Shiitake is one of the most common types of mushrooms in the world. These mushrooms make a great addition to different dishes, mostly due to their rich flavor that fits well with most other ingredients.
As versatile as this mushroom type is, it is anything but irreplaceable. In fact, there are quite a few options you can go for if you are looking for a substitute for shiitake mushrooms. Here are some of them.
1. Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are a perfect choice for a shiitake substitute. They have a similar flavor and texture, so much so that you will not notice a difference at all. Both varieties also have a firm texture and an earthy scent, which will make working with them and cooking them pretty much the same.
This substitute for shiitake mushrooms works in virtually any dish. You can cook portobello mushrooms, grill them, or even make a sauce out of them. You can also make mushroom gummies yourself. Whenever a recipe demands shiitake mushrooms, and you have none, these will make up for it flawlessly.
2. Porcini Mushrooms
Whenever a recipe requires shiitake mushrooms, you can use porcini ones instead. They have a rich nutty taste that will make a great addition to any dish. The mushrooms are delicate and quite fleshy, similar to shiitake mushrooms.
This type of mushroom goes excellent with dishes from most European cuisines. It is excellent for all kinds of brown sauces, and it goes especially well with grilled steak. Moreover, you can also add it in pasta and risottos, where they add a deeply rich flavor you won’t be able to resist.
3. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms can add a sweet seafood-like flavor to your dish. They have such a distinct taste that they can even be used to substitute meat in certain recipes.
There is one difference between these and shiitake mushrooms, though. Oyster mushrooms take almost double the time to cook, and you must cook them thoroughly before eating them. That means that you’ll have to monitor your dish closely as it cooks to avoid your other ingredients burning.
Alternatively, you can pre-cook the mushrooms separately until they are almost done and then add them to your dish. That is a good idea if the meal you are making does not require much cooking.
4. Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini mushrooms are a well-known substitute for shiitake mushrooms. When you note their rich and earthy flavor and firm and fleshy consistency, it is easy to see why.
These mushrooms have brown skin and rounded tips, and they are smooth to the touch. Since they are directly related to portobello mushrooms, you can use this substitute in the same manner.
These mushrooms make an excellent addition to sauces, pasta, and risottos. However, you can also add them to stews and combine them with any type of meat.
5. Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
If you can’t get your hands on any fresh shiitake mushrooms, their dry variant will work just as nicely. Dry ones have a stronger flavor and scent than their fresh counterparts.
If you are worried about how hard dried mushrooms are to slice and cook, there is an easy fix for that. You just need to soak them in water for about half an hour. After you slice them up the way you want, let them soak in cold water for another half hour. They’ll be ready for cooking or frying, and they will taste delicious.
You can use this substitute for shiitake mushrooms in most dishes, from soups to stews. However, since dry mushrooms have a stronger flavor, you might need a bit less than you usually would. As always, it is best to try out your dish during cooking and determine what’s missing.
Tempeh is a traditional Javanese dish. It is made by a unique fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake-like form. It has a strong nutty flavor that is reminiscent of fungi, which is what makes it a perfect substitute for shiitake mushrooms.
You can use tempeh if you are allergic to mushrooms or you are looking for a non-mushroom substitute for other reasons. It fits into most dishes, and it adds the umami flavor that most fungi usually provide.
7. Maitake Mushrooms
These mushrooms are extremely delicate, and they grow in bulk. You can often find them at the bases of oak trees, looking like tiny bouquets on the ground. This mushroom type is quite popular in Asian cuisines, especially in Japan.
These fungi are not the best substitute for shiitake in stews or stir-fries, as they are quite delicate and lack that meaty flavor. However, they are perfect for sauces, side dishes, omelets, or any fried dishes.
While these mushrooms are similar to shiitake flavor-wise, they can be a bit spicy too. You should avoid them if you don’t like that, or just add them in moderation so that you don’t overdo it.
8. Lobster Mushrooms
Lobster mushrooms are easy to spot due to their bright orange color and the tiny white dots that cover their entire surface. However, even if they might be unappealing visually, they have a delicious flavor many people love.
When you first pick these mushrooms, they appear as strange lumps. However, when you open them, you’ll see white meat inside just like in a lobster (hence the name). The mushrooms have a tangy and earthy flavor that will replace shiitake completely in any type of dish.
9. Enoki Mushrooms
This mushroom type is great if you are a flavor-chaser and want to enrich the dish you are making. However, since these mushrooms are delicate, they will not do much for the crunchiness and texture of your meal.
You can use enoki as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms in sauteed dishes, stir-fries, and soups. However, make sure you do not cook them for too long. In fact, only a minute or so over medium heat is enough for them to be ready. That means that you should add them when your dish is already almost done.
You can also eat this substitute for shiitake mushrooms raw. You simply need to cut the mushrooms however you like and add them to your salad. They will make a healthy and savory addition to anything you are having.