Most people either love or hate mushrooms. But hear me out: the beauty of mushrooms is that they take on the flavor of whatever they’re cooked with. They become Asian cooked in a soy or teriyaki-style sauce. They’re Italian sauteed in olive oil, garlic and fresh basil. Sprinkle middle Eastern spices on them such as zaatar or sumac and they become Moroccan or Lebanese.
For those who want to cut down on eating meat, a portobello mushroom grilled and placed in a hamburger bun is very satisfying. Mushrooms provide that ‘fifth taste’ (joining sweet, salty, sour and bitter), umami, which is a Japanese term that doesn’t have an exact translation into English but is generally understood as a savory or delicious flavor (think of the savory richness of Parmesan Reggiano cheese).
Mushrooms are loaded with health benefits that include:
For more details on how mushrooms support your health and well-being, check out one of my earlier blogs, https://foodtrients.com/aging-gracefully/miraculous-mushrooms-a-food-powerhouse/ and articles written by our FoodTrients dietitian, Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, LDN, Top 5 Medicinal Mushrooms for the Immune System and The Top 5 Medicinal Mushrooms To Fight Cancer.
Labneh is a yogurt-like dairy product used frequently in Middle Eastern cuisine. The plentiful herbs provide healthful vitamins and antioxidants.
1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves (about ½ ounce)
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (about ½ ounce)
2 scallions, coarsely chopped (about ¾ cup)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 3 Tbs.)
2 (1 ½ -inch) ice cubes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 lb. fresh whole oyster mushroom heads (about 2 heads), trimmed and cut into 6 large pieces
1 lb. fresh medium-size king trumpet mushrooms (about 6 mushrooms), cut into 2- x 3/4-inch pieces
Note: You can substitute cremini, shiitake or button mushrooms for the king mushrooms
Labneh, rounds of warm pita bread, and roasted, shelled, chopped pistachios for serving
Make the Herbed Green Sauce
Make the Grilled Mushrooms:
This recipe is from my latest cookbook, Anti-Aging Dishes from Around the World.
Oregon is a fabulous place to forage for mushrooms. There, varieties such as chanterelles, hedgehog, matsutake, lobster, morel, black truffle, white truffle, and milky cap grow under Douglas fir, pine, oak, western hemlock, Sitka spruce, aspen, willow, and birch trees. If you can get your hands on any of these exotic mushrooms, especially morels and/or chanterelles, use them in this soup. Vegetable broth and the secret ingredient rolled oats—not steel-cut or instant—blend together to create vegan creaminess in this light, healthy soup that’s low in calories and fat, yet packed with flavor and nutrients. White miso paste, if using, adds umami depth. You can purchase it online or in Asian sections of your local market.
Every ingredient in this recipe lends itself to health. Mushrooms are packed with immune-boosting compounds called beta-glucans and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. The selenium in mushrooms supports detoxification in the body. Miso paste helps fortify the immune system.
1 Tbs. grapeseed or coconut oil
1 lb. mushrooms (white, cremini, shiitake, Portobello, baby bella, or more exotic varieties), sliced
2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion
1½ tsp. minced garlic
4 cups vegetable broth
⅔ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ tsp. Himalayan salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. white miso paste (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, as garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and sauté for 3–4 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
(Gluten-Free if using gluten-free miso, Vegan/Vegetarian)
Because this dish features eggs, most people will associate it with breakfast or brunch. However, it’s substantial enough for a tasty dinner and becomes a really special occasion meal paired with a glass of Beaujolais. The vegetables and mushrooms provide excellent nutrition, but the eggs really add a wallop. Eggs are affordable, nutrient dense and offer six grams of complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. They increase your LDL or ‘good’ cholesterol and can lower your triglycerides.
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. butter
1 lb. white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
¼ cup dry red wine
5 oz. baby spinach
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
4 slices of sourdough or whole wheat toast
This recipe is also from Anti-Aging Dishes from Around the World. It features Japanese soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour and contain 8 grams of protein per serving. The vegetables add lots of vitamins and minerals and make this salad filling and satisfying. For a main course, toss in some cooked, shredded chicken breast or cooked shrimp.
Buckwheat is full of vitamin E, which supports healthy brain function, as do its omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan. Bok choy offers indoles, a sulfur compound that neutralizes carcinogens, and nitrate, which can help reduce blood pressure. Shiitake mushrooms contain detoxifying selenium and cholesterol-lowering beta-glucans.
1 package (12 oz.) soba noodles
¾ cup peeled and shredded carrots
5 scallions, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal, halfway up the green stalk
1 cup torn baby Bok choy leaves
¾ cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup Chinese pea pods or snow peas
½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds, as garnish
¼ cup smooth (natural) peanut butter
¼ cup hot water
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. mirin or seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
4 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. hot sauce (I use sriracha)
3 Tbs. sesame oil
This dish comes together in a short time and is so satisfying with its bright flavors and the umami of the mushrooms. Chicken is a high-quality protein that builds bone and muscle and also provides vitamins and minerals that support brain function. The plentiful lemons in this recipe provide vitamin C that supports immunity.
1 ½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ lb. mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini, stemmed and halved
1 small sweet onion, sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced, plus slices for garnish
½ cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced