This King Oyster Mushroom Salad with paper-thin fresh mushrooms tossed with a tangy and savory lemon dressing is the perfect no-cook, vegan, keto, paleo, and Whole30 side dish!
Mushroom carpaccio or raw vegan pasta
Many moons ago, I ate at a hip raw vegan restaurant in New York City and was blown away that a “pasta” dish was made with thinly shaved mushrooms. I can’t remember the sauce exactly, but the texture of the thinly sliced king oyster mushrooms was similar to paparadelle, a broad flat pasta, cooked al dente.
Because the dish was raw, the kitchen achieved this texture by softening the mushrooms with the acid in the sauce. I was reminded of this “impasta” dish a few months ago when I ate a mushroom carpaccio at a neighborhood Italian restaurant where the thinly sliced “raw meat” was replaced with toothsome shaved king oyster mushrooms.
Inspired by both dishes, I came up with this simple fresh mushroom salad with a zingy and umami-packed dressing.
Where should you buy king oyster mushrooms?
I love king oyster mushrooms and they’re a staple in my refrigerator. You can find this variety of mushroom (a.k.a. king trumpet mushroom, French horn mushroom, king brown mushroom, boletus of the steppes, trumpet royale, and ali’i oyster) at most grocery stores and farmers’ markets, but the cheapest place to purchase them is at an Asian market (e.g., 99 Ranch Market or H Mart). There, these mushrooms are at least 25 to 50% less expensive than at other places, even for organic ’shrooms.
If you’re shopping at an Asian market, the king oyster mushrooms typically come pre-packaged in clear plastic bags and are stocked with the rest of the mushrooms in the produce section. I usually choose the organic ones grown in the US or in South Korea.
How should you store king oyster mushrooms?
Once you get them home, you can keep the mushrooms in the package they came in or transfer them to a paper bag or a partially open plastic bag. They’ll keep well for 7 to 10 days stored on a shelf in the fridge (not the crisper).
Should you wash the mushrooms?
There’s lots of debate about whether you should wash mushrooms before eating or cooking with them. According to the smarty pants at Cook’s Illustrated, most cultivated mushrooms are pretty clean, so you can skip the sink and simply brush off any dirt with a clean toothbrush or wipe them with a damp towel. If you feel compelled to wash ’em, quickly rinse the whole mushrooms with water and spin them dry in a salad spinner right before using them. To make sure all the liquid is gone, blot the spun mushrooms well with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
How do you cut mushrooms for salad?
Unless you have extraordinary knife skills and a super sharp chef, the best tool for this dish is an inexpensive Japanese mandolin. It’s a cheap and effective slicer and will save you tons of time.
But for the love of all five fingers, please use a cut-resistant glove when you’re shaving the mushrooms!
No mandolin or sharp knife? You can also quickly slice these mushrooms by feeding them through the slicer of your food processor, but you may not get them paper-thin and the resulting pieces won’t be long, pretty ribbons.
Is it safe to eat raw mushrooms?
Eek! I didn’t even know this was a controversial topic until a Nomster brought it up to me. Although some folks don’t recommend eating raw mushrooms, this Scientific American article reassured me that it’s okay to eat raw mushrooms once in a while. If you don’t want to eat them raw, quickly sauté the slices in a hot skillet with a little olive oil and continue with the recipe.
Can you make this mushroom salad ahead of time?
Yes! The beauty of this salad is that it only takes a few minutes to throw together, but it does take some time for the mushrooms to absorb the seasoning and become pliable. This salad can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the fridge in a covered container. Always add the fresh herbs just before serving and hit the salad with a little more lemon juice, nutritional yeast, or salt if needed to punch up the flavors.
- King oyster mushrooms or button mushrooms: King oyster mushrooms are perfect for this dish because of the meaty stems and tougher texture. That said, thinly sliced button mushrooms also work great in this recipe.
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon zest and juice: The salad won’t be quite the same without the bright hit of lemony goodness, but a good vinegar also works to add a touch of acid. My favorite vinegars to use in this recipe are sherry, red wine, or white balsamic.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Use a high quality extra virgin olive oil for this salad—there’s only a handful of ingredients in this dish and each one makes a huge difference in the final outcome.
- Nutritional yeast: If you’re dairy-free and miss the umami goodness of parmesan cheese, don’t leave out this essential ingredient.
- Fresh herbs: I garnish this salad with chives and Italian parsley, but any combination of fresh herbs will work!
How to make king oyster mushroom salad
Trim the bottom of the king oyster mushrooms. Don’t cut off too much because the whole stem is edible!
Use a mandolin to thinly slice the mushrooms paper thin lengthwise, in ⅛-inch slices. No mandolin? Use a sharp knife to cut the mushrooms into thin slices or use the thin slicing blade on your food processor.
Place the shaved mushrooms into a large bowl.
Sprinkle the salt and add some freshly cracked black pepper on the mushrooms.
Add the lemon zest and the juice from half a lemon.
Drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil…
…and top with nutritional yeast.
Carefully toss the salad to distribute the seasoning, but don’t worry if everything isn’t well mixed. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for at least an hour or store in the refrigerator for up to a day. As the salad sits, the mushroom slices will soften and absorb all the flavor of the seasoning.
Add the chives and parsley and toss before serving.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional lemon juice, salt, or nutritional yeast.
Serve up with your favorite protein and you’re good to go!
Looking for more king oyster mushroom recipes?
- King Oyster Mushrooms with Thai Chili Peppers and Lime
- Crispy Mushroom Chips
- Sheet Pan Chicken and Mushrooms
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
King Oyster Mushroom Salad (Vegan, Whole30, Keto, Paleo)
- ½ pound king oyster mushrooms or button mushrooms
- ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
- Trim the bottom of the king oyster mushrooms. Don’t cut off too much because the whole stem is edible!
- Use a mandolin to thinly slice the mushrooms paper thin lengthwise, in ⅛-inch slices. No mandolin? Use a sharp knife to cut the mushrooms into thin slices or use the slicing blade of a food processor.
- Place the shaved mushrooms into a large bowl. Add the salt, black pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and nutritional yeast. Carefully toss the ingredients to combine.
- Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for at least an hour or store in the fridge for up to a day. As the salad sits, the mushroom slices will soften and absorb all the flavor of the seasoning.
- Add the chives and parsley and toss before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional lemon juice, salt, or nutritional yeast. Serve immediately.