Baked Oyster Mushroom Calamari

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I had just begun to enjoy calamari when I decided to become a vegan. While my experience with the dish was short-lived, I remember well the characteristics that make it so spectacular. The crispiness, the succulence, the delicate flavors… all of that is captured in this vegan version. Add in the fiber, iron and vitamin D from the oyster mushrooms, the health benefit of this version being baked instead of fried, and the fact that no squid was harmed in the making of this dish and you have yourself a winner.

I first tasted oyster mushroom calamari at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. I was immediately sold on the idea but have never liked to deep fry in my home. It’s just too messy and smelly and well, unappetizing really. With a couple of containers of gorgeous oyster mushrooms on my kitchen counter as inspiration, I stumbled upon a great baked version presented by Chow Vegan. The genius behind this blog is entertaining, eclectic (just check out the Asian Lentil Loaf, perfect for hosting a dinner party and then head over to the adorable Mummy Carrot Dogs for a fun and healthy treat for the kiddos), and always mouth-wateringly creative. Thanks Chow Vegan, for getting this dish onto my table and into my belly!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • two 4-oz containers of tree oyster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried lemon peel
  • dash of paprika

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp or more sweet relish

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Wash your mushrooms by taking a damp cloth and cleaning the tops and stems. Don’t rinse them under water; it packs in too much moisture and will prevent the calamari from getting as crispy as it should. Slice them and set aside.

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In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and pinch of sea salt. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, make your flaxseed “egg wash” by combining the flaxseed and the warm water. Whisk together and then set it aside for 5 minutes or until it achieves a thick, egg-like consistency. Once it’s ready, pour the coated mushrooms into the flaxseed mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Place the panko, nutritional yeast, sea salt, black pepper, dried lemon peel and paprika into a wide, shallow dish and stir together. Then working in small batches, coat the mushrooms with the panko crumbs and place them onto a greased baking sheet.

oystermushroomcalamariBake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes then carefully flip and bake them on the other side for another 5 minutes or until brown and crispy. While they’re baking, make your dipping sauce by stirring together the Vegenaise and sweet relish to taste.

Once the calamari is ready, serve piping hot with the dipping sauce. I also served mine with ketchup for the kids.

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Happy eating!

 

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