Horseradish sauce is a sauce option that is renowned for its heat and earthy flavor. It isn’t so popular, but those who know how to work with it love its offering.
However, you could be looking to swap it out for something else in a recipe. Whether for experimentation purposes or something else, it’s possible to search for horseradish sauce substitutes.
So, what is the best substitute for horseradish sauce? Wasabi paste serves as the ideal substitute for horseradish sauce primarily because of their similar taste profiles. While it might be a tad challenging to find, it provides just about everything you could want in horseradish sauce.
An Overview of Horseradish Sauce
Horseradish is a root that is obtained from a hardy plant in the Brassica family. It is prevalent for being fleshy and pungent-tasting, although it feels smooth and doesn’t come with an odor when you uproot it.
With horseradish root, you get a hot, spicy root that many believe has different health benefits. With a complex flavor and distinct taste, it’s challenging to miss horseradish. You can also make a lovely sauce out of it, providing a peppery and earthy flavor that works with various dishes. Horseradish sauce works primarily as a table relish and as a condiment, mainly thanks to the spicy and hot properties.
When consuming horseradish sauce, you want to be careful. A small serving is enough to rock your taste buds and bring you to tears. The sensation might only linger for a few moments, but it’s still considerable.
Beyond serving as a standalone sauce, you can also add horseradish sauce to mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and more.
Why Replace Horseradish Sauce?
- Excess heat: As explained earlier, horseradish sauce comes with excess heat. Some people might not like it so much, and they’ll need substitutes that can work in its stead.
- Taste considerations: If you don’t like the earthy flavor of horseradish sauce, you could look out for a few substitutes that will work for you instead.
- Non-availability: Horseradish sauce is still relatively scarce. So, substitutes will need to work in its place when you can’t find it.
Options for Horseradish Sauce Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Horseradish Sauce: Wasabi Paste
Wasabi paste functions as the ideal substitute for horseradish sauce primarily because it comes with a similar flavor profile. Both are from the same family – Brassica. So, it’s easy to see why they are so similar.
Wasabi paste originates from Japan. It is so similar to horseradish sauce that most recipes outside the country are just combinations of horseradish sauce and green coloring. So, you can see that the distinctions between the two of them aren’t so much.
Wasabi paste might be a tad challenging to find, but you should definitely look for it if you’re searching for a horseradish sauce substitute. It provides some sweetness to it as well, combining that with some soft floral notes to provide an even more palatable offering.
That said, there are some challenges with wasabi paste. Its overly green pigment means that it might not be so ideal for some dishes. For instance, if you’re serving cream sauce and roast beef, the green wasabi paste might look a tad out of place. Still, if you’re not so conscious about color matches, wasabi paste works fine.
You also want to be careful about allergies. Some people might be allergic to wasabi paste, so they will need to look for another substitute.
For quantity, you can use wasabi paste as a one-for-one horseradish sauce substitute. You want to note that it packs a bit of a flavor punch as well. So, take things slow, and you’ll be fine.
Best Texture-Based Substitute: Mustard
Like wasabi, mustard comes from the same family as horseradish. So, they have certain similarities. While mustard might not taste so much like horseradish, it has a thick texture, just like the latter. So, it works pretty well as a substitute.
If you have some mustard seeds, you can easily grind them to highlight their flavor. Mustard also has a similar pungent characteristic as horseradish sauce, which many avid fans will appreciate.
Usually, most experts will suggest going for brown mustard. This variant has a high amount of mustard seeds, providing a peppery flavor profile that is similar to horseradish. Brown mustard is also an ideal visual substitute. With its light-brown color, it is much closer to the off-white color of horseradish than the pale-green wasabi paste.
Keep in mind that an ideal mustard recipe will use mustard that’s similar to your dish’s requirements. So, while brown mustard might seem like the ideal choice, you want to check and see if there are other options available to you. For instance, your meal could go better with creamy dijon mustard than brown mustard. Just be careful with the application.
All in all, mustard is a one-for-one substitute for horseradish sauce. So, you don’t have to worry about application volumes.
Best Available Substitute: Fresh Ginger
Fresh ginger is an ideal substitute if you’re looking to maintain the texture profile of horseradish sauce. It is also more accessible – it’s hard to see a kitchen or convenience store without ginger today.
With fresh ginger, you have fibers that look and feel like those of horseradish sauce. It also packs some heat, with a flavor mix of lemony, peppery, and earthy. It isn’t nearly as hot as horseradish, however, as it begins cooling off once it touches your tongue.
For quantity, you have a bit of consideration here. Most experts recommend adding more ginger than horseradish, especially if you’re looking to get more heat. However, you also want to watch the flavor of the dish. Ginger has a pretty intense and pungent flavor, and it runs the risk of overwhelming your dish.
To prevent the dish from tasting unpleasant, you might use conservative amounts of ginger. It’s better to have less heat than an overly unpleasant taste in your dish.