Celebrating the Mushroom

September is National Mushroom Month. With the Mushroom Capital of the World around the corner in Kennett Square, PA, a celebration is in order. These fat-free, low-calorie, low-sodium, nutrient-dense powerhouses are loaded with natural antioxidants and are a good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12. Whether you’re a mushroom fan, or a bit skeptical of this fungus, these hidden treasures offer taste, versatility, and satiety to any plate.

It is surprising to note how many different varieties of mushrooms exist. The 4 most common mushrooms are:

  • White button mushrooms hold their flavor well and can be used in almost any recipes, from soups to stir fries.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are often used in Asian cuisines and have a more robust flavor that is savory with a “meaty” taste.
  • Oyster mushrooms have a subtle, nutty flavor that goes best in soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Portobellos are a great meat substitute and stand up to grilling and stuffing. When portobellos are young and small, they’re called creminis.

Get creative and celebrate National Mushroom Month. Here are some quick ideas!

  1. Sauté: Simply heat a small amount of oil to pan and heat on high. Add mushrooms and flip after they become reddish brown. Add to any dish – from grains to gravies.
  2. Roast: Place mushrooms on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with oil (about 1 tablespoon of oil for each 8 ounces of mushrooms). Roast in an oven preheated to 450° for about 20 minutes.
  3. Grill or broil: This method is great for larger mushrooms, such as Portobello. Brush caps and stems with oil and season as desired. Grill or broil about 4-6 inches from the heat source for about 4 minutes on each side. Enjoy as a veggie burger, or slice and enjoy as a side. Or, include mushrooms in a kabob!
  4. Blend: Add chopped mushrooms to meat recipes such as tacos, burgers, chilis and casseroles. The change may be subtle, but the nutrition profile will benefit!
    • A 25/75 mushroom-meat blend is the perfect consistency for burgers, meatballs and meatloaf.
    • A 50/50 mushroom-meat blend works for ground meat dishes such as sloppy joe’s, tacos and burritos.
    • A 70/30 mushroom-meat blend is good for hearty one-pot meals.
  5. Make a soup: This vegetarian Mushroom Soup recipe is light and flavorful. Make it ahead and let the flavors meld overnight.
  6. Add to anything: From stir fries and omelets to quiches and pizza. Include in a fresh vegetable platter or include in a salad.
  7. Make Chips: Toss about 1 pound of sliced mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt if desired. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 400° until crisp, about 35 minutes. Serve as a snack or use as a garnish. Oyster mushrooms are great for chips, but other varieties of mushrooms can be used as well.
  8. In a wrap: Water chestnuts give these mushroom-filled Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps a nice crunch and mild flavor. For a spicier option, add a dash of chili sauce.
  9. Marinate: Slice mushrooms into halves or quarters, depending on size, and briefly sauté in oil over medium heat. Pour your favorite vinaigrette over cooled mushrooms and enjoy as a healthy topping, a condiment for salads or a snack.
  10. Stuffed: Enjoy these bite-size Stuffed Mushroom appetizers. Prepare the stuffing up to a day in advance and assemble the mushroom caps shortly before serving. Or, try this Mushroom Stuffed Burger that melds the rich flavors of red wine and mushrooms to make a hearty low fat meal.

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