By: Olivia Fassino, dietetics student
When you hear the word mushroom, do you cringe? Some people are not big fans of this fungus type food, while others love the earthy umami flavor that a mushroom brings to the table. Not only are mushrooms bursting with unique flavor, they also offer many nutritional benefits. Let’s dive in and learn more about the benefits that mushrooms have on our bodies.
First, some surprising nutrition facts!
- Mushrooms offer 3x the amount of vitamin D than found in fortified milk.
- Mushrooms offer more selenium than any other fruit or vegetable.
- And mushrooms have as much potassium as a tomato.
In addition, mushrooms are rich in these 3 types of B vitamins: Niacin, Riboflavin, and Pantothenic Acid.
Not only are mushrooms nutritious, they’re immensely flavorful. “Umami” is an up and coming word that you may or may not have heard of. This term is derived from Japanese culture and means “delicious”. The umami flavor is used to describe foods that are brothy, savory, rich, or provide a meat flavor, while not necessarily containing any meat. For this reason, it has become increasingly popular to use mushrooms as a meat substitute.
Using mushrooms to substitute meat can do wonders for your health. Studies show that you’ll likely lower your sodium, fat, and calorie intake by making this simple switch. Although it may seem odd, mushrooms make for a great burger patty, taco meat alternative, meatball, or even jerky! Below are some fun recipes that use mushrooms instead of meat, like Shepherd’s Pie made with a blend of crimini mushrooms and lamb meat. In addition to these recipes, there are many more that you can find online. Simply search “mushroom for meat substitution recipes” and you’re bound to find something that pleases your taste buds.
Before you go, let’s discuss the best way to prepare mushrooms. Start by rinsing or brushing off any dirt. If you’re making a recipe that uses mushrooms in place of meat, it’s likely that you’ll be using a food processor. Although some may disagree, you can certainly eat the stems of a mushroom. Keep in mind, if you’re eating shiitake mushrooms, it is recommended to remove the stems as they are quite chewy!