Growing up in an Italian family, every Christmas Eve we would have a gigantic feast consisting primarily of seafood and pasta. The one dish that stood out to me the most was fried calamari. Though I was never a huge fan of seafood, I always loved calamari even though the thought of eating squid irked me a bit (especially the ones with the tentacles). Since this dish was a holiday staple for us, we thought it would be fun to create a vegan version of calamari, and we are so excited about how it came out! Instead of using squid, we used king oyster mushrooms, which have a similar look and texture. We marinated them in soy sauce and used dulse flakes in the breading to give them a salty and slightly fishy (but not too fishy) flavor profile. After deep frying them to golden perfection, I could not believe my taste buds– the oyster mushroom calamari tasted almost identical to what I remember the traditional dish to taste like!Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you recreate any of our recipes, we love to see your photos!
A vegan-friendly version of calamari made with king oyster mushrooms. Perfect to serve at holiday parties or for a dinner appetizer!
- 4 large king trumpet mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free option)
- 1 cup plain vegan yogurt (we used Forager)
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dulse flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ~ 1 quart of canola oil, for deep frying
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish
- White vinegar
- Clean the mushrooms, then remove the caps. Slice the caps into about ½-inch-thick slices and set aside in a large sealable container. Cut the stem into 1/4” rounds. Using a small circular cookie cutter, cannoli mold or even a small knife, carefully cut a hole in the middle of each round to make rings. Set the rounds and the cores removed into the same container as the stems.
- Drizzle the soy sauce over the mushrooms, cover, and toss to evenly coat. Marinate for about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the batter and breading. In a small bowl, whisk together the plain vegan yogurt and non-dairy milk, then set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, panko breadcrumbs, old bay seasoning, salt, dulse flakes, onion powder and garlic powder until uniform.
- Drain the mushrooms and get a large plate ready. Using your hands or a set of tongs, dunk the mushrooms into the yogurt mixture, shaking off any excess batter, then toss them in the breading mixture. Try your best to fully coat each piece, then set them aside on the plate as you coat all of the mushrooms.
- Add the cooking oil to a deep skillet or fryer and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is bubbling. Add the mushroom slices and fry for about 7-8 minutes, or until they are golden brown.*
- Use a spider strainer or large slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley all over and serve immediately with lemon wedges, marinara, and vinegar.
- You may need to make 1/2-1 recipe more of the breading mixture depending on the side and thickness of your mushrooms.
- Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan or pot when frying. The cooking time may vary depending on the temperature of your oil.
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