Miso-Marinated Portobello Carpaccio (Vegan) Recipe

Marinated mushrooms are slow-roasted until dense and meaty, sliced thin, and served with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon, carpaccio-style.

Miso-marinated portobello carpaccio served on a rectnagular white plate, garnished with chopped pistachio, lemon zest, and arugula.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • A brown sugar-miso-soy-lemon marinade infuses the mushroom caps with extra savoriness.
  • The sugar and vegetable oil in the marinade help the mushrooms brown as they roast.
  • Slicing the mushrooms thinly, shingling them on a plate, and serving with carpaccio-style garnishes creates a convincing vegan version of the dish.
  • Roughly chopped pistachios add a pleasant textural contrast.

Vegan Month, Year Two is nearly drawing to a close, but this time there's a significant difference: my wife has decided that she will continue to be strictly vegetarian after the month is over, adding dairy and eggs back to her diet, but staying off the meat and the fish.

As her husband, what this really means is that most of this month has been about me tinkering with her favorite foods, attempting to create vegan or vegetarian versions of them that are as interesting, delicious, and satisfying (if not more delicious) as the real deal. Coming up close to the top of that list? Carpaccio.

It's one of those dishes that if I see it on a menu when we go out, I instantly know what we're going to be having as our appetizer, no questions asked. I'll order it before she even has a chance to speak to the waiter.

Truth be told, as with Mexican tortas, the actual meat in a carpaccio is largely beside the point. Ultra-thin-sliced meat is not the most flavorful ingredient you can find, particularly not when it's made with the common modern choice of beef tenderloin. Really, the meat serves as an interesting textural vector for the olive oil, lemon, and black pepper.

The idea for using a marinated mushroom in place of the meat came from an exceptional vegan meal we had at Kajitsu, a (now shuttered) restaurant specializing in shojin ryori (Japanese Buddhist monk cuisine) in New York's East Village. Our first course was a sashimi of miso-marinated king oyster mushroom. The 'shroom was marinated in a miso-based sauce overnight, then briefly deep fried, before being simmered in a soy and sea kelp-flavored broth. It was then chilled, sliced, and served with baby ginger (myoga), fresh wasabi, and pickled plums. Incredibly delicious.

The miso marinade was what really sold me. It added a rich, meaty flavor to the mushroom that pushed it from "gee, that's delicious" territory into "why the heck aren't all my mushrooms marinated like this?" land.

For my own version, I use a miso marinade that I modified from my 5-minute miso-glazed salmon recipe, replacing the Japanese sake with some lemon juice to keep the flavors more in-line with tradition. Rather than use tough-to-find king oysters, I went with standard portobellos. I tried frying the mushrooms, but it proved more work and mess than it was worth. Roasting them in the oven post-marinade worked just fine.

These marinated caps, incidentally, would work great on the grill and are tasty in sandwiches as-is.

Overhead closeup of a roasted portabello being thinly sliced on the bias with a sharp knife.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

The only real trick was slicing them thin enough. This is a recipe where you'll need a sharp knife. Cutting the caps on an acute bias will help you get the thin, wide strips you're after for nice presentation. Cutting super thin will also help compensate for the few slices you're going to inevitably pop back as you work. They're incredibly rich and tasty. But you're doing yourself a disservice—they really come alive when dressed carpaccio style.

Overhead closeup of the finished mushroom carpaccio served on a white plate.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

The rest was easy. I drizzled the mushrooms with some really good olive oil (in this case I used a spicy, grassy variety my wife and I brought back from a recent trip to Sicily), squeezed some more lemon over them, sprinkled them with lemon zest, black pepper, and coarse sea salt, then topped the whole thing with some dressed spicy greens.

To really bring a touch of elegance to the table, I added a sprinkling of toasted and roughly chopped pistachios as well. Think of them as a necktie for your mushrooms.

I've still got some work to do if I'm going to keep feeding my wife year-round on vegetarian fare, but this should be enough to tide her over for at least a couple months.

February 2013

Recipe Details

Miso-Marinated Portobello Carpaccio (Vegan) Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 2 hrs
Serves 3 to 4 servings

Marinated mushrooms are slow-roasted until dense and meaty, sliced thin, and served with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon, carpaccio-style.


  • 2 tablespoons red or white miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons juice plus 2 tablespoons thinly sliced zest from 1 lemon, plus 1 extra whole lemon, cut into wedges

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, stems and dark gills removed

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 ounces arugula or other spicy greens

  • 2 tablespoons toasted pistachios, roughly chopped or pressed in a mortar and pestle

  • Coarse sea salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine miso paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and lemon juice in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Rub evenly over surfaces of mushrooms and transfer to a gallon-sized zipper lock bag. Gently press air out from bag, seal, and transfer to refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  2. When ready to proceed, adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove mushroom caps from bag and wipe off excess marinade with paper towels. Place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet gill-side-down and roast until top surface is dry and mushroom is tender throughout, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes to cool slightly.

    The marinated and roasted mushrooms on a foil-lined sheet pan, ready to slice.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  3. Using a very sharp knife, cut mushrooms on a sharp bias into thin slices. Transfer slices to a serving platter or individual platters, fanning them as you go. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon zest, pistachios, black pepper, and coarse sea salt. Toss arugula with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, squeezing one of the reserved lemon wedges over the greens. Top mushrooms with arugula and serve, passing remaining wedges tableside.

    Closeup of the finished mushroom carpaccio, topped with lemon zest, chopped pistachio, and arugula.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Read More

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
219 Calories
17g Fat
14g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 219
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 711mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 18mg 90%
Calcium 46mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 397mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)