I’ve never had a traditional po boy, which is filled with what Wikipedia calls “sloppy roast beef” or fried seafood, depending on who you ask. It’s also served with lettuce and tomato. None of those things are going to appear in this sandwich, so I guess this is more “inspired by” than trying to replicate a traditional po boy. What I was going for was crispy, cornmeal-battered, meaty mushrooms dressed with a rich and spicy vegan mayo, briny capers, paper-thin red onion and slightly sweet bread and butter pickles piled high and sandwiched between two halves of a toasted, buttery hoagie roll.
Everything was fried and toasted in my air-fryer, which I never thought I would get into, but here I am. I used a blend of Songnee and oyster mushrooms in this version, but you can use whatever mushrooms you’d like. Just cut away any rough ends (and save them for making stock later) chop them up into bite-sized pieces, and you’re good.
As for filling the po boy once your mushrooms are done: use whatever you’d like. I kept it simple with some mandolined red onion, pickles and scallions, but adding traditional components like lettuce and tomato works too. Any leftover mushrooms can be stored in the fridge and reheated in your air fryer with no oil to recrisp them!
Vegan Po Boy
Yield 4 sandwiches
These vegan po boys are mushroom based and made in an air-fryer!
for the dry mix
- 1 cup fine cornmeal (not polenta)
- 1 cup panko
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp white or black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
for the wet mix
for the mushrooms
- 4 cups of songnee or oyster mushrooms (or a mix of both), rough stems cut away and reserved for making broth in another application later
- cooking spray
for the sambal-horseradish mayo
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/8 cup minced garlic
- 1, 4 oz. can of diced green chilis, drained
- 1 cup vegan mayo (I like Hampton Creek or Follow Your Heart)
- 1 TB prepared horseradish
- 1 TB sambal (more or less, depending on how spicy you'd like it)
- 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 4 hoagie rolls
- vegan butter or olive oil, for toasting the rolls
- 1 small red onion, mandolined and soaked in cold water, drained and patted dry
- 2-3 scallions, chopped
- 1 TB capers, divided 4 ways
- bread and butter pickles
- lemon wedges
- In one large bowl, combine the dry mix ingredients. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, combine all of the wet mix ingredients. Throw in the mushroom tops and toss them around with your hands to make sure the wet mixture gets into all of the nooks and crannies of the mushroom tops. Toss a few times while it marinates for about 20 minutes.
Make your sambal-horseradish mayo
- While your mushrooms are marinating, heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add in the oil and the garlic, and stir to coat the garlic in the oil. Once just softened, but not golden (no more than 2-3 minutes), add in the canned diced chilis and allow to saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, add in the rest of the sambal-horseradish mayo ingredients and place into the refrigerator to chill. (This can also be done the day before to allow the flavors to fully blend)
When you are ready to prep the mushrooms
- Transfer your bowls near the sink. Take out a handful of mushrooms, letting the wet mixture drip off the mushrooms a bit. Place them into the dry mixture and shake or toss with a spoon to coat, pressing dry mixture to any exposed areas.
- Now holding one breaded mushroom over the sink, lightly spray with the cooking oil, flip and spray again. Place the mushrooms into a single layer of your air-fryer basket. taking care not to overcrowd them. Repeat this process as needed based on the size of your air fryer.
- Bake in your airfryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until your mushrooms are golden and look crispy. Transfer to paper towels and repeat the process with the remaining mushrooms.
Toast your hoagies
Split but do not separate the hoagie rolls. Place a little vegan butter or olive oil onto the interior, place in your air fryer interior-side up, and toast at 350 for 3-5 minutes, or until the interior is slightly crispy.
Spread the desired amount of the sambal-horseradish mayo over one side of the toasted hoagie. Place 1/4 of the fried mushrooms into the roll, adding red onion, scallions, capers and pickles as desired. Serve with the lemon wedges.
Store any leftover mushrooms in the refrigerator. Reheat in your air fryer, no oil needed!