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How-to: Faux Clams and Scallops Using Mushrooms

How-to: Faux Clams and Scallops Using Mushrooms

By Kathypatalsky

Seafood fan or not, these faux versions of two classic seafood recipes – Clam Chowder and Sea Scallops – are enough to make your head turn. This super creamy, smoky bread bowl chowder (which is made from a vegan, dairy-free, cashew cream soup base) is infused with diced mushrooms that resemble tender clams. And that elegant platter of scallops and cucumbers is actually a sneaky platter of sauteed king trumpet (also called king oyster) mushrooms.

These fun faux recipe will please vegetarians – and seafood lover alike. Plus mushrooms are nutrient powerhouses. The healthy mushrooms are low in calories and rich in fiber, iron, potassium, niacin and selenium. Six ounces of the king shrooms contains only 15 calories – and about 2.2 grams of protein! And another perk, mushrooms are cheaper than seafood!..

How-to. The secret to why mushrooms make an excellent faux item for clams and scallops is all in the texture. King mushrooms work well because they have a sturdy thick body – so you can easily chop them into either diced “clams” or round plump “scallops.” The seasoning will depend on how you want your dishes to taste.

* For smoky clams – be sure to add in a splash of liquid smoke.

* Truffle oil or salt is an excellent flavor enhancer to the chowder as well.

* The scallops get even more delicious when you marinate them in liquid. Mushrooms easily absorb flavors – so something salty and slightly sweet will be an excellent way to enhance your dish.

* For classic “bay” flavor you can use Old Bay spices or your own favorite blend of spices – lemon pepper is also nice for the scallops. And you can even go way off the board and flavor your faux dishes with not-so-classic seafood flavors like maple, tamari, chipotle and more.Get the Scallops recipe below!

* To avoid “rubbery” mushroom scallops, make sure you marinate them enough before sauteeing. Salty sweet accents will help tenderize the mushroom. The saute in oil will also perfect the texture and bring if from soft and rubbery to tender on the inside with a crisp and light crust.

* The mushrooms for the clam chowder should be sauteed first before adding to the soup puree. Then once they are immersed in the creamy soup they will further plump up and become tender while retaining all the flavors from the saute process.

* Lastly, when buying your mushrooms, look for extra large varieties – with thick stems – this is especially important when trying to create truly “faux” looking scallops.

King Trumpet Mushroom Vegan Scallops with Cucumbers

vegan, serves 2


  • 4 wide-stemmed king trumpet/oyster mushrooms, sliced into 3/4″ thick circles
  • 3 tsp safflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp tamari, liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 tsp agave, maple or brown rice syrup
  • fine black pepper to taste
  • optional: 1 Tbsp diced shallots
  • 1 cup Persian cucumbers, sliced in different sized stumps – some skinny, some taller
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch pink salt


1. Prep for this dish is simple. Simple slice your cucumbers and toss them with some lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

2. Slice your mushrooms. I gently rinse mushrooms before cooking with them. Then I paper towel dry them very well. You need your mushrooms to be very dry for them to absorb the flavor of the liquid.

3. Add your mushroom rounds to a bowl and add the tamari, brown rice syrup and pepper – and optional diced shallots. toss well. The mushrooms should absorb much of the liquid and take on a brown marbled color.

4. Add safflower oil to a small skillet – heat over high heat. Wait until oil is hot.

5. Place the mushrooms flat side down in the pan. They should sizzle. Allow to cook for about a minute – do not move them around too much – this will interrupt the sear. Add some fine black pepper over top the mushrooms while they cook – as desired.

6. Flip the mushrooms. You can shake the pan around a bit to disperse the oil and flavors. You can now pour any leftover liquid from the bowl into the pan. try: If you want smoky scallops – add in a few drops of liquid smoke. try: add a tsp splash of white wine for a more complex flavor. Just be careful when adding to pan.

7. Next is the most important part to good scallop mushrooms. You may have seen this technique on cooking shows. With the heat turned to medium-high, tilt the pan so that all the liquid (oil and marinade) dips to one side in a pool. Then using a large tablespoon, gather the liquid and quickly pour it over top the scallops. Do this over and over again and watch as the mushrooms absorb and caramelize with the liquid. This technique helps to cook the mushrooms while also keeping them from drying out in the pan.

8. Flip your mushrooms again – add a sprinkle of fine black pepper – to taste – and turn off heat. Allow them to sit in the pan for a minute or two.

9. Serve hot mushrooms on a plate with the chilled, lemon tossed cucumbers. Add a sprinkle of parsley over top and plenty of black pepper as desired.