Eggplant is one of the most amazing vegetables and is popular in many cuisines. It is filled with the best nutrition and fiber. It has all the vitamins and minerals you need. Unlike a few other vegetables, you cannot have it raw, so it has to be at least cooked well; else, it tastes bitter and mushy when it is natural. But a surprising transformation takes place after cooking when it loses its entire bitterness and sponginess. Post-cooking eggplant will become soft, mushy, creamy, and rich, just like a vegan cheese version, when cooked the right way. Baba Ganoush is one of the examples of how beautiful and unique it becomes after cooking.
However, if you are unable to source the vegetable or are unable to use it due to some lifestyle choice or dietary restriction, you would not be able to enjoy the good recipes it is a part of. But you do not have to worry, as we can always use substitutes that come close to replicating eggplant’s taste, texture, and flavor. We have compiled a few of the best replacements readily available for replacing eggplant. Let’s get started.
Portobello Mushrooms as a Substitute For Eggplant
Portobello Mushrooms are a perfect replacement for eggplant. It matches the color, taste profile, and also texture of eggplant. So you can very well go ahead and replace it. Also, it’s readily available, making its use easy. You can use them in dishes like pizzas, pasta, and moussaka. The best part is it’s a natural replacement that is also vegan. Eggplant is used in many vegan recipes, so vegan substitutes are a significant plus. When substituting in a recipe, use the 1:1 ratio for these mushrooms.
If you can’t find Portobello mushrooms for some reason, your next best option is to use Shiitake Mushrooms. They display the same mild and almost neutral flavor in addition to the exotic umami flavor. Like the Portobello, shiitake can be used in soups, stews, pasta, pizza, stir-fries, etc. Portobello is not available in all world regions like Asian countries, where shiitake mushrooms are commonly found. Apart from being an excellent nutrition source, they also have medicinal properties and are regularly used to treat common health issues. They are large and flexible, giving them the same texture as eggplants after cooking. When substituting in a recipe, use the 1:1 ratio for these mushrooms.
Sometimes people don’t favor mushrooms and eggplants. Then your next best bet would be using a zucchini. Even zucchini has a milder taste and flavor, making it a good alternative. When cooked, they also become less soggy compared to eggplants. Filled with vitamins, minerals, and lots of nutrition, you can use zucchini in food preparations like soups, stews, pasta, pizza, stir-fries, and more. Just because they have a significant water content, ensure to use double the quantity of zucchini when using as a substitute for eggplant. Also, avoid cooking them for too long; else, they lose their texture.
The umami flavor that comes with eggplants gives the preparations their unique taste apart from the rich, creamy texture of the vegetable. Tomatoes also have the same umami flavor, and so are our next best option. However, they are quite different in color, so you have to keep that in mind, as your recipe will look different. When it comes to tomatoes, you can choose either red or green. And just because it’s a tomato, it’s an easy substitute in soups, stews, and pizza and pasta recipes. While preparing dishes like Ratatouille, you can use green tomatoes to improve the presentation and add their beautiful texture to the plate. However, do note that tomatoes will add a distinct tangy flavor, and you may have to reduce the quantity used. Also, if you use red tomatoes instead of green ones, you will have to use twice the amount of green tomatoes.
Okra as a Substitute For Eggplant
Looks like an unlikely choice, right? However, the mild-tasting okra has a slightly grassy flavor and becomes soft after cooking, just like eggplant. The taste is somewhat neutral, like that of eggplant. It also has the unique ability to blend well with all the other ingredients. Though it looks entirely different, it can give the same soft, mushy and creamy texture to preparations and helps fill the gap, mainly when used with other vegetables. Unlike eggplants, okra has a slimy nature which can transfer to dishes, making them a sticky consistency. This may not go well with the recipe and may even spoil it completely. However, if you soak okra in vinegar for a few minutes and dry them out, it will remove the stickiness coming from the slimy substance. Slow cooking releases the slimy substance, and it won’t happen if you fast cook the food.
Tofu as a Substitute For Eggplant
Another good alternative that matches the color, taste, and texture is a vegan option, making it a great substitute. The mild flavor ensures it goes well with any recipe it is used in. Even soups, stews, stir-fries, salads, and such. Also, it’s readily available and not expensive.
You can also use root vegetables and squash as a replacement. Root vegetables like turnips have a mild flavor and are soft, making them easier to blend well in recipes. If turnips are not available, you can use rutabagas similar in taste and texture. Other root vegetables like carrots, yam, and beet can also be used.
The choice of the best substitute will depend on the recipe and your preferences. If you want it to look the same, you will have to choose a replacement of the same color. Also, some replacements may not be an excellent fit for all recipes. Like tomatoes are great for pizza, pasta, and stews, their distinct tangy flavor may not be perfect for other preparations that need a neutral to mild taste. The availability of replacements like mushrooms can also be an issue as their cost because eggplants are relatively inexpensive vegetables. I hope you liked the information shared in the article.