Lion’s Mane Parmigiana


Recent reports say that lion’s mane mushrooms may help improve cognitive function, mitigating depression, dementia, and anxiety. That gave us an idea. Since they’re so big and brain shaped, how about we turn this mushrooms into a Wicked version of classic Italian chicken Parm? Here, we butterfly the lion’s mane just like you would flatten out a chicken breast to make it thinner and give it more surface area, which makes it cook faster and gives you more crispy, crunchy browned breading on the outside. That’s really the star of Parm dishes anyway, isn’t it? That and the melted mozz over the savory marinara. So good. If you like cooking along to videos, check out the vid here!


  • 1 huge or several smaller lion’s mane mushrooms, about 2 lbs (1 kg)
  • 3/4 cup (95 g) plain all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (50 g) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh oregano, parsley or thyme
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) plant-based milk, such as oat milk
  • 2 cups (475 ml) Nana’s Red Sauce
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) shredded plant-based mozzarella and/or Parmesan


  1. Grab that lion’s mane and trim any tough or dirty parts from the base, but keep the mushroom whole. 
  2. Butterfly the shroom: just slice it horizontally cutting from one side to the other but don’t cut all the way through. The idea is to open it up like a book so you have two thinner halves attached at the center. 
  3. Heat a heavy pan, such as cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Swirl in a thin film of olive oil and toss in some salt. 
  4. Lay the mushroom in the pan, then lay another heavy pan over the mushroom. Let the mushroom and pans get to know each for a minute or two, then pour in 1/3 cup (80 ml) water. Return the top pan and begin pressing down on the top pan with tongs or a folded up kitchen towel. As the mushroom begins to steam, flatten, and condense, flip it over, add another 1/3 cup (80 ml) water and continue pressing with the top pan. We’re looking to soften and condense the mushroom without a deep brown sear on it. Total cooking time should be 3-5 minutes. Off the heat and let the mushroom cool in the pan. 
  5. Set up your breading: Mix the flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper on a plate. Mix the panko and herbs on another plate (save a few chopped herbs for garnish). Pour the milk into another plate or shallow bowl. 
  6. Use one hand to dredge the mushroom in the flour mixture coating it completely. Then use the other hand to dip it in the milk to coat completely. Then back to the dry hand to dredge in the panko mixture, coating completely. Using two hands helps to prevent breading your fingers! Transfer the mushrooms to a cooling rack. Make sure the mushroom is generously coated with panko.
  7. Heat the red sauce in a saucepan over low heat. Or just nuke it if that’s your style. 
  8. Preheat your oven to 400ºF (200ºC). 
  9. Heat that heavy pan up again over medium heat. Swirl in a thick film of oil, then add the breaded shroom. Pan-fry until golden brown and crispy, 2-3 minutes per side. 
  10. Pour about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the red sauce into the center of the mushroom, then top with the grated cheese. Pop the whole pan in the oven until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbly, about 10 minutes. 
  11. Spoon a thin layer of sauce onto your plate(s), about 1/2 cup (120 ml) per plate. Use a spatula to lay the mushroom over the top. Garnish with extra herbs: we like whole herbs, but chopped herbs work too.


  • Try growing your own lion’s mane for this recipe. Lots of mushroom farmers sell grow kits. One of our favorites in the US in Hi-Fi Mycology. In the UK, try Marvellous Mushrooms. It’ll be easier to get a big lion’s mane that way. If you can’t find an extra large 2-lb (1 kg) specimen in the market, just buy the same weight of smaller ones and butterfly those. 
  • Serve with pasta if you’re looking for some carbs!

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