Mushrooms are an adult food –– their earthy flavor and texture are for the sophisticated palate –– but most of us never get much past the white, button mushrooms (officially known as agaricus) that top pizzas or find their way into soups and stews. Some of the other common varieties of these fascinating fungi are full of health benefits and worth experimenting with, such as: chanterelles, crimini, shiitake, oyster, enoki, portabello, porcini, and morel.
Research suggests that mushrooms may have anti-cancer properties, thanks to their rich array of phytochemicals and unique nutrient profile. Here are some substitutions that will crank up the health quotient of your meal, and also deliver the sumptuous, one-of-a-kind flavors:
- Grilled portabellos in place of a bun for turkey, salmon, or beef burgers.
- A medley of sauted mushrooms for half of the breading in stuffing.
- In place of some of the mayo or other fat, add raw, chopped, or whole mushrooms to chicken, tuna, or other salads.
- Finely chopped, sauted mushrooms to replace half or all of the ground beef in a recipe for pasta sauce, chili, tacos, or burritos.
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 3/08
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