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Balsamic Pickled Shiitake Crostini

These shiitake crostini have been pickled in balsamic rice vinegar and paired with a creamy basil pesto ricotta spread for the perfect toasty bite.

I’ve never understood the mushroom haters.

There are definitely things out there weird enough that even my adventurous palate isn’t willing to try or like (um, the ant larvae served with smoked avocado tartare at the Cancun wine and food festival last week would be one of those things) but mushrooms don’t even come close to falling in that category.

This balsamic pickled shiitake crostini recipe was created in connection with my appointment as a contributor to the Nakano Natural and Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
These shiitake crostini have been pickled in balsamic vinegar and paired with a creamy basil pesto ricotta spread for the perfect toasty bite.

And yet, I feel like the general population is split in half with lovers of all things fungi (me) and extreme haters just like the ever divisive cilantro.

I hope you’re a lover.

Because these balsamic pickled shiitake mushrooms are baller and worth every penny of their slightly ridiculous price tag ($10.99 a pound, really?!).

Lion’s mane mushrooms would also be great atop this crostini if you can find them. They’re probably even more expensive, but totally delicious with their meaty texture and umami flavor.

Balsamic Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms are a tangy bite perfect on top of some toasted bread.

I was trying to explain the term umami to Ulysses the other day (the fact that he didn’t even know of the word was slightly concerning to his food blogging wife) and found it nearly impossible to put into words.

The one thing that kept popping into my head was ‘mushrooms!’ And it’s exactly how I describe my air fryer mushroom recipe.

I don’t even know if that’s an accurate definition but, to me, they epitomize that savory-ness that umami tries to corral in food.

When you pickle them in balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, the whole umami factor just explodes exponentially.

You can learn how to pickle any fruit or vegetable with this quick pickling guide. Mushrooms and fennel happen to be two of my favorite pickled vegetables.

Balsamic Pickled Shiitake mushrooms are paired with a basil ricotta pesto spread for the perfect crostini bite.

Nakano’s balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar brings the perfect tang while the soy sauce highlights a little bit of saltiness in the mushrooms.

To offset that deep savory flavor, they’re placed on top of a refreshing basil pesto ricotta spread that will remind you summer is just around the corner (if this miserable NY weather ever lets up).

You could even top these shiitake crostini with some pickled shallots for another tangy layer to really brighten up the bite. Their pretty purple color would also complement the browns and greens beautifully.

We’ve never done the brunch thing for mom on Mother’s Day so if you’re anything like my family, throw these shiitake crostini on the menu instead.

Balsamic Pickled Shiitake Crostini are a delicious savory small bite.

Guarantee it’ll beat French toast any day.

Love this Balsamic Pickled Shiitake Crostini recipe?

Check out more Nakano recipes like these spicy pickled pineapple and this cilantro mango wild rice salad.

Balsamic Pickled Shiitake Crostini

Balsamic Pickled Shiitake Crostini

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

These shiitake crostini have been pickled in balsamic vinegar and paired with a creamy basil pesto ricotta spread for the perfect toasty bite.


For the pickled mushrooms

  • 10 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup Nakano balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 shallot, minced

For the basil pesto ricotta spread

  • 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup ricotta

To assemble

  • Sliced and toasted French or Italian bread
  • microgreens for garnish


  1. Make the pickled mushrooms by combining all the ingredients in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
  2. Make the basil pesto ricotta spread by combining the basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the ricotta and process again until incorporated.
  3. To assemble, spread the basil pesto ricotta on a slice of toasted bread. Top with a spoonful of the mushrooms and garnish with some microgreens. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 71Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.


Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

Saturday 4th of June 2016

This is so unique!! It sounds absolutely delicious.

Claudia | The Brick Kitchen

Tuesday 10th of May 2016

Definitely a fungi lover over here!! And apparently unami is actually a fifth taste sense - so on top of sweet, salty, bitter and sour. It deserves its own spot haha! Gorgeous crostini too - I love the sound of the basil ricotta pesto especially <3


Tuesday 10th of May 2016

I want to put these mushrooms on and in everything.. I see some shrimp lettuce wraps soon..

Nutmeg Nanny

Sunday 8th of May 2016

I'm a total mushroom LOVER! Give me all the fungi :) I love the look of this crostini and I love that it's such a fun way to use shiitake mushrooms.

Keith @ How's it Lookin?

Sunday 8th of May 2016

They look delicious. The spread sounds awesome, thanks a lot

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