In Asian cooking, Shiitake mushrooms are integral to many dishes. The long-storage mushrooms are chewy, meaty, and packed with flavor. While it tastes great on its own or in dishes with other vegetables, there is not always enough time to cook it into a meal.
The first ever mushroom cultivated, the shiitake mushrooms long history and profound flavors has led some to refer to them as “the king of mushrooms”. Unfortunately, fresh shiitake is not easily accessible in all supermarkets, and it is well known that these mushrooms are pricey.
To make matters worse, it is difficult to store shiitakes for future use. When kept in the refrigerator, they will dry out rapidly or turn slimy.
Fortunately, there are a few alternatives that mimic the taste of fresh Shiitake mushrooms without all those downsides. In this article, we explore five great shiitake mushroom alternatives.
Our 5 Best Substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms
If you are looking to make dishes using shiitake mushrooms, but cannot find them, there are many alternatives that can be used instead. Here are five top alternatives for this popular mushroom.
King Oyster Mushrooms
This cultivar of oyster mushrooms is plump, plump, and flavorful. It has a more earthy taste than the white or pink cultivated oyster mushrooms, making it an excellent replacement for that “meaty” element in veggie dishes such as vegan meatballs or vegan steak & potatoes. The texture of the king oyster mushrooms is fairly robust, making it a great option in dishes that are savory.
The mushrooms must be cooked gently in order to extract the best flavors. Also, it is imperative to point out that the mushrooms should be cooked very carefully in order to retain the texture similar to meat.
Also known as crimini mushrooms, Portobellos are an excellent vegetarian alternative to many types of meat, including beef and pork. Their texture is not as robust as some other types of mushrooms, such as king oyster mushrooms, but it holds up well to other intense flavors, such as garlic and soy sauce. Portobello mushrooms can be cooked a variety of ways: roast, roast, bake, and barbecue, or even microwavable, if you are in a pinch. They are also incredibly easy to grow yourself; they are relatively low-maintenance, and there are a number of kits available to let you raise them at home without much fuss.
White or Brown Button Mushrooms
Button mushrooms are so ubiquitous in Western cooking that their abundance has led to a perception of them as boring. However, button mushrooms can be surprisingly delicious when treated well. Button mushrooms are incredibly versatile, you can chop them and use them as a tasty burger or pizza topping, or even incorporate them into dishes such as vegan stroganoff. They are at their best when browned in butter, but can also be sauteed or cooked with vegetables such as onions and tomatoes (for vegan Alfredo sauce).
Also, since button mushrooms are so ubiquitous, you will probably find them in most grocery stores. If you are short on Shiitake mushrooms, but you need a few mushroom options for a dish anyway, give the button mushrooms a shot.
This Japanese White Mushroom is an excellent option for vegetarian dishes. Its smaller size makes it ideal for snacking. Its mild flavor works well in a variety of different types of dishes, making it an ideal substitute for conventional vegetables such as carrots, turnips, or broccoli.
Enoki mushrooms are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, which is why they are particularly useful for vegans and vegetarians who are lacking enough in daily consumption through the foods they eat. One important thing to note is that since enoki mushrooms are small, you can only gather a handful at a time when picking them from the wild. This can make them pretty pricey. It is far more convenient to buy your enoki mushrooms at your local grocer or produce market, especially if you are using them for a topping.
Porcini mushrooms (also known as cepes) are a delicious mushroom species that are perfect for vegetarian dishes. Their taste is mild, which is amplified by the stronger flavors of the dishes that you are adding them to, thus, they are not too overwhelming. They can be cooked a variety of ways, including sauteed, roasted, and baked.
They also have a long shelf life, so if you are looking to stock up on vegetarian ingredients for a potluck or a holiday, porcini mushrooms might be a good choice. Porcini mushrooms are fairly common at grocery stores, but they can be hard to find. You will have better luck looking them up at mom-and-pop stores, smaller grocers, or farmers markets.
You can find our favorite supplements containing Shiitake Mushrooms on the following page of our website to learn more.