Archive for September, 2012

Why I Love Mushrooms

In honor of National Mushroom Month, Elizabeth .M. Ward, M.S., R.D. shares reasons to enjoy mushrooms every day of the year. 

I adore vegetables, and as you may have guessed, mushrooms are among my favorites. September happens to be National Mushroom Month, but I think mushrooms are worthy of year-round praise.

They’re versatile and interesting. I never tire of mushrooms. It’s not possible to become bored when there are so many varieties to choose from, including white button, cremini (baby portabella), portabella, oyster, and shiitake. Plus, there are so many ways to use them. I serve mushrooms with meat, chicken, and fish, and as part of salads and soups. Sliced raw white button mushrooms are a delicious alternative to chips when serving dip.

Mushrooms lighten up entrees. Mushrooms fill you up, but not out. That’s because they are full of water and fiber to keep you full, while being relatively low in calories.

“I swap chopped mushrooms for a portion of meat in my favorite recipes, including chili, tacos, meatballs, lasagna, lettuce wraps, burgers and pizza.”

My family enjoys meat-free burgers made from grilled portabella caps topped with a thin slice of sharp cheddar cheese and a slab of juicy tomato between whole grain buns. Yum!

Mushrooms create excitement. When I’m pressed for time, roasted chicken is my go-to meal. I enjoy chicken, and so does my family, but to be honest, it can be boring. I like chicken even more when I spruce it up with store-bought peach salsa, caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms.

Mushrooms offer great taste without the sodium because they have umami, the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Umami is a brothy or meaty flavor that offers a full-bodied taste.  Mushrooms are naturally low in sodium, and their umami means you can use even less salt in your favorite dishes. The darker the mushroom, the more umami it offers.

Mushrooms are nutritious. I may be a dietitian, but if food doesn’t taste good, I won’t eat it, and I imagine you’re no different. That’s why it’s so wonderful that, in addition to tasting great, mushrooms are good for you.

For a food that’s so relatively low in calories and fat and cholesterol-free, mushrooms pack a nutritional punch. They support good health by providing B vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

Mushrooms are the only item in the produce aisle with natural vitamin D.  A three-ounce serving of mushrooms that have been treated with ultraviolet light, the same type of light we get from the sun, supplies about two-thirds of your daily dose of vitamin D. You and your family need vitamin D for strong bones, among other reasons.

How are you incorporating mushrooms into your meals?


Travel the World with Mushrooms

Half the fun of traveling is consuming different local and regional cuisine. Whether you’re traveling the country or enjoying the comforts of home, food helps opens our eyes to the history, culture and customs of the world. When it comes to mushrooms, kitchen adventures are full of possibility. Whether you want to taste the Mediterranean or enjoy a Philadelphia delicacy, mushrooms are the perfect base for a variety of regional dishes.

Mexican Mushroom Chili

Experiment with a new fall chili by incorporating Mexican flavors and spices like Mexican oregano, chipotle chili powder and green chilies. It’s a perfect weeknight meal to transfer into lunch leftovers or to bring to a fall potluck.


Caramelized Mushroom and Shallot Bruschetta

Bruschetta doesn’t have to be the classic tomato, basil and mozzarella combination to be authentic. Italian bruschetta is the perfect canvas for mushrooms. This Mushroom bruschetta blends the heartiness of caramelized mushrooms and shallots with a creamy goat cheese. Serve this at your next party and your guests will think they walked into an Italian bistro.


The journey doesn’t have to end here! Check out our featured recipe tab on Facebook for more mushroom recipes from around the world.

Summer Vegetable Sauté

Jessica from LifeasMOM celebrates the fleeting flavors of summer by sharing her dad’s summer sauté as the perfect base for hearty mushrooms.

Summer is winding down, but hopefully you’re still reaping some of the bounty of the growing season. My dad has always been an avid gardener, sometimes to the chagrin of his children. Have you ever been offered five ears of corn – in one sitting?

Dad has always loved his veggies and wanted to encourage his children to enjoy it as well. In order to make good use of the scores of zucchini, peppers, and onions he grew, he’d make a quick sauté of them.

If only he’d added mushrooms!

“In fact, consider some of your own family favorites and how mushrooms can “beef” them up a bit.”

Incorporating mushrooms into favorite recipes is a great way to boost both fiber and flavor while making your meals more filling. Dad’s sauté benefits from the addition of mushrooms in taste as well as “meatiness”.

Mushrooms make everything better, especially in this late summer vegetable sauté. Enjoy it as a side dish with grilled meats or tuck it into an omelet for a hearty, yet meatless meal. Serve it as a filling for burritos, tacos, or enchiladas or as a topping for rice bowls.

Summer Vegetable Sauté


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 2 small green peppers, sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


1)  In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil.

2)  Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook stirring over medium heat, stirring until onions are clear and mushrooms start to give up their liquid, about 7 minutes.

3)  Add the zucchini and peppers, and continue cooking until zucchini and peppers are tender.

4)  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss in fresh basil. Serve immediately or at room temperature.