mushrooms-a.jpgIn creating a vegan alternative to traditional oyster sauce, I combined the flavors of oyster and shitake mushrooms, and black beans to marry a savory, spicy, garlicky substitute that provides the same umami essence one would expect to find in an oyster sauce that I now keep in my fridge for lettuce wraps and stir frys. And because I make it fresh, I control the ingredients and avoid the MSG and unwanted additives inherent in store-bought varieties. The black beans aren’t the same as black beans used in Mexican cuisine, they’re fermented, dried and then reconstituted to create the sauce.

Recipe notes: sauce can be made up to a week ahead. What you will need: Yields 12oz. Active prep time 30-minutes. Difficulty level: Very easy


  • 3-Tbsp dried fermented black beans, soaked in warm water for 30-minutes
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  • 1/4-cup dried Shittake mushrooms
  • 1/4-cup dried oyster mushrooms
  • 1 1/2-cups warm water
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  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/3-cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1-teaspoon rice vinegar
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce or sambal oelek, for heat (optional)
  • ¼ cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1Tbsp + 1tsp plum sauce
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  • 1-Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot dissolved in 2-Tbsp water


  1. Drain black beans and mash with a fork, and set aside.
  2. Drain mushrooms, reserve liquid and set aside
  3. Slice mushrooms
  4. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
  5. Add garlic, ginger and saute till soft and fragrant
  6. Add green onions and saute till softened.
  7. Add mashed black beans and mushrooms, and cook for another minute
  8. Add remaining ingredients, except for cornstarch and cook till dates have broken up and dissolved.
  9. Bring to a boil and stir in cornstarch/arrowroot mixture and simmer till thickened.
  10. Allow to cool
  11. Transfer sauce to blender and pulse
  12. Store in a desired jar and refrigerate