Horseradish is a spicy root vegetable with a peppery taste that's related to the mustard and wasabi plant families. You only need a little bit to give some zest to a dish. But what has a similar taste that can be used in place of horseradish? The following are the best horseradish substitutes that are also easy to find at your local grocery store.
Wasabi paste is the best substitute for horseradish. In store bought wasabi paste, horseradish is the main ingredient along with green food coloring and a tiny bit of wasabi. Even so, it is usually stronger than regular horseradish. When you are using wasabi paste for a substitute, start with half the amount of horseradish that the recipe calls for.
Spicy Brown Mustard
Yellow mustard won’t work as an alternative but spicy brown is a good substitute. It has a similar spice level to horseradish and can be substituted in equal quantities. It’s close enough in flavor and spice level to be a great alternative.
Fresh Ginger Root
Depending on the flavor of the dish, ginger can be a good substitute. It could add a little spice to your dish but it can also add unwanted flavor if too much ginger is used. It is less spicy than horseradish though so if you are looking for less intensity, this could also be a good option. Because of the flavor, substitute half the amount for the horseradish.
What is horseradish typically used for?
Horseradish isn't a very common ingredient in recipes. However, the following savory dishes and recipes often use horseradish.
Bloody Mary - A Bloody Mary is simply tomato juice, horseradish, vodka, celery and spices. Are you looking for a great Bloody Mary recipe? Check out this one from Food and Wine.
Cocktail Sauce -Cocktail sauce is basically ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and a little Worcestershire sauce (find a vegan brand or leave it out). If you want it really spicy, add some hot sauce. If you’re looking for a great recipe, check out this recipe by the Food Network Kitchen.
Dips and Sauces - Cream sauces and dips contain horseradish at times. My all time favorite veggie dip features horseradish along with vegan sour cream and vegan mayo. The horseradish gives it a unique flavor. Click here to see the recipe for Easy Vegan Veggie Dip.
Q & A
1. What's the difference between horseradish root, prepared horseradish, and horseradish sauce? You can use fresh horseradish root and grind it up to use as is. Or you can use it to make prepared horseradish. Prepared horseradish is ground horseradish root with vinegar, water and salt. You can find it in grocery stores in a jar in the refrigerated section. Most recipes call for prepared horseradish. Horseradish sauce contains prepared horseradish along with a creamy component such as mayo or sour cream.
2. What is wasabi? Wasabi, also known as Japanese horseradish, has a pungent flavor. According to Taste of Home, "True wasabi is made from the rhizome (like a plant stem that grows underground where you would expect to see a root) of the Wasabia japonica plant. Its signature clean spiciness comes from allyl isothiocyanate instead of pepper’s capsaicin. This is why people sometimes describe a feeling of wasabi heat going “up their nose” when they take a bite. The scent receptors for wasabi are packed tight in our nasal passages!"
3. What are the different types of wasabi? There are 3 forms of wasabi: wasabi paste, wasabi powder, and wasabi root. Wasabi root is just the root part of the plant. It can be used to make Wasabi powder. Wasabi powder is the dried Japanese horseradish in powder form. It can be used to make the wasabi paste.
4. Am I eating wasabi paste with my sushi? Most likely, no. Real wasabi is very expensive. Most Japanese restaurants serve "fake" wasabi paste which is just horseradish, mustard, and green coloring. You can think of it more like horseradish paste.
Horseradish can add a spicy kick to your recipes. If you don't have any horseradish, the best option would be to use wasabi paste which is mostly made of horseradish anyway. Spicy mustard is also a good alternative. Your last choice would be fresh ginger which has a less spicy flavor but can still add a little heat.