Mushroom and artichoke piccata is a delicious vegan take on the classic Italian chicken dish, chicken piccata. With plenty of lemon, white wine, extra virgin olive oil and best vegan butter, this is a rather decadent dish to serve over delicate capellini pasta. And it takes less than 30 minutes from start to demolish.
If you are looking for a dinner recipe that will make everyone who eats it want to hug you, this is it. The taste is bright and zesty, yet with strong umami notes from the mushrooms, and boozy depth. Plus, the sublime textures – slippery, saucy pasta and meaty mushrooms – are real dinner-date material. If you want to treat your partner, or impress the hell out of a partner-in-waiting (!), make this. If it elicits unwanted proposals of marriage, I will not be held responsible.
I jest, of course, but it really is rather good. And a pleasure to eat. As long as your fellow diner(s) isn’t violently opposed to mushrooms (there are such people. It makes me sad.) they will love this. Whether or not they are vegan.
Me and piccata go way back
Making this recipe brings back some lovely memories.
In my early twenties family circumstances meant that I did the cooking in my house. Mom was a 14-hour drive north getting her divinity degree, while I cooked and helped my Dad around the house. Because my parents didn’t ask for rent money I felt it was my duty (and privilege) to at least make dinner for my hard-working Dad.
This was also when I was engaged from afar to my now-husband, Andrew. So, it was actually good practise for my future life in Edinburgh with him. Not that he would have expected me to be the cook of the house, but it is something I already decided that I wanted to do. He was training long and crazy hours to be a nurse. And I was not. 😉
In this limbo time before my marriage I would rush away from work, swing by the store, and grab what I thought were decent bits and bobs to make a meal. To be perfectly honest it was such a long time ago that I only have a hazy recollection as to what I cooked. But I do know that it was mostly from scratch. Even then, before my Public Health master’s degree, I knew that I didn’t want to base my diet around highly processed foods. Besides, I swear I could taste all of the chemicals.
Anyhow, chicken piccata was a favourite of my Dad’s. Over-sized chicken breasts were pounded flat, scaloppine-style, and dredged in seasoned flour. These were then flung into hot oil to crisp up and brown. I would add tiny vinegary capers, fresh Florida lemon, and quite probably a modest slug from a very old bottle of sherry as “fresh” booze was not usually in the house.
So, what pasta did I serve it with? Um, mashed potatoes. This gloriously saucy rich piccata was heretically served over a pile of mash rather than traditional pasta.
Fast forward 30 years. I no longer eat chicken, but this idea still appeals. And I was reminded of it when I recently picked up a couple of boxes of king oyster mushrooms and had the old lightbulb moment. Didn’t those long slices of mushroom look a bit familiar? Smaller, yes. But they sure would do for second acquaintance with piccata.
What does piccata mean?
Merriam-Webster defines piccata to mean “thin slices of meat (veal) that have been dredged in flour, sautéed, and served in a lemon and butter sauce”. Piccata describes the method. The origins are Italian but the piccata-style is popular in the US, where chicken is often used instead of veal. Etymologically piccata is the feminine of piccato, past participle of piccare to lard (meat); probably from French piquer, literally, to prick (or possibly meaning sharp, “piquant”).
So, what’s in this vegan mushroom piccata?
Not a huge shopping list for you this week:
King oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii). These are creamy-white, fat, columnar mushrooms with a delicious taste when fried. They grow in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa but are available in large supermarkets in many other areas, and at green grocers, too. I tend to find them packaged up as “exotic mushrooms” with the likes of shiitake and maitake. I use these in the recipe too, but mainly the king oyster. If these aren’t easily found, please just use large portobello or field mushrooms.
Lemon. A large-ish one, and very juicy. I used a fat Sicilian one.
White wine or dry sherry. I’ve made this a few times with both wine and sherry and they are both very good. A well-balanced, just off-dry white wine is my preference when using wine. A fino sherry otherwise, but perhaps two tablespoons less than of the wine as it is stronger.
Vegetable stock or broth. I like Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder made up with just-boiled water.
Capers. These add extra pops of piquancy but aren’t absolutely necessary if you don’t have them.
Prepared artichoke hearts. You can use ones in brine or water but the antipasti-style ones are best. Again, if you don’t have them hanging around just leave them out. The mushrooms are the star.
Fats. Yes, plural. Extra virgin olive oil and vegan butter. Here in the UK Naturli is my favourite. It’s really, really tasty! Use good organic dairy butter if you wish.
Parsley. Flat Italian parsley or the curly stuff – whatever you like.
Pasta! Capellini (angel hair) is the usual and extremely good with this. But something like linguine or even tagliatelle would be fine, too. Or mashed potatoes!
**And do serve the mushroom and artichoke piccata with green vegetables or a plain green salad. Balance and all that.
So, are you tempted to make this rather decadent and saucy little recipe soon? Will it be served with delicate angel hair pasta, or a big pile of mashed potatoes? I know what my Dad will say!
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Vegan Mushroom Piccata with Artichokes
Vegan mushroom piccata made with meaty-textured king oyster mushrooms, loads of fresh lemon juice and a few delicious additions. Use other large, flavourful mushrooms if king oyster mushrooms aren't available.
- 200 g king oyster mushrooms * sliced lengthways
- 50 ml plant milk
- 3 tbsp flour gluten-free is fine
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided use; more as required
- 2 tbsp vegan butter divided use; more as required
- 1 lemon juiced
- 80 ml white wine or dry sherry
- 80 ml vegetable stock/broth
- 2 tbsp capers drained
- 4 marinated artichoke hearts halved or quartered
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- Cooked capellini/angel hair pasta to stir in and serve
Brush the sliced mushrooms with the milk. Or you could spray each with oil spray. The idea is to give a light wet layer so that the flour adheres.
Place the sliced mushrooms in a food bag or bowl and toss around with the flour. Tap off excess flour and reserve.
Heat half of the oil and butter in a skillet. Working in batches, add enough sliced mushrooms to comfortably fit your pan. Sauté the mushrooms until well-cooked and golden. Place cooked mushrooms to the side and keep them lightly covered. You could also keep them in a warm oven if you have more than two batches to cook.
When all of the mushrooms are cooked, remove them from the pan (as above) and add in the extra flour from the coating process and cook for one minute, stirring. Add the lemon juice, wine or dry sherry, and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by about one-third, or until you have a thin sauce that coats the back of a wooden spoon. Taste for seasoning and adjust - add pepper, salt and even a little sugar if you wish. It depends on your taste.
You may be cooking your pasta now, so drain when the sauce is ready, reserving a ladle of the pasta water.
Add the capers, artichoke hearts and most of the parsley to the pan and stir. Now add the mushrooms and gently turn in the sauce to coat. At this point you can also add the hot pasta and turn with tongs to coat as well. Or, you can plate up the pasta individually and top with the mushroom piccata. Either way sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve hot.
I LOVE king oyster mushrooms and was inspired to make this dish as I had a lovely fat pack of them. If you can't get these really tasty but sometimes hard to find mushrooms, use thickly sliced large field or portobello mushrooms instead. I also had some maitake and shiitake mushrooms in my pack, so used those too.
You can make this by frying the mushrooms in the oil-butter without first coating in flour. If doing this cook them and put aside while you make the sauce. Do this by adding the remaining fat, then adding the flour and cooking it for two minutes, stirring most of the time with a wooden spoon. Then carry on as directed.
If you really can't do mushrooms, and still like this vegan tweak on chicken piccata, use planks of organic tofu instead.
The nutrition calculations are based on this dish without pasta.
Feel free to use any pasta that you wish, but capellini is probably the nicest for this dish. Linguine would be my second choice. And of course use gluten-free of both flour and pasta if you you wish. Enjoy!
RIPE FOR PINNING!