We all know most of us should be eating more vegetables, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. One of the ways I recommend getting in more servings is by incorporating them into meals you already love. People love burgers, meatballs, and tacos — myself included! By finding ways to add in veggies, like mushrooms, you can help improve the moisture and taste of these dishes while increasing the vegetables and making the meal healthier.
In honor of September being National Mushroom Month I was on Let’s Talk Live DC this week sharing ideas for mushroom meal makeovers. You can watch the full clip here, or check out highlights from my segment below:
Mushrooms: Nature’s Hidden Treasure
Of course one of the reasons I love them is because of their nutritional value. They’re fat-free, low-calorie, low in sodium, and they’re the only fresh produce naturally containing vitamin D. Some varieties are exposed to UV light to maximize their vitamin D content even more. On top of being naturally low in sodium, their savory “umami” flavor allows you to use less salt when you cook with them.
There are five varieties of cultivated mushrooms that are easily accessible at your local market: White button, shiitake, crimini/baby bella, portabella, and oyster. You can find them in bulk whole or whole or sliced in containers. To help promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October you’ll find them in pink containers. Experiment to see which ones your family might like.
Mushrooms and Immunity
Mushrooms are being studied for their health benefits related to immunity. The contain fibers that serve as food for the “good” bacteria in our guts. When this good bacteria is well fed, then it works to help promote a healthy immune system. In addition to being studied for immunity, they are also exploring potential anticancer properties.
How Can I Keep My Mushrooms Fresh?
To maximize their shelf life, keep mushrooms in their original packaging until you’re ready to use them. Fresh mushrooms keep for about a week in the refrigerator. You can actually freeze sautéed mushrooms for up to one month. Use them throughout the week as a side dish, to add to pastas, salads, soups, omelets….you name it!
Mushrooms are Versatile — Use them every day, in every way!
You can use mushrooms in any dish with vegetables to help meet the recommendation of having half your plate fruits and veggies. For breakfast try these breakfast burritos that are made with eggs, avocado, black beans and mushrooms. For a quick but satisfying lunch or dinner, you can combine mushrooms with whole wheat pasta and other vegetables for a simple, savory meal.
Blendability — The Trend is to Blend!
Many people are trying to cut back on meat, but they don’t necessarily want to cut it out completely. By blending mushrooms with ground meat in your favorite recipes, you can add nutrients, cut cholesterol and saturated fat, and stretch out portions to save money too.
For your next get together, try these gyro burgers topped with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce or sausage and mushroom tacos. These mushroom meatballs uses a 50/50 blend of mushrooms to meat and are perfect for feeding a crowd on a budget. You can do a 50/50 swap, or take it up to 80% mushrooms if you want to really cut back on the meat.
Blending mushrooms with meat is easy as 1, 2, 3!
- To clean mushrooms, brush off any dirt with a damp paper towel. If the bottom of the stem feels tough then just trim it off.
- Place mushrooms in a food processor or just use a knife to get them to the consistency of ground meat.
- Mix the two ingredients together, and complete the recipe.
Swapability — You Won’t Even Miss the Meat!
You can use mushrooms to completely replace the meat in any recipe. Here’s one of my favorite ways to swap steak for grilled portobello mushrooms in this caprese portobello mushroom recipe. You can find portobellos in just about any grocery store, and they’re usually ready to go in their packaging.
These grilled mushrooms couldn’t be easier to prepare — just season with olive oil garlic, salt, and pepper and grill or bake for about 15 minutes then top with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes. That’s it!
Filed under: cooking, eating healthy, food, nutrition, recipes, vegetables | Tagged: blendability, burgers, healthy eating, lets talk live, meatballs, mushrooms, National Mushroom Month, pasta, recipe | Leave a Comment »