Mushrooms are mysteriously, contingently delicious. Cremini mushrooms are "all purpose" mushrooms, and can be used from soups and sauces to burgers and barbecues. But you don’t have them? Tastessence gives you some direct and indirect substitutions.
Don’t add salt or soak mushrooms in water for too long, as mushrooms contain a large amount of water, and adding salt early will draw out this moisture and impair the texture of your mushrooms, making the dish mushy.
Are you making a yummy meatless burger, but oh! You realize that you are running short of creminis? Are you considering a scrumptious barbecue for the evening, but unfortunately don’t have cremini mushrooms to toss upon? Or is it the luscious mushroom soup on your mind, but no cremini at home? Cheer up for we are helping you out with the substitutions.
To find a substitute for mushrooms, think of what they taste like; think of how they feel in your mouth. You have to try them and simulate both the texture and some of the flavor components. If you cannot find the exact type of mushrooms (not just cremini) that you are looking for, feel free to replace the variety with a readily available mushroom. Most of the table mushrooms that we eat are all of the same variety, namely, Agaricus bisporus, and it includes portobello, cremini, and white button mushrooms. The best alternatives that we found out for cremini mushrooms are as under.
White Button Mushrooms
Alternate names: Table mushroom, supermarket mushroom, cultivated mushroom, common mushroom, button, and champignon mushroom.
White button mushrooms are the most readily available type of mushrooms in the supermarkets that are available all year round. Their color may vary from bright white to an off-white, and they are clean and visually attractive. They have a delicate flavor and a fine texture. Both white button mushrooms and cremini mushrooms have a light flavor, and are almost of the same size. When a recipe asks for whole cremini mushrooms, or when the size and shape of the cremini is important to the recipe, white button is the best alternative. They are perfect to use raw in salads or with dips, but flavorful if cooked, so they should mostly be cooked when using in replacement to cremini.
Tip: Sensational to use in barbecues, pasta dishes, and stir fries.
Alternate names: Portabella, Portabello, Portabellini, field mushroom, open cap mushroom, and giant cremini.
In recipes that require cremini mushrooms, a portobello mushroom can be used as the best replacement since it is a larger, fully-grown version of the cremini. These are available in all seasons. They have a fleshy texture and earthy taste, since they lose some moisture owing to their large size. This makes them ideal for grilling, roasting, and baking.
Tip: They bring depth to sauces and pastas and are fantastic when used in meat burgers or on barbecues.
Alternate names: Shitake, oak, black forest, black winter, brown oak, black mushroom, oriental black, Chinese black, forest mushroom, golden oak, Donko, and Shiang ku.
Shiitakes are brown in color and have a soft, spongy quality producing a woodsy, slightly meatier texture more like creminis; their shape and size are similar too. Avoid dried shiitake mushrooms, and use fresh ones instead. So when you need to give a rich flavor and a distinctive aroma to your delicacy, shiitake will be the best fit. Also, these are medicinally useful.
Tip: Some people find them too chewy, but these are great in stir-fries, stews, sauces, pasta, and risotto, or when simply tossed on barbecues.
Alternate names: Garden egg, melongene, guinea squash, and sometimes “brinjal”.
Are you allergic to mushrooms? Do you have a hard time finding a substitute in dishes where mushrooms aren’t the star player, but figure prominently in the dish? Eggplant can play a great cremini mushroom substitute.
Tip: Eggplants have the much-needed flavor and meaty consistency, as that of cremini, making them a perfect meat substitute too, in case you’re a vegetarian.
Some savory alternatives, those which you probably have at home, are listed below. These can be used when cremini mushroom plays a smaller part of a recipe, that which asks for very mild flavors.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower has a very dense, meaty texture. It can take on different flavors. So, to compensate for the lack of mushroom flavor, you might add extra spices and marinades.
Ground chickpeas: When recipes call for cremini mushrooms, they are usually referring to the smaller size of mushrooms. Ground chickpeas minced in spices and then deep-fried can become a good substitute for cremini mushrooms, for they are small in size and give the necessary bite to the dish. You can add eggs to relish your recipe.
Marinated tofu: Cubed tofu can be used as a replacement to cremini mushrooms, provided it should be marinated in a vegetable broth, giving it the mushroom-esque flavor.
Zucchini: Cremini mushrooms do have a slightly fleshy flavor, but there are times when it is incorporated in dishes that don’t demand much flavor, but just for the bulk and texture. In such cases, zucchini can be used. They have absorbent qualities like creminis, and so can sponge other spices and flavors added by you in the recipe.
We can never find an exact substitute for any ingredient or thing. But we hope that this article soothed you with cremini substitutions. Try mincing them out in other vegetables and spices.