Ever wonder if mushrooms are a fruit or a veggie? Actually, they are neither! Mushrooms are fungi. However, they are often put in the vegetable group for the purposes of dietary recommendations. Mushrooms come in many varieties, but most mushrooms in nature are not suitable for human consumption. Those that are edible include white, crimini, shiitake and portabello.
Although they are small (with the exception of the large portabello mushroom), they are packed with nutrients. Mushrooms are a good source of selenium – a trace mineral with antioxidant benefits. A serving of mushrooms also provides B vitamins and potassium.
Probably to most interesting nutrient found in mushrooms is vitamin D. This fat soluble vitamin is most commonly found in animal derived foods such as salmon, sardines, and oysters, as well as, fortified foods like milk, orange juice, and cereals. Mushroom growers can actually boost the vitamin D levels in their crops by provided ultraviolet light. Just like a similar process in human biology, mushrooms are able to covert ergosterol to vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
Beyond the nutrient benefits of mushrooms, they make a great savory addition to a variety of dishes. They are great in soups and gravy. They can add flavor and moisture to vegetarian burgers. You can even enjoy them raw as a salad topper.
IMPORTANT TIP: Be sure to clean your mushrooms first. Check out this short video from Martha Stewart’s website on cleaning mushrooms.
Like I said, there are many yummy ways to enjoy mushrooms. Below is a family favorite from Pioneer Woman. Hope you like it too!
Spicy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
- 24 oz White Mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 whole Medium Onion Diced
- 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- Salt And Black Pepper To Taste
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1/2 cup Grated Monterey Jack Or Farmer’s Cheese
- 1 pkg Chopped Spinach Thawed
- 8 dashes Hot Sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash and dry mushrooms. Pull the stems off the mushrooms, then chop the stems finely. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and chopped mushrooms stems and saute for several minutes, or until soft and starting to turn golden. Add panko crumbs, salt, and pepper. Stir and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Squeeze excess liquid out of thawed spinach. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add softened cream cheese, sour cream, grated cheeses, and the cooled mushroom/onion/panko mixture. Fold together to combine. Add spinach, a dash of salt, a little pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Fold together until combined.
- Using a spoon, mound the mixture into the stemmed mushroom caps. Use the spoon to round the mixture on top. Place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the filling is hot. Serve immediately or at room temperature.