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8 Mushroom Substitutes That You Should Know

Mushrooms can provide unique earthy taste to the food. It is almost distinct that replicating its flavor is quite complex. Finding the right mushroom substitutes is a troublesome task, even for gourmet sleuths. It simply emits a tang that you can never simply get from mixing other ingredients.

It has been stated by many chefs and culinary professionals that mushrooms are among of the foodstuff that cannot be substituted easily. The culinary rarity of the flavor of mushrooms is something that not everyone can chase and mimic. However, this doesn't mean that we have to stop, right?

Okay. Here's the general rule that some people follow when it comes to mushrooms. If the recipe requires the inclusion of mushrooms, you can try replacing any other veggies that you want. It doesn't matter what vegetable you choose. Just simply exclude mushroom in the equation. You just have to alter the flavor of the recipe.

However, if the main item of the recipe is mushroom, you might not want to continue that recipe anymore. Don't get pissed by this fact. Just like I said, mushrooms have another tier of tang that is too complex to recreate. Even if they are simple ingredients, mushrooms should still never be whittled down.

A Brief Introduction to Edible Mushrooms

The food alternatives for mushroom can be safely considered as rare or scarce. A professional cook can justify this claim to you. Of course, there are various reasons why this is the case. Apparently, a lot of people just don't mind to find mushroom alternatives because they don't want mushrooms in the first place. In fact, some are even allergic to this food.

Fortunately, there are different variants to mushrooms. The number can go as high as 5 million. But take note that a chief number of these mushrooms are not edible. A few of them are too deleterious for your body. That's why it is essential that you only get mushrooms that are being sold in the market. You can also grow edible variants of mushrooms but always be careful of the environment so that they won't get contaminated.

Despite being the most unlikely ingredients, mushrooms are still causing a boom in the economy of many people. In Europe, many rural folks are in the business of foraging. They usually culture the mushrooms by themselves in a controlled setting. Some hunters harvest mushrooms in woodlands. They are proliferating there.

Countries like New Zealand have deep affection toward mushrooms. They are prime cultivators and exporters of shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms. And they can give it to you in a variety of forms. They offer dried and fresh mushrooms as long as you pay the price.

If you take all these facts into account, you can easily conclude that mushrooms are not scarce. They are widely available in the market with a plethora of local versions all over the world. But still, they can't help you if you don't want to eat mushrooms because you don't like them or because you have allergies.

You can always resort to these following ingredients if you want to somehow replicate the flavor of mushrooms.

Best Mushroom Substitutes

Tofu

Tofu is one of the most creative alternatives for mushrooms. You can slice tofu and submerge it soy sauce so that it can imbibe the earthy flavor of field mushrooms. If you are trying to make a mushroom sauce, you can freely replace the mushroom with tofu slices. Of course, I can attest that the flavor will never be as close as to mushrooms. But certainly, the sauce will appear like you have used mushrooms on it. You can also include tofu slices and bits in soups and stews.

Tempeh

Tempeh may be new for you. But it is actually a common ingredient in Indonesia. Specifically, it is a soy product that has a firm texture and characteristic. Amusingly, the appearance of this food is pretty similar to nutty nougat. But of course, their taste is far too different.


The flavor of tempeh is almost similar to mushrooms. Their texture can also be comparable if you slice tempeh as thinly as possible. Tempeh is created by soaking soybeans in water then partly cooking them. After that, the beans are subjected to a mold that produces the tempeh. However, if you are allergic to the molds, then tempeh is not a good alternative for you.

Tofu and Soy Sauce

For those who want to create mushrooms soup with the mushroom, you can use the combination of tofu and soy sauce. Add the mixture to a base composed of carrots, root veggies, sauteed onions, and leeks. Once done, you can already pour the cream. Some variants of vegetable stocks can work well in the recipe.

You can also combine tofu and soy sauce to create a mushroom sauce for your favorite steak. Just add onions, miso paste, meat stock and mustard, if necessary.

Zucchini

Nobody would ever think that zucchini can also be used as a mushroom substitute. But apparently, the earthy tang of this food can somehow replicate the ones produced by mushrooms.

Zucchini is a vegetable that is included in the squash family. Because of that, this veggie has a moniker of summer squash. When they get mature, zucchini can grow as long as one meter. But typically, this squash is harvested when they are still small. A young zucchini has a moderately sweet flavor, which is akin to mushrooms. The texture of its flesh is somehow reminiscent of mushrooms, too.

You can use zucchini as a replacement for mushroom in pasta dishes. You just have to chop it into tiny pieces. Other savory dishes that are includes mushrooms can be replaced by zucchini. But then again, let me remind you that their flavor will never be the same.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be dried through the heat of the sun. And once it happens, they can become substitutes for mushrooms. This is due to the earthy flavor that is produced throughout the drying process. Many culinary expert love to use sun-dried tomatoes because they can offer a unique taste to any recipe they touch. While they are dried, the tomatoes are being seasoned with herbs, parsley, and other spices to further enhance their flavor.

Sun-dried tomatoes can replace mushrooms as toppings for different dishes. They might have different flavor compared to mushrooms, but the texture they give makes the recipe earthy and flavorful. You can dice or slice them, depending on the requirement of the dish.

Eggplant

Another unorthodox mushroom substitute is the eggplant. This is a common kitchen ingredient all over the world. They are used in various recipes, but they can also serve as a main dish for hardcore vegetarians.

The soft and sensitive texture of eggplants is somehow similar to mushrooms. Their slightly sweet taste also makes them a good ingredient for recipes that have mushroom toppings or base. Since mushrooms are long in size, you need to cut them into tiny pieces before you add them to the mixture.

Russet Potatoes

Potatoes come in multiple variants. That is a given. One good example is the Russet potato. Unlike the common potatoes that you see in the market, Russet potatoes are large and long. Their skin is quite thick and hard to peel. They contain a huge amount of starch and their fruits are moderately dry.

The high level of starch in Russet potatoes makes them as ideal ingredients for fried and baked recipes. However, you should not use them in salad and soup recipes. They can cause sogginess in the dish. Therefore, you should not make them as a replacement for mushroom soups and sauces.

On the flip side, Russet potatoes are usable for dry recipes that include mushrooms. Fried dishes that come with mushroom toppings can be revitalized by the use of this potato variant. You just have to peel the potato and chop it down to your desired shape and size.

Garbanzo Beans

I placed Garbanzo Beans in the last portion because of its innate rarity. This particular ingredient only flourishes in only a few regions of the world. There are two variants for this bean: the smaller one and the bigger one. Each of them can be used in different recipes, but the nutritional value of smaller Garbanzo Beans is higher than its big brother. You can use Garbanzo Beans to replace mushrooms in dry recipes.

 

Before you can use Garbanzo Beans as a substitute for mushrooms, you have to cook them first. This is how you should do it:

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    Examine the beans and remove all those spoiled and rotten ones
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    Rinse them carefully so that you can give them a thorough cleaning.
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    Rinse the beans again in a water-filled pot. Place the pot on your stove and let the beans be boiled for about three minutes. Don't forget to cover the pot.
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    After this, switch off the stove but don't remove the beans yet. Let them stay there for two to three hours.
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    Once done, the beans are already safe to be used as mushroom alternatives.

Conclusion

Mushrooms are ingredients derived from the fungi kingdom. But despite their status, edible mushrooms are still on par with some veggies when it comes to nutritional contents that they have. They are known to curb down health issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Aside from their health benefits, mushrooms are also great in improving the overall taste of various recipes. They elevate the impact and appeal of the dish. That's why it is a sad thing if some people dislike or allergic to them. Their tongues are missing a lot of flavorful palettes.

Fortunately, these mushroom substitutes that I have listed here can somehow cope up with this problem. You just have to use them appropriately so that you can get the best results.

Do you know other alternatives for mushrooms? Share it with us in the comment section below!