If you don't enjoy the earthy, meaty, umami flavor of mushrooms, then finding a substitute for mushrooms is a must! Luckily, many other delicious foods can be used as a mushroom substitute. These foods are easy to find, budget friendly and simple to cook!
I actually love all kinds of mushrooms. As I write that, it's just now occurring to me that I haven't written any recipes yet that include mushrooms! This is surprising to me because if a stuffed portabella mushroom is on a restaurant menu, I'm definitely ordering it!
Not loving mushrooms is pretty common though. If you're team NO mushrooms, then I'm sure you feel strongly about your preference.
Mushrooms can be found on anything from pizza, to pasta, to salads and stir-fries. Luckily though, many other foods can be a delicious substitute for both fresh mushrooms and cooked mushrooms!
What are mushrooms?
Mushrooms are an edible fungi that we commonly refer to as a vegetable. Their are hundreds of edible mushroom species. The most commonly consumed mushrooms are white button, portabella and cremini mushrooms (also known as baby bellas).
Common mushroom recipes
Mushrooms are such a versatile vegetable. You'll find them in hundreds of different recipes! Some of the most popular dishes that you'll find mushrooms in are pizza, pasta, stir-fry, soups, stews and veggie burgers.
Some of the most common mushroom based recipes are chicken marsala, stroganoff, beef wellington, stuffed button mushrooms, stuffed portabella mushrooms, egg omelets, mushroom and swiss burgers (beef) and vegetarian mushroom burgers.
Types of mushrooms
Here are a list of common, more well-known types of mushrooms. There are far more mushroom varieties than what I have listed here though! Here's an excellent resource on all of the different types of mushrooms.
- Cremini (button)
- Lion's Mane
- Oyster/King Oyster
Here are the top 7 mushroom substitutes (in my opinion). I believe that these are top substitutes because mushrooms tend to be hearty, meaty and have an earthy flavor and umami flavor. The following list of substitutes also have one or more of those same characteristics.
- Umami seasoning
Eggplant is a spongy, purple vegetable from the nightshade family. Eggplant can be grilled, roasted, sautéed or cooked into soups and stews. Eggplant has a high water content, so it will cook down when added to recipes. Two of the most common eggplant dishes are eggplant parmesan and baba ghanoush. Eggplant can be substituted for mushrooms in pasta dishes, stir fries, soups or in curried rice dishes.
Zucchini is a mild-tasting variety of summer squash. Zucchini can be cooked a variety of ways, including roasting, sautéing, blended into soups and made into zoodles. Zucchini has a similar texture to mushrooms and would make an excellent substitute for mushrooms in stir-fry, soups, stews, as a pizza topping or for stuffing. By stuffing I mean swapping out a stuffed portabella mushroom for a stuffed zucchini instead!
Cauliflower is a hearty vegetable that is well-known for providing bulk in recipes. Cauliflower does have a distinct flavor, so it is not a mild mushroom substitute like zucchini and eggplant are. However, if you need to replace a mushroom ingredient and you want the replacement to add volume to the recipe, then cauliflower is your friend! If you are making any fried dishes with mushrooms, like a deep-fried breaded mushroom, then swapping out the mushroom for cauliflower would be a great choice.
Tofu can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, especially vegan, vegetarian and Asian recipes. Tofu will add a plant-based source of protein to your meal. If you need a mushroom substitute for a recipe that does not have any other protein in it, then tofu would be a great option! Tofu is mild tasting and will often take on the flavor of whatever you are cooking it in. I don't think I would add tofu to pasta or pizza as a substitute for mushrooms. I would add it to stir-fries, hot & sour soup, wonton soup, miso soup and ramen.
Beans are an excellent fiber-filled, protein-packed mushroom substitute. Most beans have a pretty mild flavor and they will definitely add bulk to your dish. Like tofu, they are a plant-based source of protein. When substituting in beans for mushrooms I would stick with garbanzo beans, cannellini beans or white navy beans. Beans could easily be added to any rice based dish, stroganoff and veggie burger. You can used dried beans or canned beans.
Umami is the lesser-known, fifth dimension of taste after sour, sweet, salty and bitter. The umami flavor can be described as savory and meaty. Foods that fall into the umami category are mushrooms, meat, soy sauce, parmesan cheese, anchovies, dried tomatoes, seaweed and beef broth. If you're making a savory dish and you need a substitute for mushrooms, then you can season your dish with some umami seasoning. Umami will help to give your dish some mushroom flavor without actually adding in any mushrooms. You can purchase umami seasoning blends to keep in your spice drawer! Commonly found umami seasoning blends are the Simply Organic Umami Blend, Trader Joes Mushroom and Co Umami Blend and Good & Gather Umami Blend from Target.
One of the often overlooked substitutes for mushrooms is MEAT! I think it's often assumed that if someone is looking for a mushroom substitute then they want to stick with a vegetarian substitution. Many of us enjoy meat though, so adding in extra chicken, beef or pork in place of mushrooms sounds like a delicious choice! If mushrooms are a main ingredient in your stir fry, pasta, pizza or soup, then meat could easily be added in to replace the mushrooms.
No substitute - just leave them out!
Another option is to just leave the mushrooms out and don't substitute them with anything! If you're making a soup or stir-fry and you already have a lot of bulk and flavor, you probably won't miss the mushrooms at all. Chances are the dish will still be delicious and leaving out the mushrooms without subbing anything else in, won't ruin your recipe at all.
Other substitute options
Some other way to replace mushrooms in a recipe are add russet potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, pearl onions, shallots, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, leeks, miso, winter squash and tempeh.
Do you actually like mushrooms?
Maybe you actually enjoy the taste of mushrooms, you just don't have any fresh options on hand at the moment. Check your pantry for canned mushrooms or dried mushrooms!
Dried mushrooms will be more concentrated than fresh or canned mushrooms, so consider this when adding dried mushrooms into a recipe.
Keeping canned mushrooms on hand are a great way to always have mushrooms available, since it's hard to make fresh mushrooms last long before going bad.
I hope all of these mushroom substitute options have given you several ideas for how to substitute mushrooms out of your recipe! Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these substitutions!