The Blend Hits a Home Run with Kids and Parents

Do you ever wonder how kids react to veggies, especially mushrooms on their lunch tray? Bart Minor, our Mushroom Council Representative, shares how the mushroom swapability method went over at two recent food conferences.

The Mushroom Council recently attended the School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference in Denver, Colorado from July 15 – July 18 and immediately followed that up with a visit to the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Chef Competition in California. One of our goals at each event was to talk about ways to get kids to eat their veggies. Nothing makes the case like testing a food method yourself, so we sampled mushroom swapability meatballs and tacos. The swapability method refers to replacing a portion of ground meat in a recipe with minced mushrooms to add a serving of veggies. This approach was a runaway success for its ease and tasty flavor – factors that are a hit with both parents and kids. In fact, the samples were so popular that the swapability tacos won “Best Kid’s Dish: Adults’ Choice,” and “Best Kid’s Dish: Kids’ Choice” at the PMA’s Chef Competition.

If you’re still not convinced on swapability, here are two reasons to believe:

1)  It tastes great – even hard-to-please kids say so!

2)  It adds a serving of nutritious vegetables – something parents and school lunch directors love!

Try the award-winning taco recipe yourself and become a swapability believer!

Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Verde

(yields 8 servings)

Ingredients:

Tacos

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb. white button mushrooms
  • 3/4 lb. crimini mushrooms
  • 2 cups julienne of sweet onions
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp. ground chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper, if necessary
  • Lime juice to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 4 Tbsp. Cotija Cheese, grated

Avocado Salsa Verde

  • 1 large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp. seeded and minced Serrano chile
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon or lime jice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar

Directions:

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place ground beef in pan and cook; season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Chop mushrooms to approximately the size and texture of ground beef and sauté in a separate pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Combine mushrooms and meat and set aside.
  3. Heat sauté pan used for ground beef over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  4. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the mushroom/beef mixture and ground chili pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice.




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