Vegan Shiitake “Oyster” Sauce for Asian Stir-Fries (grain free & gluten free)

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This homemade Vegan Shiitake “Oyster” Sauce is a versatile, tasty alternative to store-bought Asian sauces. It’s a great way to refine any of your favorite home cooked Asian meals!

After years of dabbling at Asian/Chinese cooking I decided last week that it was time to create more authentic Asian dishes. We hardly ever go out to eat Chinese food as it’s not always easy to determine what ingredients go into each dish (MSG, anyone?) although I’m sure there are plenty of Asian chefs out there who prepare excellent, all-natural meals but…. just not in my area, it seems!

The one thing I’m always lacking is a good Chinese sauce.
In an attempt to prepare a quick dinner last week, I set out to buy oyster sauce – the natural kind. No such thing, apparently! Even my health food store didn’t carry any sauces which I deem acceptable (every product I found had at least one of the following offenders: MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial coloring/flavoring and the list goes on).

I remembered reading about vegan sauces in the Asian cuisine so I started experimenting with different ingredients and I’m pretty pleased with the results! I’m sure you could refine the style of this sauce a little; I can think of various other ingredients that would make this sauce even tastier, however, I decided to keep it simple and versatile as I like to reserve some creative elbow room – I don’t want my sauce to overpower the ingredients I am cooking and like to give each dish an individual note.

A note on the shelf life of this sauce: I make small batches which we use up within one week. I read that people freeze oyster sauce; it sounds like a grand idea to me! I haven’t’ tried it so I can’t say how the sauce tastes once it’s defrosted; I am confident, thought, it won’t change the flavor.

You all know what’s coming next. Stay tuned for a super easy stir fry recipe which I will be posting next week!!

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Vegan Shiitake "Oyster" Sauce (grain free & gluten free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sauce
  • 1 oz dried shiitake (organic, if possible)
  • 2 tablespoon (toasted) sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon grain/gluten free organic soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  1. Cover shiitake in hot water and soak for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Drain and slice shiitake and save 1 cup of the soaking liquid.
  3. Add sesame oil to a medium size frying pan and sautee shiitake and ginger over medium heat until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Combine shiitake + ginger with 1 cup of soaking water in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Add sauce back to your frying pan and stir in soy sauce and maple syrup.
  6. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes, let sauce cool down and transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated.


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  1. Brett Deutscher says

    This sauce is excellent. It’s amazing how you have designed something vegan which tastes like oysters! Very rich, great consistency. I’d never miss the other stuff. This is pure and delicious. Thank you for your efforts in the kitchen. Those of us who are too busy to come up with these great ideas can reap the benefits of your hard work!

    • Rose says

      Hi Brett,
      I’m super glad to hear you liked the sauce!
      It’s readers like you that motivate me to keep on going; if I can make a difference in one person’s life then I know it was all worth it :)
      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!
      Have a wonderful weekend :)

  2. Brandy says

    HI! I’m excited to try this as part of becoming a home cook with a wider repertoire! Are dried shiitakes difficult to find? I’ve never purchased them before but I feel like my Target might not carry them. : ) I have access to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, so maybe there?

  3. Bonnie says

    Thanks for the sauce — not a vegan but love cooking with my friend who is. We both thought this sauce was great!

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