If you’re here to explore what lobster mushroom tastes like, you’ve landed in the right place! There’s a new landscape in the food culture trying to find alternatives to meat with delicious plant-based options.
Lobster mushrooms are white-capped fungi with a bright-red coating that has a crustacean-like taste and appearance. This variety of mushrooms boasts a strong, seafood-like aroma with the same mild sweetness as a steamed lobster. They come pretty close to the real deal, which is why lobster mushrooms are the perfect vegan alternative to lobsters!
Scroll down to learn more about their taste, texture, and applications.
What is Lobster Mushroom?
Lobster mushrooms are bright red and meaty fungi that have similar flavor notes to the luxurious shellfish. When the parasitic fungus, called Lactifluorum, infects the Russula and Lactarius mushrooms, they turn the mushrooms red. It coats the white mushroom cap, twisting and turning it into odd shapes and changing the color to bright orange-red. Although originally flavorless, the parasite changes the taste and texture of the fungi, giving them a crustacean-like flavor and appearance.
They’re commonly used in vegetarian and meat dishes to mimic the same delicate flavors you would find in the shellfish.
You’ll find these rare species growing in forests in North America, from New England to Canada! You may find a limited supply of these fungi at selected grocers and farmer’s markets.
Mushrooms that taste like lobster
Lobster mushrooms are available in at least two varieties: red and white. The red fungi develop after the Hypomyces lactifluorum parasite infects and takes over the host fungi, turning it into a bright hue. Another type is the white mushroom, which doesn’t have a bright color, but still tastes the same as the red one.
Nonetheless, both types of mushrooms have an altered taste and texture. While the white lobster mushrooms are lighter, the reds have a meatier texture. Both types of mushrooms are completely rare and share similar flavor profiles. However, the white fungi are hard to find, because their color doesn’t catch the eye as the red type does.
Another type of mushroom that tastes like a lobster is the Lion’s Mane. When you prepare this mushroom, it develops a seafood-like taste, which is comparable to lobster and shrimp.
This variety is best cooked slowly so that its spongy texture can release the moisture it holds inside. You can roast or sauté the fungi with butter to get the same nutty-buttery flavor of a lobster. While the texture is soft, the mushroom isn’t as meaty as lobsters.
Overall, the lion’s mane is among the healthiest mushroom varieties out there! If you’ve got picky eaters that despise eating veggies, then the lobster mushrooms and lion’s mane are two solid meat alternatives you should try!
What does Lobster Mushroom taste like?
Taste-wise, the lobster mushroom has a faint marine and crustacean-like flavor. Lobster mushrooms have sweet, nutty, and rich umami notes. When you slice the mushroom, it has the same dense and chewy flesh as its namesake. If you’re looking for a prominent seafood flavor, then you should for dried mushrooms.
The host mushrooms that the parasite attacks are generally flavorless on their own. But, once the parasite takes over, it improves the flavor and texture of both mushrooms. For example, the russula fungi are crumbly in texture, but the parasite helps firm the flesh, making it meaty and flavorsome!
Overall, lobster mushrooms taste mild but are quite meaty in texture, which makes them an excellent choice for several vegetarian, as well as seafood dishes. You can also substitute lobster mushroom in place of the shellfish in sauces, soups, pasta, and more! You can also dice the mushrooms into lobster-like chunks and tempura-fry them.
Do lobster mushrooms taste like lobster?
Surprisingly, lobster mushrooms taste a lot like their seafood counterpart. They resemble the crustacean in both taste and texture. What’s most interesting is that the fungi also mimic the sweet aroma of a steamed lobster. It smells like a combination of seafood and earthy notes; you may find it nutty and sweet like lobsters.
Lobster mushrooms have a distinct taste. With the right aromatics and spices, you can substitute these mushrooms for shellfish. However, when paired with herbs and fats, the mild flavor may drown a bit.
Besides tasting identical, the fungi have a bright orange color similar to cooked lobster shells.
The taste of lobster mushrooms develops after the parasite Hypomyces lactifluorum takes over the host fungi. After which, the mushroom turns heartier and meatier with a strong seafood-like taste and aroma.
In terms of texture, the white flesh is dense and chewy. Although it’s not as stringy as lobsters or crabs, it still works well as a meat alternative in many popular seafood recipes. You can use lobster mushrooms in bisque, risotto, pasta, and other recipes!
Keep in mind; these mushrooms can taste a little bitter, but the fresher ones have a sweeter taste and strong, seafood-like flavor.