Lion’s mane mushrooms are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow. They can be enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or steeped as a tea. These mushrooms are very nutritious and super tasty! Here’s information all about this unique fungi.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are a fairly new ingredient to me. I saw them at my local grocery store and had to try them! We LOVED them so (this 10-minute Lion’s Mane Mushroom recipe is my favorite!) much that I wanted to share them with you, so you can add yet another nutritious and flavorful ingredient to your clean and delicious kitchen.
More about this unique mushroom
What is a lion’s mane mushroom? It is a white fungus with hair like texture that resembles the mane of a lion.
The scientific name for the Lion’s Mane Mushroom is Hericium Erinaceus. Hericium in latin actually means hedgehog, which makes since because this mushroom can easily look like a cute little hedgehog.
Other names include bearded tooth and pom pom, but it’s most commonly known as lion’s mane because it really does resemble one.
They are native to North America, Europe and Asia, and you can sometimes find them at your local grocery store or farmers market. If you happen to spot them, I highly recommend you pick them up, so you can give them try!
They are supposedly pretty easy to grow as well, and you can order a homegrown kit right on Amazon, if you want to grow them at home.
What does a lion’s mane mushroom taste like? As for the flavor, they have a mild sweet, earthy flavor – a lot of people say they taste a lot like seafood or crab meat. You’ll also notice they have a fun, light bouncy texture, and when cooked have a bit of a meaty texture that would make a great plant-based alternative to eating meat.
Are lion’s mane mushrooms healthy? Yes! Not only are these unique mushrooms delicious, but they are also known to have powerful health benefits, specifically they are known for an ability to boost brain health. They are said to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, while also reducing mild symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, they may help to support focus, cognition, creativity and productivity!
Because of all of these health benefits, there are a variety of supplements on the market that include Lion’s Mane. However, there’s nothing quite like the real whole food, which is why I wanted to show you how to shop, store and cook them as well!
When buying a lion’s mane mushroom, you will notice they look kind of fluffy and they should be white or pale yellow as they tend to darken as they age. Other than the potential of a little dirt, they should be dry, not slimy and clear of bruises. They also don’t have much of a smell and should be odorless. Don’t buy any mushrooms that smell a little stinky.
Once you get the mushrooms home you want to store them in some type of bag – a paper bag is a great option, because your mushrooms need to breathe. They will last up to five days when stored this way in the fridge. Your veggie drawer is the perfect place to keep them.
Prepping + cleaning
When you are ready to eat your mushrooms, you’ll want to clean them and brush off any dirt. A great way to do this is with a pastry brush and then trim off the little woody foot, where the mushroom was attached to a tree or a log.
Like most mushrooms, they are very absorbent, so you don’t really want to wash them but if you absolutely have to, quickly run them under some cold water and then gently squeeze them to remove any excess moisture.
How to cook lion’s mane mushrooms
When it comes to cooking, you have a couple of options: you can roast them in the oven or sauté them on the stovetop. To roast the mushrooms, gently tear them apart and they will look almost like little cauliflower florets – add a bit of olive oil, some salt and paper and roast them for about 20 minutes at 425ºF – this is a good option if you are working with smaller mushrooms.
My personal favorite way to make them, and this is ideal if your mushrooms are a bit larger, is to slice them into planks and then pan-fry them with a little bit of butter or oil.
- For this sauté method, I heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. If the mushrooms seem a bit heavy, like they are holding extra moisture, I’ll toast them on a dry pan for a couple of minutes on each side.
- Then, add in a little bit of butter. You can also use olive oil, but I love the flavor of butter with mushrooms. Cook them for about two minutes on each side. You will see they will have a beautiful golden brown color!
- Right before I take them out of the pan, I add a tiny bit of coconut aminos (you could also use soy sauce), a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. They are SO good!
Ways to serve
You can easily enjoy them as is; they are delicious on their own or as an easy side dish. Here’s a few other ideas:
- Sandwich. Layer them onto a sandwich with your favorite sandwich ingredients and some spicy mayonnaise.
- Eggs. Add them to an omelet or some scrambled eggs.
- Pasta. Toss them with your favorite grain or pasta.
- Stir fry. Throw them along with other veggies into a stir fry!
- Other ideas. Lion’s mane mushrooms are very popular to use to make “crab” cakes. Here’s a vegetarian “crab” cake recipe to try.
I’m so excited for you to give these lion’s mane mushrooms a try! I would love to hear what you think, and if you have any tips or insight about these particular mushrooms that I’ve failed to touch on, please share down in the comment section below.