12/3/13

Enjoying the benefits of mushrooms


How do you like your mushrooms? I prefer cooked over raw. I really love the "meaty" texture and flavor of cooked mushrooms. 

With over 2000 varieties of mushrooms, we have a few common ones at the grocery store (or farmers market) that are safe for human consumption. 

Mushrooms are so versatile for they can be used in so many different types of dishes. From mushroom burgers to stir-fries, there are so many options, so long as you use your creativity in the kitchen. 

While reading the July/August 2013 issue of Food and Nutrition magazine, I came across a beautiful picture of a variety of mushrooms. I just LOVE pictures of food. 

Mushrooms are a nutrient dense food which means they are low in calories but packed with nutritional value. This is how I like to choose foods that I prioritize in my diet - per bite, how much nutrition am I getting? This is also a great way to choose your indulgences - if you are making every bite count, choose the best ingredients possible and enjoy a small portion and savor every bite.  

Mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals, mushrooms are a good source of potassium as well as providing selenium, copper and three B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid) to assist in metabolism. They are also an excellent source of vitamin D if exposed to UV light before or after harvesting.

Consider the variety of mushrooms to add to your diet: 
Oyster
Agaricus
Porcini
Portabella
Shiitake
Morel
Chanterelles
Crimini
Morel
Enoki (or Enokitak)

Here are two recent Trimarni creations that allowed me to YUM my way through the meal with the use of mushrooms. Enjoy!

Broccoli and Mushrooms with Quinoa

Ingredients:
Head of broccoli (chopped and steamed)
1/2 cup quinoa (cooked in 1 cup water)
1 x large container mushrooms (sauteed in a little olive oil or steamed with broccoli or you can cook tofu and mushrooms together)
1 package firm tofu (cooked in a little olive oil - cubed, drain water before removing tofu and pat dry with towel)
Garlic chopped (to your liking)
Toppings: Olive oil, mozzarella cheese

For serving size, I recommend to fill a shallow dish with broccoli (1-2 cups) and then top with 1 cup mushrooms, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa  and 1/2 cup tofu. I recommend up to 1 ounce cheese and 2 tsp olive oil. 
This will provide you with a satisfying plant strong meal in balanced portions to leave you satisfied. Feel free to modify to your hunger/workout/nutritional needs by increasing amount of fat, protein or quinoa. 
The ingredients listed above will allow for leftovers.

               Tomato Basil Mushroom, Kale and Couscous soup 

Ingredients:
1 cup tomato basil soup + 1 can of water (same can as soup)
2 cups chopped kale (or 4-5 kale leaves, stems removed), washed
1 container mushrooms (sliced)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
Pearled couscous (prepared according to box/package)
Optional: Tofu or your choice of protein

1. In large pot, add soup + can of water. Cook on low to medium heat. 
2. Add mushrooms, kale and garlic.
3. Cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until kale is soft. 
4. Add your choice of cooked protein.
5. When soup is ready, add 1/2  - 1 cup cooked couscous to your soup bowl. Then top with 1- 1 1/2 cups of soup and mix together with a spoon. 

Note: even though the soup is high in sodium per serving (I recommend less than 440 mg sodium per serving for soup as a good way to select low sodium options) I diluted it with the water and then added the other ingredients to make it more nutrient dense. You do not need to add additional salt to this meal but you can add fresh herbs/spices (or dried) to your liking.