You may not know it, but cheap white button mushrooms give a lot of nutritional bang for the buck.
White button mushrooms seem to have as much antioxidant properties [and in some cases more than] as other mushrooms, including [pricy] maitake and white matsutake, according to Jean-Michel Savoie, Ph.D., lead author of a study published recently in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Cool huh? The bottom line is that all mushrooms may provide health benefits, and they contain nutrients like potassium, copper and niacin, so there is no need to always seek out exotic, expensive kinds.
Toss a handful of mushrooms into salads, soups and stir-fries and add mushrooms to dinner tonight with these delicious recipes:
Sichuan-Style Tofu with Mushrooms: White mushrooms star with seared tofu in this delicious Asian-flavored dish.
Couscous with Mushrooms & Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Simple couscous gets an upgrade with sautéed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.
Boneless Pork Chops with Mushrooms & Thyme: Although this supper is made to serve two, you can double or triple the recipe so it becomes a family meal that's big on taste but still very healthy.
Sherried Mushrooms: Tapas are not always fancy-usually they're just a few simple ingredients prepared well, like these tender, juicy mushrooms. Just place a dish of toothpicks next to the serving dish and let guests help themselves.
Sauteed Mushroom Salad: Here we make a warm sherry-mushroom dressing to toss over bitter greens. The dressing wilts the greens until they are just tender.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, halved and sliced
1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups bitter salad greens, such as frisee, arugula or baby dandelion greens
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Add garlic and thyme and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry and cook until mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Pour over greens in a large bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Makes 6 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each.
Per serving: 82 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 1 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 133 mg sodium; 339 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A & Vitamin C (15% daily value).
Take advantage of the many available mushrooms with these tips:
Mushroom Shopping Tips
- Fresh mushrooms should be firm with a fresh, smooth appearance. They should also appear dry, but not dried out.
- White button mushrooms are the most popular and have a fairly mild taste that goes well with almost anything. Cremini mushrooms look similar to white buttons except for their brown cap, but have a deeper flavor than white buttons. Portobello mushrooms' large brown caps can be up to six inches in diameter and have a deep, meaty flavor. Shiitake mushrooms also have a meaty texture and flavor and are brown with umbrella-shaped caps. Oyster mushrooms have a very delicate flavor and can be gray, pale yellow or blue.
- Wild mushrooms include morels, truffles and chanterelles, and unless you are purchasing wild mushrooms from a supermarket, it is best to only purchase or forage wild mushrooms with the guidance of a mushroom expert, as poisonous mushrooms can often resemble nonpoisonous mushrooms.
- Dried mushrooms are available in the produce section of many supermarkets. When purchasing them, look for whole mushrooms in the package without a lot of powdery dust or spiky shards; the color should be uniformly brown.
Mushroom Storage Tip
- Keep mushrooms in their original container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Once opened, mushrooms should be stored in a porous paper bag to prolong their shelf life. Do not store fresh mushrooms in airtight containers, which will cause condensation and speed up spoilage. Never freeze fresh mushrooms.
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as an associate editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.
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