September is National Mushroom Month and with mushrooms unique flavor and versatility, there's no reason not to eat these fungi. While, yes, edible mushrooms are not a vegetable but rather a seemingly unattractive and often colorless fungus, they can be considered a delicacy that has surprisingly good nutrition stats. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, a good source of potassium, and rich in many vitamins. There are thousands of different varieties, but here are a few of the most common:
- Button- Also known as white mushrooms, these are the most common type of mushroom found at the supermarket. Their flavor is mild and can be an all-purpose mushroom that's good eaten raw on salads, sautéed and served with beef, or pureed into a soup.
- Portabella- Portabellas are a mature button mushroom with their cap fully grown, making them larger in diameter. They have a meaty texture and can be a good meat substitute.
- Porcini- Porcinis are similar to portabellas with their firm texture but have more of a nutty, earthy taste. They're often used in Italian dishes.
- Shitake- Shitakes are predominately used in Asian cuisine. Use them in stir-fries or soups. Trim off the woody stems, and put them in the freezer to use later when making vegetable stock.
- Morel- Morels are the mushroom hunter's prey. Typically sautéed in butter, they also go nicely in pasta dishes.
Enjoy the many varieties of mushrooms this month. Just be sure to only eat mushrooms grown commercially or purchased from a trusted expert to avoid eating one of the many poisonous varieties!
Mushroom Quesadillas (Printable PDF)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
10 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 whole wheat flour tortillas
8 oz. shredded low-fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salsa or non-fat sour cream
Heat olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook 8-10 minutes or until brown. Season with chili powder and cilantro; stir and take off heat. Lay out 2 quesadillas on hot griddle or grill. Evenly distribute mushrooms on each. Sprinkle with cheese. Lay remaining tortilla over cheese. Warm on griddle or grill until cheese begins to melt and tortilla begins to brown. Flip to cook other side. Transfer to cutting board; cut into wedges using a pizza cutter. Serve with salsa or sour cream.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional analysis per serving: 310 calories, 15 grams fat, 850 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 20 grams protein