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The Bloomin Onion May Rule, but Vegan Bloomin Mushrooms with Spicy Mayo Are Just Right

We revisit the throwback app phenom known as the Bloomin Onion – and give it a vegan update

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The 1980s were a heady time for appetizer development. Shrimp cocktail was being served in martini glasses, dip was being poured into bread bowls, and at a restaurant in New Orleans, future Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon was having his first encounter with what would become one of the most recognizable apps in America: the Bloomin Onion.

Poised for a comeback, the Bloomin Onion pulls on our nostalgic heartstrings with its crispy, fried exterior and zippy dipping sauce. But an onion isn’t the only ingredient that can bloom. Freed of their bottoms but left mostly intact, enoki mushrooms fan out to look downright bloom-y.

Here, they’re fried in a delicate tempura batter and paired with a simple spicy vegan mayonnaise — a new classic appetizer for the ages. You might say it’s just right.


More Related Recipes to Try Next:
Crispy Enoki Mushroom Sandwiches
Vegan Cheese Fondue
Mushroom Pita Sandwiches


bloomin onion bloomin mushrooms vegan
(Photo: Stephanie Ganz)

Bloomin Enoki Mushrooms with Spicy Vegan Mayo

Ingredients

Vegan spicy mayo

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Fried enoki mushrooms

  • 2 quarts vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Just Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons 80-proof vodka
  • 1/4 cup club soda
  • Half of 1 200-gram package of enoki mushrooms, bottom portion removed, leaving mushrooms still connected

To assemble

  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • Lemon wedges
  • 1 Tablespoon togarashi or chili flake

Preparation

  1. Combine spicy mayo ingredients and set aside. 
  2. Chill all of the fried mushroom ingredients, from cornstarch to club soda, for at least 20 minutes so they are all cold before you mix them together. This keeps gluten from forming, resulting in a lighter, crispier tempura batter.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium until it reads 375 degrees on a digital thermometer. Or, if you don’t have a thermometer, test the temperature by dropping a small pinch of flour into the oil. It should sizzle immediately.
  4. Whisk cornstarch, flour, and salt together in one bowl. In another bowl, combine egg and vodka, and stir. Pour egg mixture and club soda into the flour mixture, and whisk very briefly to just combine, leaving some clumps of dry ingredients.
  5. Separate two or three sections of enoki mushrooms, keeping them mostly connected at the bottom. Dip them into the tempura batter, and hold them over the bowl, sliding off the excess batter with your hands. 
  6. Carefully lower the battered mushrooms into the hot oil, and cook for about 4 minutes on one side. Flip and continue frying for another 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oil and place on a paper bag to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  8. Arrange mushrooms together on the plate to look like a bloom. Garnish with sliced scallions and togarashi. Serve with spicy mayo and lemon wedges.