Not only are mushrooms a great source of fiber, but they are also very healthy and a good source of antioxidants. Still, the flavor and texture they offer are unique, so not everyone is a fan.
If you happen to be cooking for someone else and need to change this ingredient, then you should be aware of other ingredients that work well.
What Are Mushrooms?
Many people forget that mushrooms aren’t vegetables, but fungi. They fall under the vegetable category, but they have very different properties and can grow in various conditions. Some mushrooms aren’t edible, and they grow as invasive species, with others being poisonous too.
Edible mushrooms include cremini, white button, oyster, shiitake, maitake, Lion’s mane, morel, porcini, and chanterelle. These are the most common kinds, but you can also find a couple more in the wild.
Mushrooms are also a great source of antioxidants, including beta-glucans, which can fight off oxidative stress. These fungi contain high amounts of vitamin D, copper, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins. Since they are high in dietary fiber, mushrooms can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar, as well as keep a healthy gut.
Why Replace Mushrooms, Anyway?
While it is not a very common occurrence, there are some cases in which you should replace mushrooms. Here are the reasons why:
- Mushroom Allergy: When someone has an allergic reaction to mushrooms, the symptoms can range from vomiting, shock, anaphylaxis, and death. This is why it is important to avoid mushrooms at all times if there is a suspected allergy.
- Mushroom Intolerance: Unlike a full-blown allergy, intolerance to mushrooms results in indigestion and symptoms of fullness. However, it doesn’t produce the same reaction as an allergy, but should still be avoided.
See more: Do mushrooms go bad?
What Can I Replace Mushrooms With?
If you want to avoid these fungi or can’t find any anywhere, these substitutes for mushrooms are perfect for your recipes:
Best For Beef Wellington, Stroganoff, and Chicken Marsala
If you want to give your dish some texture, tofu is the best substitute for mushrooms. Like mushrooms, this ingredient is also very nutritious, as it is a good vegan source of protein and fiber.
You can use tofu to mimic meat when you make things like beef wellington, stroganoff, or chicken marsala.
If you do choose tofu instead of mushrooms, you need to keep in mind that this ingredient is not flavorful at all and will pretty much absorb any flavors you use. Tofu is very high in water too, so press it before using to remove some liquid.
See More: Tofu Shelf Life
This vegetable isn’t everyone’s favorite, but it is very useful when it comes to replacing mushrooms. You should soak your eggplant in water with salt before you start cooking them, as this removes the natural bitterness in the vegetable.
You can prepare eggplant in many ways, including stewed, sauteed, grilled, baked, and fried.
Use eggplant when you prepare meat dishes like beef wellington, chicken marsala, or stroganoff. You can also add eggplant to substitute meat when you want to make a dish nutritious but still vegetarian or vegan.
Tempeh is another wonderful vegetarian or vegan ingredient that makes your dishes healthy and high in nutrients. This Indonesian soy product has a nougat-like texture and can be used in a variety of ways.
You can find tempeh in most organic markets and some regular grocery stores, as it has gained popularity lately due to being very nutritious.
You should be aware that some people with a mushroom allergy can be allergic to soy too, which includes, tempeh. Also, this product needs to be sliced very thinly to substitute for mushrooms in dishes like chicken marsala, beef wellington, stews, and stir-fries.
Best For Ground Beef, Pasta, and Gravy
This is another great vegetable that lends itself to make great dishes more hearty. You can use zucchini when preparing pasta, gravy, to substitute beef in certain meals, and more. To achieve a similar texture to mushrooms, make sure to chop your zucchini very small or cube them.
You can use zucchini or yellow squash, but make sure to cook them through, or they will remain hard and tough to chew on. Some people find this vegetable bland, so you can always add more sauce or seasoning.
Potatoes can be handy when you want to replace mushrooms in terms of texture and nutrients. If you use Russet potatoes in dishes that need to be vegetarian, this ingredient can be a great way to obtain a similar texture.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to cook potatoes, as they take a while to soften.
Potatoes are great in dishes with tons of sauce, like stews, soups, gravy, and casseroles. You should peel the potatoes before you use them because some people find the skin too tough. Remember that potatoes also add extra starch and calories to your meal.
If you want to make a dish nutritious and high in protein, then chickpeas are a great bet. Make sure you leave the beans soaked overnight, although the canned ones are just as good. Use chickpeas when you prepare meat dishes, stews, pasta, and when making gravy.
Like mushrooms, chickpeas are very healthy and contain many vitamins, minerals, protein, and a high amount of fiber. Use chickpeas when you need to make your dish vegetarian or vegan. As a tip, you can use the chickpea cooking liquid as an emulsifier or binding agent.
To substitute for button mushrooms, try other mushrooms like cremini, shiitake, and oyster. If you need to use other ingredients, try any of these 6 choices that all work great in different dishes.
When making beef wellington, mushrooms may seem essential, but you can swap them for other ingredients. Consider using tofu, tempeh, eggplant, or zucchini.
Mushroom seasoning is usually made with dry, powdered shiitake mushrooms and salt. This powder adds umami to any dish, creating the best flavors for your meals. You can try and make this seasoning yourself at home.
While many of us love mushrooms and use them often, sometimes there are moments when we may need a replacement. If that’s the case, then you may want to try one or more of these ingredients, as they all add texture and flavor. Make sure to always measure and try your choice first.