Nature's Meat: Mushrooms
Growing up, the only thing I knew about mushrooms was that they grew in my front yard, they were poisonous, and they tasted disgusting.
And then I finally grew up, went vegan and I'm currently obsessed with them! I'm talking about, throwing some shiitake mushrooms in a skillet with liquid smoke and let them get crispy. Then season them with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Black Pepper... SHIITAKE MUSHROOM BACON!!! I made it once to get on top of a roasted Cauliflower Dish for Christmas... I didn't even get to put them on the plate before my family ate them all.
Needless to say, my love for mushrooms has grown tremendously over the past two years due to it being a great substitute to meat in common meals. Burgers, tacos, chicken, on pizzas, in vegan omelets, chili, you name it!
But I want to talk about a few mushrooms today that I like and have found to be a good alternative when switching to a plant based lifestyle!
Trust me, there are more than 7 mushrooms, but these 7 are a good go to because they all are high in potassium, vitamin D, protein and Fiber!
Chanterelle Mushrooms (Also the cousin Black Trumpet Mushroom)
Sweet. Meaty taste. Once cooked in oil and seasoned with Salt and Pepper, I recommend throwing on a dry rub or lightly coating it in Bar-B-Que sauce with some vegan cole slaw! This mushroom is loaded with protein and micronutrients (Niacin and Riboflavin). Also, one thing to remember is that mushrooms soak up oil quick, so don't over cook it. Trial and Error. Because it is rare in the United States, you'll often see them in the fall season.
White Button Mushroom
Everyone has had this one... they probably didn't eat it, but it's been cooked in a dish a time or two. Again, another mushroom that is high in protein and micronutrients and also stated to have cancer fighting chemicals. This one is available year round and more than likely what you're eating at restaurants unless otherwise stated. White Button Mushrooms would be great on a Kabob. Peppers and Mushroom with a nice sauce on top! Ugh, the options are endless!
This mushroom is the king when it comes to vegan cooking! Because of its dense texture, it takes on the flavor of any seasonings! Steak, pork, chicken, whatever you're craving. It's popular in Italian dishes, but I love a simple Patty Meal with a Portobello Mushroom in-between! Great source of healthy protein, micronutrients and easy to cook, definitely number one in my vegan transition! Plus, if you're looking to cut back on bread, you can substitute it with two heads of the portobello mushroom!
As mentioned above, I LOVE THESE!!! Alone, Shiitake Mushrooms are a power house for macro and micronutrients. They are also great for lowering cholesterol levels and strengthening your bones. I'm currently reading "The China Study" and it even talks about the amazing benefits of them. Wouldn't recommend eating them raw, just a little heat before tossing them in with a meal. They're safe raw, but in low quantities.
When it comes to brain health, oyster mushrooms are where it's at! The nutrients found in this mushroom have shown to increase brain function because of the micronutrient, Niacin (you should know this one well by the end of this post). But peep this, research shows that a cup of Oyster Mushrooms contains 37 Calories, 0.4 g of Fat, 28 g of Protein and 5.7 g of Fat, ummm why isn't everyone eating this?! Oyster Crave 2019? lol When it comes to cooking, I'm basic. Thats just because I live in a small New York apartment and live a hectic life, so if I can just fry it and throw some vegetables in with it, AND it meets my calorie goal, I'm great!
I've attached a recipe for your viewing:
You still with me? Just two more to go!
Enoki.. Im going to name my dog that. If you see them, you think, mushrooms or noodles? They're so fancy! I will say, they are on the sweet side, so this is perfect in salads or alone if you're snacking. But, if you're really hungry, they can be substituted for noodles and just add your favorite sauce! Like most of the other mushrooms, Enoki is great for cholesterol, loaded with micronutrients other phytochemicals (this is going to be a post by itself.)
Lion Mane Mushroom
I had to put this one on here for personal reasons. My cousins introduced me to this type of mushroom when they made Micken Nuggets! (Mushroom Nuggets that taste like Chicken)! However, this type of mushroom is often found as.... coffee! It's one of the strongest and highly beneficial mushrooms you can eat! One thing I love about it is its ability to help aid depression and anxiety. Also, if you're not one to really monitor your food intake when it comes to your food being highly acidic or very spicy, Lion Mane Mushroom helps to relieve ulcers in the Digestive Tract. It's coined as "the smart mushroom" because of its brain health benefits but also due to the amazing mental health benefits that come from adding this to your diet.
Want to know about more mushrooms or want recipes? Let me know!