Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage

mushrooms at event IMG_1474
The food on my dinner plate at MAWDC’s Mushroom Tasting

This past weekend my husband and I went to our first mushroom tasting. It was great fun!

We filled our dinner plates and soup bowls with at least 20 delicious dishes, each containing a single variety of wild mushrooms (some of which came from local forests) or cultivated mushrooms (from local stores). This event was sponsored by the Meetup for MAWDC (Mycological Association of Washington DC) whose members are a lively group of local mushroom enthusiasts and certified experts.

For this tasting, I cooked two dishes with the shiitake mushrooms from Philips Mushroom Farms that were donated to MAWDC and delivered to my door by one of the group’s board members.

My first contribution was a simple sauté: shiitake mushrooms, garlic, smoked chorizo sausage, and Jimmy Nardello Peppers. With ingredients like these, it was not hard to create something delicious!

But not everyone eats sausage, so I challenged myself to create a vegan dish with the flavor of sausage — a dish I could name, “Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage.” After some  experimenting, I came up with a dish that the tasters at my house loved. And at the tasting, it was a big hit! In fact, several people came up to me and asked for the recipe.

So here’s the recipe for Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage, which is suitable for vegans and and non-vegans, including those following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.

Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage
Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage

1 large clove of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms (just the caps)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning
1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Press the garlic through a garlic press. Set aside.
  2. In a 14-inch non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until the mushrooms have shrunken in size and taken on a darker hue. They do not have to be fully cooked. Set the sautéed shiitake aside.
  3. In a very small (5-6 inch diameter) heavy sauce pan with a lip (if possible), heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the reserved garlic, and then shake the pan for a few seconds or until the garlic is just beginning to change color. Immediately add the Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning and using a spoon, mix the seasoning until it’s coated with the hot oil mixture. Pour the hot oil mixture over the reserved mushrooms in the pan and mix to evenly distribute the seasoned oil.
  4. Toss with chopped pecans right before serving.

Serving suggestions

This is a high (good) fat dish. It is very suitable as a topping for other foods – for example scrambled eggs, roast chicken, hamburgers, or sautéed fish.

Ingredient notes

Garlic – Research shows that to get the health benefits from garlic, you should to chop or press the garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes before cooking. For information about the best ways to prepare and store garlic, see this page from the website, The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Shiitake mushrooms – Like all mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms have amazing health benefits. For details, see this page from the website, The World’s Healthiest Foods.

So as to get as much benefit from the mushrooms as possible, use the stems as well as the caps. After separating the caps from the stems, I wash and trim the stems and then put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I am making stock, I throw the stems into the pot. They add wonderful flavor (umami)!

For more recipes with mushrooms, see: a favorite recipe I posted to this blog a few years ago, Shiitake & Oyster Mushrooms, and also my Pinterest board: Mushrooms – Recipes.

  • Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning – This is one of Penzeys most popular herb and spice mixes. It  contains: coarse flake salt, Hungarian sweet paprika, Tellicharry black pepper, thyme, cracked rosemary, granulated garlic, and chipotle.

Pecans– The pecans I bought at Fresh Fields we so fresh and crisp that I did not even want to toast them. But if you want to crisp the pecans and bring out their flavor, you can certainly toast them. Here are directions for toasting pecans.

Enjoy and be healthy!


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