If mushrooms aren’t a regular part of your weekly menu, you might want to change your routine. Considered a “low-density” food because they make you feel fuller on fewer calories for longer periods of time, mushrooms also dish up incredible flavor and depth. Given those facts, you might consider revamping one weeknight meal by using mushrooms instead of red meat. You’ll quickly slash calories while feeling satisfied for hours.
You can find several mushroom varieties in most supermarkets, including cremini, chanterelle, shiitake, portobello, oyster, morel, porcini and enoki. Porcini are often sold dry, but don’t let that stop you. Rehydrate them and you can enjoy the chewy ‘shrooms and the incredible broth they create while soaking.
Nutritionally, mushrooms are crammed with vitamin D (aids calcium absorption and helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth), potassium (works with sodium to maintain fluid balance and proper metabolism and muscle function), selenium (an antioxidant that protects cell membranes from oxidative damage), and beta-glucans, substances that stimulate the immune system.
15 Ways to Use Wild Mushrooms
1. Mushroom Soup: Sauté a variety of wild mushrooms with shallots and garlic; season with thyme and bay leaves; simmer in good-quality beef broth for 20 minutes
2. Add sautéed mushrooms to scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas
3. Add diced raw mushrooms to chicken and turkey burgers (mushrooms keep them moist)
4. Grill portobello caps and shrimp for the ultimate “surf and turf”
5. Fill roasted cremini caps with tuna and crab salad or herbed goat cheese
6. Nestle grilled or sautéed mushrooms into grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis
7. Rehydrate dried porcini and/or shiitake mushrooms and use the mushrooms and strained broth as the base for soups, stews and gravies
8. Serve sautéed mushrooms over grilled and roasted chicken, tuna, steak, pork, and burgers
9. Fold into rice and pasta dishes, raw or sautéed
10. Arrange over flatbreads and tortillas; top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated parmesan cheese; bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes
11. Use instead of chicken and beef in fajitas and steak sandwiches
12. Sprinkle over salads
13. Add to stir-fries
14. Fold sautéed mushrooms into twice-baked potatoes or add to scalloped potatoes before baking
15. Add to pot roast recipes when you add the other vegetables
Robin Miller is host of Quick Fix Meals, a nutritionist and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families.” She is the busy mom of two active boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinmillercooks.com.