Meaty, Versatile, and Nutritious, Oyster Mushrooms Have It All—Here’s How to Cook With Them 

Despite the name, oyster mushrooms have nothing to do with mollusks or the ocean. You’re most likely to find one in the wild when trekking through any of the world’s temperate or subtropical forests. But if that’s a little out of reach, you can also easily find them in grocery stores.

Oyster mushrooms are nutritious, versatile, and often celebrated by vegans for their meaty texture. But how do you cook with it? And what plant-based recipes do they work best in? Don’t worry, we’re here for you. But first, let’s take a closer look at what oyster mushrooms actually are.

What are oyster mushrooms?

oyster mushrooms (or, if you’re curious, Pleurotus ostreatus) are incredibly common. They are a species of fungus that grows naturally on trees, but they are also cultivated for commercial purposes in many countries. Because of their shape, which resembles an oyster shell, they have earned the name “oyster mushroom”. They come in many different colors and varieties, but the king oyster mushroom, which has a thick, fleshy stalk, is the largest.

The world’s largest producer of oyster mushrooms is China, which accounts for more than 85 percent of the market. However, they are also made in several other countries such as Japan, Italy and Thailand.

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How do oyster mushrooms taste?

With a smooth, meaty texture, oyster mushrooms have a slightly earthy flavor with hints of aniseed. But some also say they taste like seafood — making their name even more apt. “Oyster mushrooms are often described as ‘salty’ or with a delicate seafood flavor,” notes the Mushroom Council. “Their texture is velvety and dense, and when they’re pan-fried, their edges become deliciously crispy.”

Nutrition of Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are not only delicious like most edible mushrooms, they are also good for your health. They are a source of protein and carbohydrates and also contain fiber, vitamin B5, niacin, folic acid, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and choline. Besides, they are also a good source of antioxidants. These are plant molecules that help reduce cell damage caused by free radicals in the body.

In China, oyster mushrooms have been known for their potential health benefits for centuries. “The pink oyster mushroom and other mushrooms of the genus pleurotus have been valued for centuries for their nutritional value and delicious taste,” notes Hifas da Terra, a biotechnology company focused on mycology. “In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), oyster mushrooms are prescribed to ‘relax muscles, joints and tendons, improve circulation and increase kidney function’.”

How to cook with oyster mushrooms

There are several ways to prepare oyster mushrooms. You can roast or bake them or boil them in salted water. But one of the best and most popular ways to cook oyster mushrooms (and get that delicious crunchy texture) is to pan fry them over high heat.

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Vegan Oyster Mushroom Recipes

Would you like to learn more about how to cook with oyster mushrooms? You are in the right place! Here are some of the best and most delicious vegan oyster mushroom recipes.


1 Oyster Mushroom Po’Boy

A Louisiana classic, Po’ Boy sandwiches are usually stacked with lettuce and some sort of meaty filling, such as roast beef. But seafood is also a popular choice. However, you can get the same deliciously satisfying flavor and texture by swapping in crunchy oyster mushrooms. For an extra delicious flavor, drizzle on some homemade Thousand Island Dressing.
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VegNews.GrilledMushroomsNadine Horn and Joerg Mayer

2 Spicy grilled king oyster mushroom skewers

Enhance the flavor of your king oysters by marinating them in tangy balsamic vinegar mixed with garlic and thyme, along with some oil and a pinch of salt. They can then be skewered on bamboo and cooked over the grill. This is the ultimate recipe for BBQ season.
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VegNews.MushroomsJeeca Uy

3 Vegan Korean Bulgogi Mushrooms

Again, this recipe is an absolute must for the summer months when you gather around the grill. Bulgogi (which literally means “fire meat” in Korean) usually refers to marinated beef that’s grilled over a grill. However, beef is absolutely not required in the preparation of this traditional dish, as mushrooms work just as well. Just make sure you cook enough because loved ones are guaranteed to be asking for more when BBQ season kicks off.
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4 Mexican Pozole

Pozole usually refers to a spicy Mexican soup made with hominy and pork (it is also sometimes made with chicken). But thanks to the meaty texture of oyster mushrooms, you can get the same deliciously fiery taste and experience without any animal products.
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5 Miso soup with king oyster mushrooms

When it’s cold and drizzly outside, a nice warming miso soup hits the spot. And for an extra boost of nutrients, texture and flavor you can upgrade the standard recipe with oyster mushrooms, quinoa and seaweed.
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6 Vegan poc chuc with mushrooms

Poc Chuc is a meaty, spicy dish native to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Again, it’s traditionally made with pork marinated in citrus juice, grilled, and then served with pickled onions and rice. But if you want to skip the meaty part, substitute portobello or king oyster mushrooms (or both) instead.
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For more information on vegan ingredients, see:

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