14 Substitutes For Mushrooms: What to Use as a Replacement

Mushroom Substitutes: What to Use When You Can’t Find Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a key ingredient in many dishes, but what do you do when you can’t find them or they’re out of season? Never fear, mushroom substitutes are here!

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between mushroom substitutes.

We’ll also provide the exact ratios to use as a replacement when substituting and give examples of how we’ve used the substitutes.

With this information, you’ll be able to easily swap for an alternative that tastes the same or similar.

A Little About Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a type of fungi that generally grow in dark, moist environments. They can be found in a variety of settings, including forests, grasslands, and even your backyard. While some mushrooms are edible, others are poisonous. As such, it’s important to know which types of mushrooms you can eat before you go foraging.

There are many different types of edible mushrooms, including oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms. Mushrooms can be used in a variety of recipes, from soups and stews to pizzas and pasta dishes. One of the most popular ways to cook mushrooms is to grill them. Simply slice the mushrooms and toss them on the grill with some olive oil and garlic. You can also add them to kebabs or roast them in the oven.

Mushrooms are a delicious and versatile ingredient that can add depth and flavor to any dish.

Substitutes For Mushrooms:

  1. Tofu
  2. Zucchini
  3. Eggplant
  4. Tempeh
  5. Caramelized Onions
  6. Sun-dried Tomatoes
  7. Artichoke Hearts
  8. Squash
  9. Olives
  10. Lentils
  11. Garbanzo Beans
  12. Leeks
  13. Potatoes
  14. Seitan


Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a food made from soy milk that has been coagulated and pressed into solid blocks. It is an excellent source of protein and is often used as a meat or dairy substitute in vegan and vegetarian dishes.

While it is flavorless on its own, tofu readily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients, making it a versatile ingredient in cooking. When substituting tofu for mushrooms, it is important to choose a firm variety and to avoid stews and soups, as the soft texture of tofu can be unappealing in these dishes.

Tofu can be marinated to impart flavor, or it can be added to stir-fries, sauces, and other cooked dishes. In addition to being a delicious substitute for mushrooms, tofu is also a good source of calcium and iron.


While some might find the idea of substituting mushrooms for zucchini sacrilegious, in certain dishes the bitter-sweet flavor and soft texture of zucchini actually work quite well as a stand-in for the meaty umami of mushrooms.

One such dish is pasta alla bolognese. Typically, mushrooms are added to the ragù to provide depth of flavor; however, zucchini can also be used to great effect.

When thinly sliced and cooked slowly over low heat, zucchini breaks down and becomes almost indistinguishable from mushrooms.

Another case where zucchini makes a good substitute for mushrooms is in a vegetable stir-fry. Here, the zucchini’s sweetness pairs nicely with the other flavors in the dish, and its firm texture holds up well when cooked quickly over high heat.

So next time you’re looking for a mushroom substitute, don’t overlook the humble zucchini.


Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in many dishes. Eggplant has high water content, so it gives dishes a similar spongy texture to mushrooms.

In addition, eggplant is lower in calories and fat than some mushrooms, making it a healthy option. Eggplant is also a good source of carbs, protein, potassium, and fiber.

When using eggplant as a mushroom substitute, it is important to cook the eggplant thoroughly to soften its skin and reduce the bitterness.

Eggplant can be diced and added to soups or stir-fries, or it can be sliced and roasted or grilled as a side dish. Eggplant is a flavorful and healthy option for those looking for a mushroom substitute.


Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originated in Indonesia. It is made by culturing cooked soybeans with a special mold, and it has a nutty, earthy flavor that is similar to mushrooms.

Tempeh can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in many different dishes. For example, it can be used in stir-fries, soups, and pasta sauces.

Additionally, tempeh makes an excellent vegetarian burger patty or meatball. Not only does tempeh have a similar taste and texture to mushrooms, but it also provides many health benefits.

Fermented soybeans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. They have also been shown to boost the immune system and promote gut health. As a result, using tempeh as a mushroom substitute can be a delicious and nutritious way to improve your diet.

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions are a delicious sweet and savory treat that can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in many recipes. While they lack the earthy flavor of mushrooms, caramelized onions can add a touch of sweetness to recipes that call for mushrooms.

They can also be used to add color and texture to dishes. When choosing a recipe to substitute caramelized onions for mushrooms, it is important to consider the other flavors in the dish.

If the recipe calls for strong flavors like garlic or ginger, you may want to add a bit more of these spices to balance out the sweetness of the onions.

Caramelized onions can be used in place of mushrooms in soups, stews, pasta dishes, pizzas, and more. So next time you’re in the mood for something different, give them a try!

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent substitute for mushrooms in many recipes. They have a sweet, tart flavor that pairs well with a variety of other ingredients, and they can be used in both cooked and raw dishes.

Sun-dried tomatoes are also a good source of antioxidants and vitamins A and C. When substituting sun-dried tomatoes for mushrooms, it is important to keep in mind that they will need to be rehydrated before use.

This can be done by soaking them in warm water for about 10 minutes. Once they are rehydrated, sun-dried tomatoes can be used in any recipe that calls for mushrooms.

Artichoke Hearts

While mushrooms are a popular ingredient in many dishes, they are not for everyone. Some people find the taste and texture of mushrooms to be off-putting, while others have allergies that make them unable to eat them.

Luckily, several substitutes can be used in place of mushrooms, including artichoke hearts. Artichoke hearts have a mildly sweet flavor with a slightly nutty undertone.

They also have a meaty and soft texture, making them a perfect stand-in for mushrooms. In addition to tasting great, artichoke hearts are also packed with nutrients like fiber and antioxidants.

So if you’re looking for a mushroom substitute that is both delicious and nutritious, artichoke hearts are a great option.


While mushrooms and squash may not seem like natural substitutes for one another, they have a lot in common. Both mushrooms and squash are low in calories and fat, and they have a slightly earthy flavor that can complement other ingredients.

In addition, mushrooms and squash are both good sources of dietary fiber. However, squash has a slightly sweeter flavor than mushrooms, making it a good choice for dishes that require a bit of sweetness.

For example, roasted squash can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in a classic Italian pasta dish. The sweetness of the squash helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, while the rich flavor of the squash pairs well with the pasta.

Roasted squash is also an excellent substitution for mushrooms in soup or risotto. The slightly sweet flavor of the squash will add depth to these dishes without overpowering other ingredients.


Chickpeas are a high-protein legume that can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in some cases. They have a similar texture to mushrooms, making them a good choice for dishes where texture is important.

Additionally, their bland flavor means they will not alter the taste of the dish. However, there are some disadvantages to using chickpeas as a substitute for mushrooms.

They are significantly higher in carbohydrates than mushrooms, so they may not be suitable for people on low-carb diets. Additionally, their high fiber content can cause digestive issues for some people.

Overall, chickpeas are a viable substitute for mushrooms in some cases, but it is important to consider the potential drawbacks before using them.


Olives are a popular ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, and they can also be used as a substitute for mushrooms in some cases.

Olives have a salty flavor that can help to enhance the flavor of a dish, and they can also add texture and visual interest. Additionally, olives are a good source of nutrients.

When substituting olives for mushrooms, it is important to consider the other flavors in the dish and adjust accordingly. For example, if a dish is already salty, you may want to use fewer olives or choose a different type of olive with a milder flavor.

In general, olives work well as a substitute in dishes that feature other bold flavors.


Lentils are a great option for dishes that call for cooked mushrooms. Their small size and round shape make them a perfect match for diced or minced mushrooms.

And when cooked, lentils have a similar texture to mushrooms – they’re soft but still have a bit of bite. As far as flavor goes, lentils won’t give you the same earthy umami notes as mushrooms, but they will add a touch of protein-rich savoriness to your dish.

Just be sure to season accordingly.

Lentils are also an excellent stand-in for crumbled or ground mushrooms. If a recipe calls for mushroom powder or mushroom paste, simply substitute an equal amount of lentil flour


In many recipes, mushrooms can be swapped out for leeks. Leeks have a mild onion flavor and are often used in soups and stews.

When substituting leeks for mushrooms, it is important to avoid overcooking them. This will help to maintain their flavor and texture.

Leeks are also a good choice for those who are looking for a low-calorie or vegan alternative to mushrooms. When substituting leeks for mushrooms, it is important to cook them thoroughly but not for very long.

This will help to prevent the formation of harmful bacteria. Leeks are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes. With a little creativity, they can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in many recipes.


While they might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind, potatoes can make a great substitute for mushrooms in many recipes.

For one, they have a similar earthy flavor that can complement other earthy ingredients like onions and garlic. Additionally, potatoes have a dryer texture than mushrooms, which can be helpful in dishes where you want to avoid adding too much moisture.

For example, mashed potatoes can be a great way to add body to a soup or stew without making it watery. So next time you’re looking for a mushroom substitute, don’t overlook the humble potato.


Seitan, also known as wheat gluten, is a popular meat substitute made from wheat flour. It has a chewy texture and mild flavor that makes it ideal for stir-fries, stews, and other hearty dishes.

Additionally, seitan is a good source of protein and iron, making it a nutritious choice for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. While mushrooms are often used as a meat substitute due to their similar texture, seitan is a better option in many cases.

First, seitan is less likely to cause gastrointestinal distress than mushrooms, making it a safer choice for those with sensitive stomachs.

Second, seitan absorbs flavors very easily, so it can be seasoned to taste like almost any type of meat.

Finally, seitan is lower in calories and fat than some types of mushrooms, making it a healthier option in many cases. For these reasons, seitan is an excellent substitute for mushrooms in many recipes.

FAQs About Mushrooms And Mushroom Substitutes

What are some substitutes for mushrooms?

Some substitutes for mushrooms include lentils, leeks, potatoes, and seitan.

What is the best mushroom substitute?

The best mushroom substitute depends on the dish you are making and your personal preferences.

How do you substitute mushrooms in a recipe?

To substitute mushrooms in a recipe, you will need to use an equal amount of the mushroom substitute (in most cases).

Can any mushroom be substituted for another mushroom?

While some mushrooms can be substituted for others, not all mushroom substitutes are created equal. Be sure to choose a mushroom substitute that is similar in taste and texture to the mushroom you are replacing.

What if I can’t find the specific mushroom called for in a recipe?

If you can’t find the specific mushroom called for in a recipe, you can use any mushroom that is similar in taste and texture.

What if I don’t like a certain mushroom substitute?

There are plenty of other substitutes to choose from. Just remember to adjust the ratios according to the mushroom variety you’re using as a replacement.

What is the most popular mushroom?

While there are many different types of mushrooms, the most popular mushroom is the white button mushroom.

What is a large mushroom called?

A large mushroom is typically called a portobello mushroom.

Can I use mushroom powder as a substitute?

Yes, mushroom powder can be used as a substitute for fresh mushrooms. Just make sure to use less mushroom powder than the recipe calls for fresh mushrooms.

Can mushrooms substitute vegetables?

While mushrooms are not technically a vegetable, they can be used as a substitute for vegetables in some dishes. For example, mushroom stir-fries are a great way to get your mushroom fix without having to use any other vegetables.

Final Thoughts

Mushroom substitutes are a great way to add flavor and variety to your dishes when you can’t find the mushroom you’re looking for. I love cooking with mushrooms, but sometimes they can be a little hard to find.

That’s when mushroom substitutes come in handy. I’ve used mushroom substitutes in a variety of dishes, and they’ve all turned out great. One of my favorite mushroom-substitute recipes is mushroom stir-fry. I usually make it with portobello mushrooms, but you could use any type of mushroom you like.

There are many different types of mushroom substitutes, so be sure to experiment and find the one that best suits your needs.