In the past few years, the meat-substitute industry has been on the rise and there are tons of new products that vegetarians, vegans, or simply people who want to avoid meat can enjoy. Take Impossible foods, the maker of the "bleeding" Impossible Burger, or plant-based sausage made by Beyond Meat products—both look and taste similar to meat. But even with the popularity of these meat-like products, no one has yet to take on a vegan substitute for lobster. However, that's OK, because mother nature has got our backs. There's actually a lobster mushroom that tastes and kind of looks like lobster. 

What it looks like

Aptly named the lobster Mmushroom, this fungi has a very bright orange color that resembles the color of a cooked lobster shell. The color actually comes from an edible parasite that covers different types of mushrooms. The mushrooms normally have very small stems or no stems at all, and are a bit lumpy. However, when you chop it up, it actually looks like very realistic cooked lobster pieces. 

#SpoonTip: The lobster mushroom has a lot of dirt hence why you should clean them properly with a brush before eating, just be careful because if you clean them with water, the bright orange color might fade away.

What it tastes like

Just like the name implies, the lobster mushroom has a seafood-like flavor. It has a very strong aroma, which even mimics the smell of steamed lobster. The mushrooms can get a little bitter though, but like most things, the fresher the better. Fresh ones with completely white flesh on the inside taste less bitter.

How to eat it

You can cook the lobster mushroom just like any other mushroom. The easiest way is to pan-fry them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. When you cook them, they release an orange juice.

With the right spices, you could use them as a substitute in many popular lobster recipes, from bisque to risotto to mac 'n cheese. Personally, I can't wait to make a vegan version of Capital Grille's Lobster Mac n' Cheese using dairy-free cheese and this mushroom as a lobster substitute. 

Unfortunately, the price of these babies comes at a pretty penny. On Walmart's website 4 oz of fresh lobster mushroom go for nearly $35. If the price doesn't scare you away, the lobster mushroom is in season July through October, so you'll want to pick some up stat. If your grocery store doesn't carry them, look for a specialty gourmet store or online and make all of your favorite lobster recipes vegan. 

#SpoonTip: If you're still thinking about how to use this mushroom, try Lobster Mushroom SpaghettiBeer Battered Lobster MushroomVegan Lobster BisqueSautéed Lobster mushrooms and Braised Whole Lobster.