Mushrooms are a miracle food here on earth; they have been used for ages as medicinal and spiritual tools for healing our mind, body, and soul. They offer divine benefits to those who incorporate them into their regular diet and routine. Much research has been done on the healing properties of various species of mushrooms around the world and modern cultivating and trading practices have given us the opportunity to benefit from these magical fungi. As someone who used to dislike mushrooms, I can truly say I was missing out on all the goodness they provide. Now, I have learned to appreciate and incorporate mushrooms in my everyday life. Mushrooms that are commonly used for these recipes are cremini, button, and portobello. However, feel free to use whatever you like, have on hand, or can find locally.
1. Mushroom avocado toast: A simple breakfast or snack, mushroom avocado toast takes this trend to a whole new level. Start with a nutrient packed dairy and egg free bread. My favorite brand is Dave’s Killer Bread which can be found at nearly every grocery store. Or, visit your local farmers market or bakery to pick up a fresh loaf. Pop two slices in the toaster to your desired crispness. Then, you can either smash ripe avocado directly onto the toast, or mix the avocado with finely diced tomatoes and onions, adding a dash of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to create a quick guacamole. Next, sauté a handful of sliced mushrooms in a teaspoon of coconut oil with a bit of salt and pepper. I like to use a pinch of wild truffle salt to enhance the natural flavor of the mushrooms. It’s best to let the mushrooms sit and brown on one side for several minutes, then flip them and do the same on the other side. This provides the best texture. Once you notice the mushrooms start to release their moisture, you want to remove them from the pan otherwise they will soon become soggy. Layer the mushrooms on the toast and enjoy immediately!2. Mushroom rice: This is a fun twist on a traditional food staple. Mushrooms, onions, and garlic can spice up a plain batch of rice with very little effort. Dice up one small onion, a handful of garlic cloves and a package or two of mushrooms (I say more is always better). Using your pot on the stove, sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms in the same way described above. Then add the water and rice and cook as usual. This is such a simple way to make an old dish new and exciting again! I also recommend using a bit of vegetable stock instead of water to enhance the flavor of the final product. My favorite is “Better Than Bouillon” brand, which offers a few vegan stock concentrates.
3. Mushroom tacos: Love tacos and looking for something to replace the meat? Mushrooms have a meaty texture with a distinct umami flavor that can be reminiscent of your pre-vegan days. Tacos can be an easy family style meal when plated by themselves or with a side of rice and beans. Sauté a large batch of mushrooms, along with a separate batch of sautéed onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Layer whole wheat or corn tortillas with your sautéed veggies and mushrooms, then add fresh lettuce or spinach, diced tomatoes or salsa, and sliced avocado or guacamole. These will surely impress your family or any guests you have over. Vegan tacos are a favorite in our house!
4. Mushroom pasta: Pasta is another easy meal that can feed a family. Mushrooms add a sublime taste and texture to a familiar dish. Boil your noodles of choice, heat up your favorite pasta sauce, then sauté up a large batch of mushrooms. Layer the noodles, sauce, and a heaping pile of mushrooms for a mouth-watering, Instagram worthy, hearty yet simple meal. I like to use carrot matchsticks to top many of my dishes where I would have previously used cheese. The fresh crunch of the carrots contrast with the warm pile of pasta and offers an exciting bite to an otherwise traditional chow. You can also toss in a handful of kale or spinach for a bit more substance. Enjoy!
5. Mushroom ramen: Ramen is a college student’s haven and saving grace when living on a budget and with little free time. Pre-packaged ramen isn’t the healthiest option out there, but it’s cheap and readily available. I’ve been able to find two flavors that are vegan from the Top Ramen brand, spicy and soy sauce (original oriental). Make sure you check the ingredients list. The ones I found said vegetarian right on the front but of course I always double check everything to make sure! If you want a healthier option, you can purchase ramen noodles (udon or soba work too) from the Asian isle in your store or from an Asian market. Make your own broth using a veggie stock, herbs and spices, and Asian sauces such as chili paste, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, and the like. Sauté a batch of mushrooms and toss them on top. Other items to add for enhanced nutrition and flavor; pan seared tofu, spinach, matchstick carrots, seaweed, corn, green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, tomatoes, anything really! Get creative and have fun with it.
6. Mushroom French dip sandwich: The base of the perfect French dip sandwich starts with a great roll. We used pretzel hoagies we found at our local grocery store and they were amazing! We turned the oven on broil, slit open the hoagies being careful not to slice all the way through, and lightly brushed both sides with a bit of coconut oil. While the oven was preheating we made our filling. Slice one yellow onion into rounds. Heat a sauce pan on medium with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Lay the onion rounds flat in the pan and let them sear to a nice brown. Then flip them over and repeat on the other side, adding another teaspoon of coconut oil as you do this. Once the onions are browned nicely you can remove them to a plate on the side. Next, sauté two packs of sliced mushrooms in the pan. When they are ready, add back the onions and pour in one cup of vegetable stock, one tablespoon of soy sauce (I use liquid aminos instead of soy sauce), and ¼ teaspoon of liquid smoke if you have it. Let the mushrooms and onions simmer in the vegetable stock until about half of it has evaporated. This takes about five minutes. Then strain the mushrooms and onions, keeping the remaining broth as your dip. Lastly, pop the hoagies in the oven on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes to get them crisp on the edges and soft in the middle. Once you pull them out, spread a thin layer of stone ground mustard, grey poupon, or mustard of choice on the top. Layer a bed of spinach and a sprinkle of matchstick carrots with a generous helping of the mushroom and onion mix. Serve as a quick and “fancy” lunch or dinner.
7. Mushroom tea: One powerful and interesting way to reap the benefits of mushrooms is to purchase a mushroom powder like this one I use: Wild Shroom Lion’s Mane. It has a semi-sweet and earthy flavor, comprised of 100% mushroom extract. It can be mixed with hot water to create a simple elixir, or added to your favorite tea, coffee, or shake. I use 1/2 teaspoon to make mushroom coffee in the morning and love the brain power boost lion’s mane offers, as well as the other health benefits. It’s been said that lion’s mane can even help those with anxiety and depression as well as protect against cancer. Since I’ve been using it in the mornings I’ve noticed an actual difference in my mood and productivity. I love this stuff!
There you have it! 7 easy ways to use mushrooms! Which is your favorite?
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