If you’ve encountered these fuzzy fungi at the store or farmer’s market, and wonder what to do with them, try this easy and delicious preparation that takes ten minutes and can be used as a side dish, vegetarian main, or sandwich. Yum!

plate of sliced and sautéed lion's mane mushrooms garnished with parsley, lemon and feta.

If you stop to look at the selection of culinary mushrooms at your local grocer or farmer’s market, you may have noticed a baseball-sized fluffy white fungus in the mix, called a lion’s mane mushroom. In our neck of the woods, they cost $15.99-19.99 per pound, and at ¼ of a pound per mushroom (they contain a lot of water), it can be a pricey choice for a meal, but believe me when I tell you that these curious “designer” mushrooms (my term 😀) are worth the cost from time to time, if not for their delicate, pleasant flavor and texture, then for their nutrition, such as being rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and as far as vegetables go, reasonably high in protein. Lion’s mane mushrooms are also prized for for their medicinal qualities, which are still being studied. 

My reason for sharing how to cook lion’s mane mushrooms is so you can enjoy an uncomplicated, quick, and tasty way to eat this mushroom that I find less spongy and with a different texture than other mushrooms. The simple method involves a slice and pan sear method, pretty much unadulterated. If you enjoy it this way, surely you will want to explore cooking with Lion’s Mane more (as I do) because the texture lends itself to meat substitution-based recipes such as steaks or seafood. I’ve read it can be delicious when cooked in a broth or sauce, soaking up liquid and becoming extra juicy and tender. Stay tuned for that!

Why this recipe works

While the ways to cook these mushrooms in ways that mimic meat or seafood (mentioned above) are surely yummy, this “recipe” for lion’s mane mushrooms (more of a “way to cook”) is fast and easy, so it is a good way to get started cooking with them that doesn’t involve a lot of work. Also, this minimalist method highlights the flavor of the mushrooms rather than masking it. I’ve used just a few ingredients to elevate the flavor to something that stands on its own. Speaking of those ingredients…

Ingredient notes

  • Lion’s mane mushrooms – these are sold fresh, and usually displayed unpackaged in baskets in the product section of our market. Some are grown locally, but even so, they range from $15.99-19.99 per pound near us. I’ve cooked lion’s mane mushrooms right after purchase and as long as two weeks after purchase. They should be stored in brown paper bags or an open-air carton they might be sold in so that they can breathe (they are already very moisture-filled). After two weeks, they will have dehydrated some, but I found they cooked up almost the same as fresh ones. This is likely because most of the water will cook off anyhow.
  • Za’atar Spice – I chose a group of spices and flavorings to give the mushrooms a Mediterranean flavor and Za’atar spice is at the center of these flavors. The combination of sesame seeds, thyme, and sumac is what gives the spice its distinct Mediterranean flavor. If you do not have this spice blend you can use whichever of the three you have on hand. Any spice such as cumin, will taste great with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon and feta.

Step-by-step instructions

Preheat a cast iron (ideally) pan on medium-high for five minutes while you prepare the mushrooms and gather the other ingredients.

Lightly brush off any dirt from mushrooms as needed or rinse under cool water if necessary to remove any dirt. Ideally, the mushrooms are clean when you buy them, as shown above. I tend to wash as little as possible to reduce the chance of breaking up the mushrooms, but do what feels right.

Cut the mushrooms into slices no more than 1/4″ thick. I think this thickness allows for the mushrooms to have a nice amount of seasoning.

Place the mushrooms in a shallow bowl or on a plate, drizzle with half the oil, and half of the seasoning and lemon. Toss to coat. The slices will immediately soak up the ingredients.

Place the slices in the hot pan and use tongs to space them out and lay flat. Cook just long enough for them to sizzle and brown (just a couple of minutes). The flesh of these fungi seems to be dryer than traditional mushrooms and therefore the flesh browns up rather quickly! Turn and do the same with the other side, adding the other tablespoon of oil as/if needed to add lusciousness to the mushrooms.

Plate the mushrooms as shown below and garnish with the rest of the Za’atar, lemon juice, and parsley for a delicious dish! At the top of the post you can see it topped with the feta as well. And if you are feeling decadent, drizzle on a bit of olive oil too (but not needed).

Tips for serving

These can be eaten as plated as a side dish for two (one mushroom per person). They can become a meal with a simple fried egg on top (see below). My husband and I have both eaten the entire plate (two mushrooms worth) on our own as a meal. They are that satisfying.

Other mushroom recipes

Try some other mushrooms by making my 3-Ingredient Vegan Mushroom soup or my Shredded Bulgogi-Style Mushrooms & Tofu (you could use all mushrooms if you want).

FAQs

What makes lion’s mane mushrooms unique

Lion’s mane mushrooms have an interesting and unique texture. Opposed to many other standard mushrooms that have a singular spongey structure, these fungi separate into shreds a bit more, like shrimp, crabmeat or even steak. Because of this they are often used as a seafood substitute or grilled and pressed whole to emulate a steak.

How easy is it to prepare lion’s mane mushrooms?

It is as easy as slicing the mushrooms and sauteeing them as I have done here, or in some butter if you prefer. It takes minutes.

How many lion’s mane mushrooms do you need per person?

One mushroom per person works well for a side dish or if eating the slices in a sandwich or with an egg on top.

Are lion’s mane mushrooms nutritious?

Lion’s mane mushrooms are very nutritious. They are highest in Riboflavin, Niacin and Potassium, plus other, still being studied medicinal properties.

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plate of sliced and sautéed lion's mane mushrooms garnished with parsley, lemon and feta.

How to Cook Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (Quick & Tasty!)

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Servings4 as side, 2 as main
Calories114
If you've encountered these fuzzy fungi at the store or farmer's market, and wonder what to do with them, try this easy and delicious preparation that takes ten minutes and can be used as a side dish, vegetarian main, or sandwich. Yum!
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 cast iron pan, 2nd choice, stainless or non-stick

Ingredients
 

  • 2 fresh lion's main mushrooms (approx 1/2 lb)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp Za'atar Spice Blend (Can sub any/all of these: thyme,sumac, sesame seeds)
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese garnish (can sub fresh goat cheese)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or more as desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:  

  • Heat cast iron pan over Medium-High Heat for 5 minutes
  • Slice the Lion's mane mushrooms into 1/4" slices. Place on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
  • Drizzle Lion's mane with half of the oil, lemon and spices and leave to absorb until pan is heated.
  • Turn heat down to medium, and add mushrooms to pan, spreading around with tongs so all slices are laying flat. Cook for just a couple of minutes until browned. Use tongs to check underside for doneness.
  • Once browned underneath, use tongs to flip all slices and brown the other side for just a couple of minutes. If mushrooms look dry or lacking in color, you can add more of the oil or spices (keep the extra lemon for after cooking).
  • Once 2nd side is browned, plate the mushrooms to eat. Sprinkle more Za'tar and lemon juice over plated mushrooms and crumble some feta over as well.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg | Magnesium: 8mg | Net Carbohydrates: 5g
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