Vegan Pan-Fried Lion’s Mane Nuggets share everything I love about mushrooms. Making this dish felt like a unique experience, which is always my goal. There are different visual textures as you pull the white mane easily apart, making them feel delicate, and while squeezing the extra water from them, they puff right back, noticing how resilient they are. Adding the crunchy exterior and pan-frying them to a golden crisp mimics an elevated version of an American icon, the nugget.
What Does Lion’s Mane Taste Like?
This mushroom is believed to have a seafood-like flavor similar to lobster, but that’s not how I would describe Lion’s Mane. There are definitely similarities to lobster regarding the texture, but to say it tastes like seafood doesn’t fit the bill. Lion’s Mane doesn’t have much flavor on its own because it’s so good at taking in whatever you’re seasoning it with, like a sponge. There are undertones of a unique flavor with this mushroom, so I guess you’ll have to try it to experience it!
Let me know in the comments below how you’d describe the flavor and if a seafood flavor comes to mind.
Why You Should Be Eating Lion’s Mane
The internet is splattered with information on (Hericium Erinaceus) Lion’s Mane mushrooms and why they should be consumed daily. If you have an aging adult in your life, I’d implore you to research the benefits this mushroom has on our brains; it’s phenomenal. This white fungus has a hair-like texture that gives our brain cells superpowers and boosts brain health.
- helps promote neurogenesis and neurite growth (benefit for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders)
- improved cognitive functioning
- improves anxiety and depression
- lowers cholesterol
- immune support
If you’d like to learn more about the specifics, my go-to mycologist is Paul Stamets; you can find him at https://paulstamets.com. He has many TED talks on youtube, and if you search his name on any podcast platform, you’ll find great conversations. He has a wealth of fungi knowledge.
I’d also recommend Fantastic Fungi on Netflix.
Lion’s Mane Supplements
If you’re interested in the best way of receiving these benefits, it will make the most sense to explore if Lion’s Mane supplements would be best suited for you by consulting yourself or your medical provider. I take Host Defense capsules, which is Paul Stamets brand.
Now Back to Nuggets
I was lucky enough to find this edible mushroom at my local grocery stores, one being Whole Foods. I’d recommend checking with your nearby health food stores that sell fresh mushrooms. I’ve also found Lion’s Mane at community farmers’ markets; there’s typically a mushroom guy slinging gourmet mushrooms. Most cities have a local grower for restaurant needs, which may be an option for you too.
If neither of those is an option, I would HIGHLY recommend growing your own lion’s mane mushrooms with a kit. Placing a simple Google search, you’ll see many options; I haven’t personally grown Lion’s Mane, but I have easily grown other medicinal mushrooms. It’s a fun way to connect with the food you’ll eventually eat and provides a culinary experience.
You might even be lucky enough to live in an area where you could forage the wild mushrooms yourself, with caution, of course! Late summer and early fall are commonly found in North America by dead trees.
How to Make Pan-Fried Lion’s Mane Nuggets
First, you’ll run water lightly over the mushroom to clean it and remove the stem; if any, mine did not have a stem.
Then, you are going to take the mushroom in your hands and carefully break it into large bite-sized pieces. You want to make sure they resemble a nugget, so skip making them into smaller chunks.
Next, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the mushrooms for about 3 minutes until they are tender.
Drain the water and allow the mushrooms to cool in a separate bowl.
Once they are cool enough to touch, take each piece and gently squeeze out the excess water.
I have a video tutorial up top; check it out!
Prepare the batter, which helps give the nuggets that crispy golden layer by whisking together flour and water.
Set out a bowl of breadcrumbs, and optionally, add spices.
Dunk each mushroom nugget into the batter and then transfer to the bowl of breadcrumbs, thoroughly coating each one. Set aside.
For making these nuggets into a meal, I sauteed veggies and prepared quinoa on the side. However you choose to eat these nuggets, pan-fry them last so they can be served hot and crunchy!
Coat a saute pan or nonstick with oil and set to medium-high heat. Once warmed lower to medium heat, cook the mushrooms, allowing room to turn each.
Once you see the outer layer turn golden brown, turn until all sides are cooked, this should take about 5 minutes total.
Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce or on a bed of sauteed veggies and quinoa as a stir fry.
- Don’t over-boil; this step is crucial to the result but you don’t want mushy mushrooms.
- Spices I used: cumin, garlic, paprika, salt, and black pepper. You can buy breadcrumbs that are already spiced to make it easier.
- Add more oil while cooking if you notice the nuggets are sticking. Buying a quality nonstick, non-Teflon frying pan is on my to-do list!
Check out my other Lion’s Mane Vegan Crab Cakes recipe here. You can also type “mushroom” in the search bar, and you’ll see I love experimenting with a variety of mushrooms.
If you create this Lion’s Mane recipe, leave a comment below letting me know how it went, or find me on IG @botanicalbarbara. Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later!
Vegan Pan-Fried Lion's Mane Nuggets
Lion's mane recipe: Making this lion's mane mushroom recipe felt like a unique experience, which is always my goal. There are different visual textures as you pull the white mane easily apart, making them feel delicate, and while squeezing the extra water from them, they puff right back, noticing how resilient they are. Adding the crunchy exterior and pan-frying them to a golden crisp mimics an elevated version of an American icon, the nugget.
- 16 oz fresh Lion's Mane mushrooms
- Cooking Oil
- 2 tablespoons flour (I used all-purpose GF flour)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (I used GF crumbs)
- Optional spices (you might purchase breadcrumbs that are already spiced if not, this is my spice combo):
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Step 1 First, you’ll run water lightly over the mane to clean it and remove the stem, if any. Next, using your fingers tear the mushroom into large bite-sized pieces.
- Step 2 Fill a pan with water and bring to a boil. Transfer the mushrooms into the water for 3 minutes until tender.
- Step 3 Drain the water and transfer the mushrooms into a bowl to cool. Once cooled, take each mushroom in your hand and squeeze out any remaining liquid.
- Step 4 Prepare the batter by mixing both flour and water until you reach a thin paste set aside.
- Step 5 Add spices, if using, to breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.
- Step 6 Take each mushroom piece and dunk it in the thin batter, coating fully, then transfer to breadcrumb bowl, ensuring crumbs cover the entire nugget.
- Step 7 Heat a large skillet, nonstick, or frypan on high with cooking oil (I used avocado oil but olive oil works too). Once hot lower heat to medium-low and carefully transfer each nugget to the oiled pan allowing enough space to flip with tongs.
- Step 8 Fry each nugget until all sides are golden and crispy, turning occasionally.
- Step 9 Once done, immediately serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or I prefer to make it a meal with sauteed veggies and quinoa.