You read that right. “Mush”zarella sticks. As in mushroom mozzarella sticks. As in, there’s no cheese anywhere near these sticks, just mushrooms. And no, these aren’t just air-fried mushroom. No no no. These healthy appetizers are greater than the sum of their parts. Trust me.

It may sound far fetched to say that I’ve replaced mozzarella cheese with mushrooms, but I promise, I have. Are the mushrooms magically converted to a chewy ooey gooey texture by the air fryer, making them an exact cheese analog? No. But the king oyster mushrooms and nutritional yeast in this recipe do a pretty good job of approximating a cheesy flavor, and a hearty texture that doesn’t necessarily mimic cheese, but instead gives you a satisfying mouthfeel experience that makes you wonder why cheese was even the first choice for this dish.

Vegan “Mush”zarella Sticks (Air Fried King Oyster Mushrooms)

You read that right. “Mush”zarella sticks. As in mushroom mozzarella sticks. As in, there’s no cheese anywhere near these sticks, just mushrooms. And no, these aren’t just air-fried mushroom. No no no. These healthy appetizers are greater than the sum of their parts. Trust me.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, air-fried, kig oyster mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, mushrooms, vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Monson Made This
Ingredients
  • 9 to 10 ounces whole king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs, or breadcrumbs of your choice*
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the caps off of your king oyster mushrooms just below the gills. Depending on the size of your mushrooms, cut the stalks of each mushroom into about 4 equally sized strips.
  2. To a food processor, add your bread crumbs, garlic powder, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until the panko is about half the size, and there are a fair amount of powdery crumbs. Having some of the crumbs reduced to a floury texture really helps with the eventual texture of the sticks.
  3. Prepare the batter by adding the chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a large bowl. Pour in your water a bit at a time, stirring until you have have the consistency of a pancake batter. You may not need the entire cup of water.
  4. Add your mushrooms to the bowl of batter, and gently stir to coat. One by one, with a fork, remove each mushroom piece. Dip them in the crumbs, and then sprinkle the mushrooms with the crumbs. Once coated, gently press the crumbs into the mushroom until you have a nice crust. Continue until all mushrooms are breaded.
  5. Preheat your air fryer to 390 to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cook your mushrooms in 2 to 3 batches, making sure not to stack or overcrowd them while cooking. They should take about 10 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on them, flipping them halfway through the cooking process. Since you’re not using any oil they won’t get super golden brown, but when they are browned and crispy, they are done.
  6. Allow the mushrooms to cool for a couple of minutes before biting in. They can be super hot and juicy on the inside and may burn you if you dig in too quickly.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite marinara or pizza sauce.
Recipe Notes

*If using traditional bread crumbs, you might not need to pulse them in the processor. However, having a bit of powdered bread crumbs does add to the texture.