15 Food Similar to Applesauce

This is a bowl of applesauce with cinnamon and fresh apples.

Applesauce is a sauce made from apples that has a very loose definition. Made with peeled or unpeeled apples, served chunky or processed, flavored or unflavored, applesauce comes in many different options. Widely used as a snack for babies, applesauce is actually used all over the globe as everything from a side dish to a dessert.

In Sweden and Britain, applesauce is served alongside roasted pork and goose. Danish cuisine actually combines their pork with applesauce during the cooking process. Cuisines in Europe use applesauce as a component for latkes, which are a type of potato pancake commonly made in celebration of Hanukkah. Pierogi are often served with applesauce drizzled over top.

Any type of apple can be used to make applesauce. Sour apples like a Granny Smith tend to hold up better during the process but some recipes call for sweeter apples. The type of sauce served with different meals depends on the protein.

Sour applesauce compliments a meat dish and sweet sauces are often used in desserts. Applesauce works well as a substitute in recipes in place of fat or eggs too. Considering how popular applesauce is, it’s easy to wonder if there are any other foods that are similar to applesauce out there.

When it comes to applesauce-adjacent foods they tend to fall into a few different categories: Pureed food, soft food, soups, and juices.

Avocados

This is a close look at fresh sliced avocados on the table.

Avocados fall into the soft food category. They are the fruit of the avocado tree found largely in tropical settings. While ripe the flesh of this giant berry is smooth and soft, the outer covering is often harvested while still firm and the fruit is allowed to ripen in the store or after being bought.

Avocados have a wide range of culinary uses. High in healthy fats, it can be used in any recipe that calls for fats like butter or lard. Avocados handle smoking and are readily added to salads and dips.

Avocado oil is used in place of different cooking oils. It can be eaten raw or cooked for a very short time. A ripe avocado is spreadable, can be blended or chopped with ease, and is a very common component of salsa. In Morocco and Ethiopia, avocado is featured in drinks such as milkshakes or juice by adding chocolate, sugar, or milk.

Bananas

This is a close look at fresh sliced bananas in a bowl.

Bananas are another common fruit that is technically a berry. Wild bananas are full of seeds, unlike the modern variety you can find in a store. Native to Indomalaya and Australia, bananas are grown in over 100 countries for their fruit, fiber, and ornamental plants.

Like avocados, bananas are picked while green and allowed to ripen in stores or at home. They are refrigerated during transport to avoid them spoiling before they hit the produce section shelves. Bananas are thought to have a high potassium count, but in reality, they have less than a baked potato, cooked soybeans, or even mushrooms.

Bananas are actually a great source of starch and are used in place of other starchy vegetables in some countries. Because of their ability to thicken during the cooking process, bananas are great in pancakes either as an additive or in the batter itself. Plantains are used in stew, curry, or mashed the same way potatoes are. They can be baked, fried, or steamed.

Creamed Corn

This is a bowl of creamed corn soup on a table.

Creamed corn is somewhere on the spectrum between a soft food and a soup. It is a type of creamed vegetable dish made by combining whole corn kernels with a liquid like milk or cream. Traditional methods achieve the creamed consistency by pulping corn kernels after they’ve been removed from the cob itself.

Some cuisines puree the corn kernels while others prefer to leave them whole for added texture. Creamed corn can be eaten alone or topped with cheese, seasonings such as chili flakes and pepper, or topped with spicy jalapeno to offset the mild, corn flavor. Other creamed vegetable dishes include but are not limited to creamed spinach, creamed peas, and creamy potatoes.

Juice

This is a tray filled with fresh fruit juices and fruits.

Juices have their own category. Unlike applesauce, which is thick or chunky, the juice is usually smooth and sweet although pulpy varieties are rather popular. Juice is made today by using machines to squeeze or macerate fruits and vegetables without using heat.

Most commercial juices are filtered to remove any leftover pieces of the fruit or vegetable to make the juice more palatable, with the exception of orange juice which comes in a variety of different pulp options from thick to thin. Most juices are sweet but it is worth noting that savory juices do exist. Tomato juice drinks like V8 or Clamato are very popular, with many people using them as a full helping of vegetables or a quick meal on the go.

Because juice is the concentrated form of fruit and veggies their flavor is often much stronger than the fruit or vegetable itself. For example, grape juice is very sweet, but eating a handful of grapes offer nowhere near the level of sweetness as a small glass of juice. There are some health benefits to drinking juice, particularly using juice in place of soda but juice should never replace actual food and water.

Watermelon

This is a look at fresh watermelon slices on a chopping board.

Watermelon is a soft fruit found all over the globe. It grows on a vine and has over 1000 different varieties worldwide. Favoring tropical environments because it needs water, the watermelon is a berry with a hard outer rind that is green with green striped in a lighter or darker shade.

Modern watermelon varieties are much more resistant to disease than their wild variants, and some cultivars are even ready to be picked in as little as 100 days. Although watermelon is usually eaten raw or slightly chilled, the rind is used in many cuisines after being pickled. The rind is mostly tasteless, but offers a subtle sweetness and adopts different flavors and spices easily.

Watermelon can be juiced or pureed to a consistency similar to applesauce as well. Being about 91% water, watermelon can be a great way to hydrate if you or someone you love is averse to drinking plain water.

Soup

This is a close look at a warm bowl of pumpkin soup.

Soup is a category that, at first glance, seems wildly different from applesauce. While this is true for soups that are constructed from broth with vegetables and protein floating within, some soups are remarkably similar to applesauce in that the ingredients are blended, mashed, and thickened to a souplike consistency that can be slurped with a spoon or drank from a glass.

Purees, bisques, and veloutes are three prime examples of soup that resemble applesauce. Purees are vegetable-based soups thickened with starches like corn starch powder, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even corn. Bisques are made from pureed shellfish or vegetables and are thickened with cream or bechamel sauce.

Think lobster bisque. Veloutes are thickened with eggs, butter, and cream making them the most decadent of the three options. Other variants of this style of soup are thickened with rice, lentils, and other grains. Pulse soups like split pea soup vary wildly in consistency from a spreadable paste to a smooth green juice-like liquid.

There are also cold soups that are served mostly as desserts. Che from Vietnam is a cold soup that is made from ingredients such as taro, mung bean, jackfruit, or durian that is sweetened with sugar and coconut milk. Sawine from Trinidad and Tobago is made with milk, spices, vermicelli, almonds, and dried fruits.

Cold soups don’t have to be chilled either. Often a cold soup is merely room temperature instead of being heated. Cold soups can be sweet or savory such as gazpacho or vichyssoise.

Fruit soups can be served cold or warm depending on the ingredients, with the broth containing alcoholic beverages, milk, or cream. A popular fruit soup in Hungary is sour cherry soup, which is made with sour cream, sour cherries, and sugar. In China, they offer chilled mango soup in the summertime.

Potato

This is a close look at a sack of potatoes on a wooden table.

Potatoes are adored all over the world because of their incredible versatility. The potato is a tuber that is dug up and prepared in a wide range of ways for different reasons. Potatoes can be baked, boiled and mashed, fried, powdered, pureed, baked, or used in other recipes.

Potatoes can be used to brew different alcoholic beverages like vodka. They are used as a food source for livestock. Their powdered starch is used as a thickener in soups, sauce, and even glue.

If using potatoes as a substitute for applesauce, stick to savory dishes. Boil and mash or puree the potatoes and the resulting sauce can be used to add body and flavor to most dishes that call for applesauce. It can also be eaten alone as-is if desired.

Soft potato dishes include poutine, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato soup, hash browns, or latkes.

Porridge

A bowl of porridge with toppings options on the side.

Porridge refers to a breakfast cereal dish made of ground, crushed, or chopped grains that have been boiled in milk. It can be eaten plain or served with different toppings like sugar, honey, dried fruits, or fruit syrup. Savory versions are topped with spices, meats, or vegetables.

Different types of porridge include oatmeal, gruel, congee, cream of rice, cream of wheat, Genfo, or Spelt porridge. Although typically served as a breakfast option, porridge has a history of being used as a meal throughout the day when times were tough. Today porridge is still a staple in many people’s diets because of how readily available it is.

Couscous

This is a close look at the couscous dish on the table.

Couscous is an African dish of tiny steamed balls made from wheat. This grain is a staple throughout Morroco and Libya and is also popular in France and America. Preparation is similar to rice in that couscous is steamed in boiled water until it is fluffy and slightly gelatinous.

It can be seasoned and served alone or with toppings such as meat, vegetables, and sometimes seafood. Dessert couscous is made by cooking the grain in milk imbued with orange flower water and topped with almonds, cinnamon, and sugar.

Polenta

This is a polenta dish with butter and cheese in a bowl.

Polenta is a dish made from boiling cornmeal. It can be served porridge style or shaped into a loaf that is cooled and cut into thick slices that are then baked, fried, or grilled. Buckwheat and maize can also be used to make polenta but most places that offer it on their menu are offering the cornmeal variety.

Quinoa

This is a bowl of quinoa salad with vegetables.

Quinoa is the seeds of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, a member of the amaranth family. it is rich in protein, B vitamins, and dietary minerals. Quinoa is prepared just like rice and couscous, with quick-cook pouches readily available in big box stores. it can be white, yellow, or a deep purplish-red in color and after cooking will have small white spirals coming out of the seeds.

Risotto

This is a close look at a plate of mushroom risotto.

Risotto is a rice dish originating from Northern Italy that is cooked with broth until it reaches a thick, creamy consistency. The broth used can be meat, fish, or vegetable, with wine often being used to help impart flavor. Many types of risotto include vegetables like mushrooms or peas along with onion and parmesan cheese.

Risotto is often served as its own course just before the main course in Italy, but in America, it is served as a side dish or eaten alone. Depending on the ingredients used to prepare risotto it can be a nutritionally complete dish or used to round out caloric needs for the day.

Baked beans

A close look at baked beans in a skillet.

Baked beans is a very loose term referring to beans that are baked in a few different ways. In the United States, different types of beans like white beans are baked at a low temperature for a long time, often in preparation to make refried beans or mashed beans. In the United Kingdom, beans are baked or stewed in a sauce.

Native Americans baked beans in maple syrup to make a thick, sweet bean dish. Most baked bean recipes are made from navy beans or haricot beans, but white beans are also used fairly often. They are eaten hot or cold, served on top of toast, or straight out a can.

Nut butters

This is a close look at a jar of peanut butter with peanuts.

Nut butter is a butter made from nuts, most notably peanuts although other nut butter are becoming more readily available in stores. Almond, cashew, and hazelnut butter are the most common to the American eye, but sesame seed butter (tahini) is pretty common in the Asian ingredient aisle.

Hummus is also considered a nut butter, although many people consider it a vegetable spread. Nut butter can be eaten alone or used in recipes, just pay attention to the consistency of the butter used.

Soft cheeses

This is a close look at the sliced camembert soft cheese.

Soft cheeses and cheese curd are probably the furthest removed from applesauce, even though cottage cheese shares a very similar consistency. Depending on the use, cottage cheese, ricotta, and other soft cheeses like cream cheese and brie can be used in place of applesauce in just about anything as long as you don’t mind the flavor difference and additional calories.

Cheese isn’t as sweet as applesauce either, so if you’re making a savory dish and don’t have sour applesauce around, then soft cheese might be an option.

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