Chace Duma / Daily Nexus

I’m trying to eat less meat. About a year ago, I tried to go vegan for a week and it didn’t go too well. However, just because veganism didn’t work doesn’t mean I’m eating a steak at every meal. I’m still making an effort to eat less meat, for personal health reasons and, mainly, the health of our planet. According to analysis by the Chatham House, eating less meat is essential to curbing climate change, which makes complete sense when considering that global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods.

Beyond the impact going meatless once or twice a week will have on our planet, I’ve found that pushing myself to eat more plant-based meals requires me to be more creative in the kitchen, which is always a welcome challenge. This recipe for oyster mushroom tenders is no exception! It’s a delicious (and cheaper) replacement for your classic chicken tenders. It’s way easier, too, with no fussing over whether your chicken is cooked or not! Bread the mushrooms, throw them in the oil until they’re perfectly golden brown, let them cool, then dig in! 


  • 2 pounds oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ½ cup neutral-flavored oil


  1. Pour oil into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Set aside a baking sheet with a rack or a paper towel inside. 
  2. Combine flour, paprika, turmeric, ginger powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the coconut milk into a separate bowl. You might need to microwave it (or otherwise heat it up) to dissolve any solidified coconut fat. 
  4. Separate your oyster mushrooms, cutting any pieces that are too big for your pot into smaller strips.
  5. Dip each piece of mushroom into the milk, then coat it in the flour mixture. Repeat this process one more time, making sure as much of the mushroom is as covered as possible. 
  6. Fry the mushrooms in the oil until golden brown, flipping once to make sure they’re evenly browned. 
  7. Transfer the finished oyster mushrooms to the baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with salt. Let them cool, then enjoy!

If you’re feeling like adding another layer of flavor (not that these need it) feel free to dip your mushroom nuggets into ketchup, soy sauce or one of your other favorite dipping sauces. They’re delicious on their own; I was eating them so quickly I didn’t even consider a dip. If you’re looking to reduce your meat intake, add this recipe to your “quick weeknight dinners” list or just do something with that bunch of oyster mushrooms you bought at the farmers market because of how pretty they looked, this is a delicious option!

A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the October 14, 2022 version of the Daily Nexus.