I like a challenge. So when I was making out a list the other day of recipes I wanted to create, I chose things I almost doubted would even taste good veganized. French Dip, Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque were some of what was on the list. Honestly, I never really even liked lobster before I gave up meat-eating. I’m not even sure why I chose this dish to start with on my re-boot of blogging regularly. But, here we are. This dish doesn’t taste exactly like real dead lobster bisque, and I’m glad for that. It is, however, very reminiscent and very tasty. It is rich and buttery, with lobster mushrooms providing the lobstery-taste, kelp powder bringing a seafood flavor, and old bay seasoning topping it off with a perfect seafood spice blend. I daresay it is better than the boiled-alive-sea animals version. Did you know that some lobster species can live up to 50 years? And according to Nat. Geo, populations of commercially important species are “thought to be declining, and overfishing, particularly of clawed lobsters in Europe, is taking a toll. Additionally, pollution is causing shell rot and other illnesses in normally disease-resistant species.” Yum! I know you probably love mutant seafood, but in case you don’t, read on to the recipe.
Vegan Lobster Bisque
3 0.5 oz packages of dried lobster mushrooms (or 2 cups fresh, if you can find them!)
3 cups vegetable broth (I used no-chicken flavor)
2 large shallots
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
4 Tbs vegan margarine
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 Tbs kelp powder
1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is best)
2 large roma tomatoes
1 cup cashew cream
Fresh parsley for garnish
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Lobster mushrooms are not mushrooms, but rather parasitic ascomycetes that grow on mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that resembles the outer shell of a cooked lobster. Yeah, that doesn’t sound tasty, but listen. IT IS. Here in Small Town, Tennessee, I can’t find them fresh, just dried, and they’re only at gourmet/health food stores. If you have access to fresh ones, go for it. If you have dried ones, however, toss them all in 3 cups of broth in a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the mushrooms are reconstituted. SAVE THE LIQUID. This broth is one of the keys to the bisque’s lobster flavor.
Add them and 3 Tbs of your margarine to a large pot on Medium. Stir often, making sure nothing browns. Once your shallots are translucent, mince and add your garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of your margarine and then flour, kelp powder and old bay seasoning, making a roux. Cook this for one minute.
After the 20 minutes of simmering is up, blend the pot ingredients in a blender in batches and return to stove. Then, add your cashew cream and lobster pieces to the pot and stir. Bring up the heat to medium for a minute, and then it’s time to dish it out! Ladle the bisque into soup bowls and top with reserved large lobster mushrooms, parsley, and salt and pepper. Serve with oyster crackers.
**The wine is absolutely a necessity in this dish. It’s not that the bisque wouldn’t taste good without it, it’s just that it’s so amazing with it. Also, if the bisque is super thick at the end, you can add a bit more broth to thin it out.
This goes great with a dry Chardonnay!