Mushroom Bao with Sesame Cucumber Salad

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Want an amazing meat free bao recipe? This mushroom bao is so simple and quick to make and I promise you won't miss the meat! #bao #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipe #baobuns #thecookreport

Want an amazing meat free bao recipe? This mushroom bao is so simple and quick to make and I promise you won’t miss the meat!

I always think Asian flavours lend themselves really well to vegetarian food. I think it’s because there’s so many complex layers of flavour and fresh ingredients.

Things like this satay aubergine and vegetable bibimbap are both so simple and easy and now you can even make this vegetarian bao on a weeknight!

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

Hand holding a mushroom bao with a blue background

I love bao so much. They’re one of my favourite foods and they work with all kinds of amazing fillings. Any chance I get to order them in restaurants and they’re always my number one choice.

We’ve tried to make the buns from scratch a couple of times and they’ve never quite turned out so for this mushroom bao we use ready made buns that we bought from an Asian supermarket in the frozen section.

The plus side of that is that the whole recipe is so super quick and easy to make.

Bowl of mushrooms for mushroom bao on a blue background

Overhead shot of mushroom bao in a steamer on a blue background

So you might remember that Will and I decided to give ‘vegetarianism during the week’ a go during January this year.

There are various reasons for this. Partly health reasons, I find we generally eat a little healthier when we’re not eating meat.

Secondly, it’s good for helping us spend a bit less money on food. Meat tends to be pretty expensive and there are some great, super cheap options like lentils and beans which I really enjoy and are great for saving money.

Overhead shot of sesame cucumber salad on a hessian background

Photo of mushroom bao with cucumber salad in the background

And finally, I’ve been getting really anxious about the environment recently and I know that meat consumption has a huge impact on global warming so we’re both trying to do the little bit we can by cutting down on meat.

I’m actually pretty excited for it. I love meat and some of my favourite dishes are meat focused so I can’t imagine ever becoming fully vegetarian but I’m totally happy with the idea of meat being an occasional treat rather than an everyday thing.

And when you have awesome alternatives like this mushroom bao recipe then it honestly makes going meat free a complete breeze.

Close up of mushroom bao on a blue background with chilli and spring onion

Now, I’ve mentioned a couple of times before that I am SO not on board with recipes that pretend vegetables are meat. Portobello mushrooms are not burgers, cauliflower is not steak. Let’s just call them what they actually are, that doesn’t make them taste worse right?

Having said all that, when I ate this mushroom bao which is flavoured with plenty of umami ingredients, I genuinely turned to Will and said ‘Oh my god, it tastes like meat!’. And I meant that in the best possible way.

The mushrooms are just so full of flavour and the perfect texture to sit in those pillowy bao buns. I honestly adored this meal.

Side shot of sesame cucumber salad on a hessian background

To make everything even better we served the mushroom bao with a smacked sesame cucumber salad. I know, smacked cucumber sounds weird and it kind of is. You literally hit your cucumber with a rolling pin before chopping it. But but but it makes it super tender and ensures that it soaks up as much flavour as possible from your dressing.

It’s the perfect side dish to freshen everything up plus the dressing is the perfect thing to mop up with your bao buns. Ah this is just perfection.


  • Soy Sauce – We like this brand
  • Sesame Oil – Something we always have on hand, this one is good
  • Rice Vinegar – Again, really useful to have on hand, try this one
  • Garlic – For ginger and garlic I am not interested in peeling/chopping them so I’m super lazy and buy pastes, we’re into this brand at the moment
  • Ginger
  • Chilli
  • Lime Juice
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Bao Buns –  We used ready made bao buns from our local Asian supermarket and steamed them in a bamboo steamer
  • Spring Onions (Scallions)
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Cucumber
  • Salt
  • Sugar

Keep scrolling to get the full recipe for this mushroom bao with sesame cucumber salad…

Overhead shot of mushroom bao in a steamer basket


If you’re anything like me then you’re always looking for ways to save money and avoid food waste so I want to make sure you’ve get plenty of ideas on how to use up any ingredients that are leftover from my recipes!

Halloumi Salad with Kale and Tahini Dressing

This salad is the perfect way to use up leftover cucumber!

Overhead shot of halloumi salad with kale on a checked cloth

Peanut Salmon Noodles with Pak Choi

I love this simple noodle dish and it uses sesame oil and seeds too

Peanut Salmon Udon Noodles with Pak Choi. The sauce on this peanut salmon is to die for! Perfectly flaky salmon sits on top of udon noodles and wilted pak choi with a creamy peanut sauce. #salmon #udonnoodles #recipe #dinner

Overhead shot of mushroom bao in a steamer basket

Mushroom Bao with Sesame Cucumber Salad

Want an amazing meat free bao recipe? This mushroom bao is so simple and quick to make and I promise you won't miss the meat!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 129kcal
Author: Amy Fulwood


  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Minced Ginger
  • 1 Chilli
  • 1 tsp Lime Juice
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms sliced
  • Ready Made Bao Buns
  • Spring Onion (Scallions) chopped, to serve
  • Sesame Seeds to serve

For the Cucumber Salad

  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce


  • Place the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, chilli and lime juice into a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour over the mushrooms and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Smack the cucumber a few times with a rolling pin then chop, place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix together all the other ingredients. When the cucumber has been sitting for about 10 minutes then drain and pour over the dressing. Serve with extra chilli slices and sesame seeds sprinkled over.
  • Heat a skillet over a high heat until searing hot then add the mushrooms and cook until browned and caramelised. Steam the bao buns according to package instructions. Serve the mushroom filling, bao buns and cucumber with chopped spring onions, chilli and sesame seeds.
Nutrition Facts
Mushroom Bao with Sesame Cucumber Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 129 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 972mg41%
Potassium 472mg13%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 160IU3%
Vitamin C 19.9mg24%
Calcium 17mg2%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Note on nutrition information: The displayed is for the filling and the salad, you will need to add on the information for the bao buns depending on which ones you buy

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  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    01/08/2018 at 1:50 PM

    5 stars
    whoa, whoa, whoa — back up… They make ready-to-eat bao buns? I’ve always made my own. This is a game changer. Love this mushroom bao!

    • Reply
      01/08/2018 at 8:37 PM

      Haha I know right! They’re so amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    01/08/2018 at 2:03 PM

    5 stars
    I love portobello mushroom bao! I make it too, esp during the summer, but I definitely need to try yours! Doncha LOVE how easy they are? Just pinned this gorgeous recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      01/08/2018 at 8:35 PM

      It’s so good right?!

  • Reply
    01/08/2018 at 2:16 PM

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried this before, but I have a feeling I would definitely like it. I love all things mushrooms!

    • Reply
      01/08/2018 at 8:35 PM

      You have to try it!

  • Reply
    01/08/2018 at 2:18 PM

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried a meat-free bao recipe, but you’re inspiring me with these pictures!

    • Reply
      01/08/2018 at 8:35 PM

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Tara @ Unsophisticook
    01/08/2018 at 2:34 PM

    5 stars
    Those mushrooms totally have me drooling — love this meatless take on bao!

    • Reply
      01/08/2018 at 8:34 PM

      Thanks Tara!

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