Posts Tagged ‘immunity’

Mushroom Varieties Offer Different Health Benefits

DYK: Different mushroom varieties offer different health benefits. Read on to learn more!

While it’s easy to decipher between shapes and colors, it’s not as easy to see the nutritional differences between mushrooms. Mushrooms are a nutrient powerhouse with each type offering beneficial nutrients such as vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins.

Health Benefits of Mushroom Varieties

This March, during National Nutrition Month,“Put Your Best Fork Forward” and dive deeper into the leading health benefits[1] behind four common mushroom varieties.

Low-Calorie

Opt for white buttons: Boasting just 18.5 calories per serving[2], white button mushrooms contain the lowest calories of all mushroom varieties. Additionally, white buttons provide 15 percent of the daily recommended intake of the vitamin B3, niacin. Niacin may promote healthy skin and digestive health.

Bone Health

Say hello to shiitakes: One serving of shiitake mushrooms is an excellent source of copper, offering 40 percent of the recommended daily intake. Copper helps keep bones and nerves healthy.

Immunity

Choose cremini: One serving of cremini mushrooms is an excellent source of selenium, containing 31 percent of the recommended daily intake. Selenium may help the immune system function properly.

Vitamin D

Make room for maitake: One serving of maitake mushrooms contains a whopping 236 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D may help build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Additionally, it may support cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and help reduce inflammation.

[1] Mushroom Varieties Chart and Nutrition by Varieties

[2] Average serving size is 4-5 mushrooms.

Mushrooms and Health Summit

On September 9-10th the Mushroom Council held its very first Mushrooms & Health Summit in Washington D.C. Mushroom Council representative, Bart Minor, was at the two day event which boasted mushroom experts from leading scientific institutions, nutrition professionals, and a fascinating mock growing room that captured the attention of every single attendee.

Mushroom Summit Presentations

I can’t think of a better way to bring mushrooms out of the dark and into the health spotlight than at our very own Mushrooms & Health Summit. In a room full of scientists, doctors, nutrition professionals, and even foodies, it became evident that mushrooms are something we should be excited about!

I sat there fascinated by all of the emerging research; presentations on everything from weight management and immunity, to vitamin D and umami. Leading scientists and researchers are discovering new facts about mushrooms and what makes them a unique dietary component every day.

The mushroom lunch was a captivating presentation in itself. Culinary experts from the CIA showcased mushroom blendability by demonstrating their sensory sampling panel, and highlighting the research that has come out of these highly successful trials. It should be no surprise the studies found consumers generally like mushrooms as a partial substitution for ground meat because mushrooms enhance the aroma, flavor, and texture of the finished dish.

Mushroom Summit Blendability Sampling

The mock growing room was by far the star of the summit. With a huge display that showcased all commercially grow varieties, summit attendees we both surprised and delighted to see exactly how fresh mushrooms are grown in the US.

Mushroom Summit Growing Room

Since 2005, the mushroom industry has dedicated resources to better understand the nutrition properties and health benefits of mushrooms, and I was honored to see all of these resources come together to shed some light on the humble mushroom.

Mushroom Lasagna from Chez Us

Turn your Meatless Monday meal into a comfort food feast with this Mushroom Lasagna recipe from Denise of Chez Us!

I recently had the chance to tag along on a mushroom foraging excursion with an expert from Northern California.  It was fascinating what I learned about my favorite food!  Besides learning that mushrooms are primarily composed of water, I also learned that mushrooms shouldn’t be consumed raw since they contain chitin, a material that needs to be cooked in order to break down and become edible. Also, thanks to their high water content, you don’t need much cooking liquid when preparing mushrooms.

Luckily, mushrooms are also packed with nutrients and vitamins!  They are a great source of B vitamins, especially niacin and riboflavin and happen to be protein powerhouses.  I found it interesting that dried mushrooms have almost as much protein as a piece of veal. I could go on and on, but will save for that for another time!  I mean, you’re probably hungry by now, right?

This mushroom lasagna is my go-to recipe for vegetarian meals.  Since mushrooms are a great source of protein, this recipe is very filling.  I lightly saute a mixture of brown crimini, portobellos and shiitakes with a little olive oil. Thanks to their high water content, there’s no need to add more liquid! Here and there, I’ll add golden chanterelles and oyster mushrooms to the mushroom blend.  I love the meaty texture of the chanterelles mixed with delicate oyster mushrooms.

To balance all of the earthy goodness in this recipe, I use three cheeses: fresh mozzarella, mascarpone and ricotta. I also use an abundance of fresh herbs to round out the flavors. Yes, it is rather decadent, but it is so worth it!  Instead of a traditional red sauce, I use a creamy béchamel.  When béchamel bakes with the three cheeses it makes a delicious, creamy base that mixes perfectly with the earthy mushrooms and fresh herbs.

This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare, but it worth it.  When you take the bubbly lasagna out of the oven, your dinner guests are going to be WOWED from start to finish.   I’ll let you in on a little secret… we prefer this recipe over meat lasagna. It’s THAT good! Try it for yourself and let us know what you think.

Mushroom Lasagna

Mushroom Filling
Note: if omitting chanterelle and oyster mushrooms, use an additional 8 oz. of crimini, portobello, or  a blend of the two.

  • 1 lb. of crimini brown mushrooms
  • 1 lb. portobello mushrooms
  • 4 ounces oyster mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 ounces chanterelle mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 yellow onion, minced finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

To make: In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low, add the onion, stir and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir, and lower heat to low, cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add all of the mushrooms except the oyster mushrooms.  Stir the mixture and cook over low heat for 12 minutes.  Add the oyster mushrooms (if using), stir and turn off the heat.  Set aside

Cheese Filling

  • ricotta
  • mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of kosher salt and black pepper

To make: In a large mixing bowl add all of the ingredients and stir with a spoon.  Set aside.

Béchamel

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

To make: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat (about a 4) until melted.  Do not let the butter burn.  Add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Continue cooking over low heat until light and golden in color, about 5 minutes.  Add the milk to the butter mixture, slowly, whisking the entire time.  Raise the heat to a medium (about a 6), cook for 5 minutes, whisking the entire time.  Remove from the heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Lasagna

  • 1pound fresh or dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella

To make: Heat oven to 350.  Butter a large glass baking dish.  Ladle a spoonful of béchamel over the bottom of the dish and spread about.  Cover the bottom of the dish with some of the pasta.  Smooth a third of the cheese filling over the pasta, add a third of the mushroom mixture, and then ladle 1/3 of the béchamel over the top.  Tear a 1/3 of the mozzarella into small pieces and scatter over the béchamel.  Continue the process;  you should have three layers.  You will have three layers built up with cheese and mushrooms.   Cover the third layer with pasta and pour the remaining of the béchamel over the top of the pasta.  Sprinkle with mozzarella.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until golden and bubbly.  Serve.  Eat.

Adventures In Swapability

A true product of the good old Midwest, I find myself relying heavily on meat-centric meals during the cold winter months. But it’s National Nutrition Month – time to start lightening up my favorite meals and eating more vegetables.

Luckily, we are working closely with registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward who shared this healthy Almost Lasagna recipe with us. Here at the Channel, we are no strangers to adding mushrooms to dishes to up the nutritional content and we jump at the chance to ‘shroom up meals that usually don’t get enough mushroom love. Judging by the pantry-friendly ingredient list of this recipe and the fact that it calls for swapping a portion of beef with mushrooms, I thought it might deliver the perfect trifecta of easy, tasty and filling. (And fourth: healthy, but what is that… a quadfecta?)

Traditional lasagna feels so labor-intensive, but this recipe came together with minimal effort.

  • Chop mushrooms to look like meat? Check.
  • Cook ‘em like you would the beef? Easy-peasy (And a bit surprising because they really do look just like ground beef!)
  • Combine the cooked mushrooms and beef and add ‘em to the recipe? 1-2-3 and done.

Is there anything more comforting than freshly-made tomato sauce enveloping tender pasta and morsels of beefy mushrooms? I think not!

This time around, I followed the recipe pretty close to the letter. Granted, I love spicy food, so I added a pinch (or three) of red pepper flakes to punch up the flavors. While I’m partial to ground beef, this dish would be just as tasty with ground turkey or chicken or tofu if that’s more your flavor. You can even use no meat and all mushrooms! We’d love to hear how you adjust a recipe to suit your tastes.

Stay tuned for more “swapability” adventures as we amp up the nutrition of other favorite meals!

Recipe for Almost Lasagna (serves six)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound long fusilli pasta or linguine
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 28-oune can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to package directions.
  2. Chop mushrooms in ¼-inch pieces. Reserve.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, carrot, onion and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
  4. Place ground beef in pan and cook over medium-high heat, breaking meat into very small bits. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Add the vegetable mixture to the beef in the skillet. Stir in the tomatoes, broth and basil; simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and parsley. Toss hot pasta with the margarine and return to skillet. Mix with meat sauce. To serve, scoop equal amounts of the ricotta into shallow bowls, top with pasta/sauce mixture.

Tip: Substitute firm tofu or 100% ground turkey breast meat for ground beef.

Mushroom Ragout with Taleggio Polenta and Gremolata

Denise from Chez Us has a hearty vegetarian meal that is as comforting as it is easy to make! Read on to learn more about her delicious Mushroom Ragout with Taleggio Polenta and Gremolata recipe.

I love serving this Mushroom Ragout served with Taleggio Polenta and Gremolata when I’m craving a light but satisfying vegetarian meal. Cremini and portobello mushrooms are great “meaty” mushrooms and are a staple in our house.  I just happened to have some shiitake and oyster mushrooms on hand, so I added them to this recipe.  Really, this recipe features a medley of mushrooms, so feel free to add whatever types you like; just be sure to include a few of meaty types to fill it out.

mushroom

When choosing mushrooms at the market, I tend to prefer smaller and tighter mushrooms that have firm flesh.  Yes, I am that annoying person at the market picking through the mushroom bins.  When buying shiitake and oyster mushrooms, I like to find small ones that can be used whole in recipes, which saves time and makes the dish look great. Don’t buy a mushrooms with a slimy film over the top;  most likely they have been sitting in that bin a little too long.

mushrooms

The seasoning for the simple mushroom ragout requires  a little shallot, olive oil and salt and pepper.  I wanted the ragout to be seasoned lightly to enhance the earthiness of the mushrooms. The tangy polenta and fresh gremolata really tie the flavors of this dish together.  Instead of incorporating olive oil into the gremolata, I like to drizzle a high quality olive oil over the top of this dish just prior to serving.

To make a complete meal serve this with a simple salad and warm bread. This recipe is comfort food taken up a notch!

Recipe:  Mushroom Ragout served with Taleggio Polenta and Gremolata
serves 4

  • 7 ounces crimini mushrooms
  • 2 ounces shiitake
  • 2 ounces portobello
  • 2 ounces oyster mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot minced finely
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • high quality olive oil

Gremolata

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, I like to use Meyer Lemons
  • 4 tablespoons italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

Taleggio Polenta

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces Taleggio cheese, rind removed and cubed

For mushroom ragout: Using a mushroom brush or a paper towel, gently clean the mushrooms.  Cut the end of the stem off, and then slice into medium sized slices.  Not too thin.  In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil, over medium heat.  Add the shallot, stir and cook until soft;  about 2 minutes.  Add the crimini and portobello mushroom, stir.  Over low heat, cook the mushrooms until lightly caramelized, about 7 minutes.  Add the shiitake and oyster mushrooms, stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the stock, stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat.

For gremolata: Add ingredients to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

For Taleggio polenta: Heat stock in a saucepan over medium heat until just heated through. Add salt and gently whisk in polenta, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Whisk in butter.  Turn the heat to a very low simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes until the polenta is creamy, stirring often to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Taleggio until creamy.

To serve: In a medium sized bowl, add Taleggio polenta and top with the mushroom mixture and gremolata. Drizzle with  high quality olive oil and enjoy!