Whether side-dish or center stage, the mushroom’s meaty texture is
guaranteed to satisfy. If you’re working on reducing your meat intake
but still crave steak, mushrooms may be the best palate-satisfying replacement.
In fact, when people eat mushroom-based entrees, they often feel just
as satisfied as if they’d eaten those same dishes made with beef—and
with a fraction of beef’s calories and fat. And don’t worry
about missing out on protein or mouth-feel: mushrooms are higher in protein
than many vegetables, and their meaty texture makes them a good choice
for vegans and would-be vegetarians alike.
At only 15 calories per cup, mushrooms are guaranteed to safeguard your
waistline, and are an excellent source of B vitamins, D vitamins, and
minerals including selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and
manganese. In many parts of the world, they're prized for their immune-boosting
Mushrooms also contain a powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine. For
the highest amount of L-ergothioneine, shiitake, maitake, or oyster mushrooms
are the winners; but criminis, portabellas and white button mushrooms
are nearly as good.
With all of these varieties readily available, there is no “cap”
on the possibilities for nutritious mushroom dishes. Fall is the season
to start eating more of these healthy fungi — and these five ideas
are an excellent place to start.
Mushrooms and Spinach Italian Style (courtesy
This Southern Italian recipe is beloved in the Apulia region. Thoroughly
washed and towel-dried spinach leaves and white mushrooms, with any tough
stems trimmed down, are sautéed with light olive oil, onion, garlic,
balsamic vinegar, and white wine. An excellent cool-weather accompaniment
to lean pork or chicken.
Mediterranean Portobello Burger (courtesy
This sandwich substitutes a grilled or pan-seared Portobello mushroom for
a ground beef patty and comes topped with a luscious Greek-style salad
of Roma tomatoes, arugula, feta cheese, and vinaigrette. Make it a meal
worthy of the isles: Serve with cucumber spears, olives and a nice glass
of sparkling lemon water.
Mushroom and Poblano Tacos (courtesy
Mushroom tacos are perfect for a make-it-quick vegetarian dinner any day
of the week. Brightened with grilled onions and chile peppers (poblano
or jalapeño, depending on your heat tolerance), and topped with
a mild red or green salsa, you won’t miss the meat at all. Stir
together pan-fried mushrooms and brown rice for a filling that skips the
grease of carnitas or carne asada. Garnish with cilantro and queso fresco.
Steamed corn tortillas make an ideal low-fat wrapper.
Farmers Market Breakfast Skillet (courtesy
There is plenty of room for mushrooms at the breakfast table. Add them
to your morning menu with this quick and over-easy egg skillet. Loaded
with fresh spinach leaves, sprouts, and sliced crimini or white button
mushrooms, this fifteen-minute-or-less recipe can easily be doubled in
a 12-inch pan to feed extra mouths. Skip the butter and use an oil mister
with olive oil to reduce fat and calories.
Asian Spinach Salad with Marinated Mushrooms (courtesy
A soy and vinegar marinade “cooks” the mushrooms that top this
salad, making them tender and tasty.
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
2 ½ Tbs. rice vinegar
1 ½ tsp. light brown sugar
1/ 2 tsp. chile-garlic sauce
1 ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
4 cups sliced button mushrooms
8 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 avocado, peeled and diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, grated (½ cup)
4 green onions, thinly sliced (½ cup)
3 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, and oil
in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add mushrooms, and toss to coat. Marinate
at room temperature for two hours, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the mushrooms and save the marinade. Toss the marinade with the remaining
ingredients except the spinach, which should be portioned evenly into
salad bowls. Top the spinach with the mushrooms, and finish the salad
by sprinkling with sesame seeds.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy mushrooms? Share a comment below.