dehydrating process. You can add some herbs with a woody flavor profile to enhance the taste of the entire dish.
The eggplants represent the flavor profile of the mushrooms quite unceremoniously but in an effective manner. The sweet taste and the flesh’s soft texture make the eggplants one of the best mushroom substitutes in various cuisines. You need to maintain the slicing of the eggplants to impart the close mushroom flavors in the dishes.
Recipes Using Mushroom Substitutes
To make it easier for you, we have named here a few recipes that can be made with a mushroom replacement.
- One pot zucchini mushroom pasta
- Zucchini pizza bites
- Grilled garlic lemon zucchini slices
- Zucchini shrimp scampi
- Tofu pad thai noodles
- Tofu chorizo tacos
- Tofu broccoli bowl
- Soba salad with grilled tofu
- Pan seared salmon with grilled eggplants
- Caponata flatbread
- Eggplant parm chips
- Soba with miso glazed eggplants
Knowing ‘what is a good substitute for mushrooms’ has made it easier for food lovers to relish various mushroom varieties’ taste profile without worrying about health. If you have any allergies to mushrooms, these substitutes will work efficiently in the everyday mushroom recipes. Now, even though the alternates we have discussed here will impart the flavor profile of a mushroom variety, the tastes won’t be a hundred percent similar. This is why you can enhance the recipe either with a sauce or herbs having the same taste as the concerned mushroom.