Horseradish is a pretty distinct condiment, but clever chefs find ways to substitute other options in case horseradish isn't readily available, or when cooking for someone who's not a fan of the pungent flavor.
If you're looking for a slight variation on horseradish, reach for some wasabi, which you may know and love as a sushi restaurant staple. But here's a secret: Fresh wasabi, a plant native to Japan with a thick green root, is rarely found in the United States. The green paste sold as wasabi in the U.S. is often an imitation made from strong domestic horseradish root and green food coloring. Use about half the amount of wasabi as horseradish. For example, if you're making cocktail sauce, add 1 tablespoon of wasabi and taste.
Spicy Hot Mustard
Try a spicy hot mustard if you're looking for a different taste but a similar pungency. Choose a type of spicy mustard according to the consistency of the horseradish being replaced. If the recipe calls for horseradish sauce, go for a creamier mustard. If you're substituting for ground horseradish, use a stone-ground mustard. If you need freshly grated horseradish, you may want to use ground spicy brown mustard seeds.
For a less spicy dish, use freshly grated ginger root. If the recipe calls for horseradish oil, substitute similar amounts of ginger oil. To replace prepared horseradish, use slightly more ground ginger.
Wasabi is another form of horseradish. Do not use it if you or anyone you're cooking for is allergic to horseradish.
As a professional writer since 1985, Bridgette Redman's career has included journalism, educational writing, book authoring and training. She's worked for daily newspapers, an educational publisher, websites, nonprofit associations and individuals. She is the author of two blogs, reviews live theater and has a weekly column in the "Lansing State Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.