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Health Benefits of Mushrooms & Healthy Mushroom Recipes

In Japan, expensive varieties of mushroom like maitake and matsutake have long been thought to contain more health-promoting nutrients than the humble white mushroom. A new study, conducted by a government research institution in France, indicates that the white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has at least as much antioxidant power as more expensive varieties like maitake and matsutake.

White button mushrooms are the youngest form of Agaricus bisporus. If left to grow, white button mushrooms turn into Crimini mushrooms. When Crimini mushrooms are left to grow another 2-3 days, they turn into Portobello mushrooms.

White button, Crimini, and Portobello mushrooms are naturally rich in the entire spectrum of B vitamins, except vitamin B-12. They are also rich in a number of minerals, including selenium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus.

The many naturally occurring antioxidants found in white button, Crimini, and Portobello mushrooms make them excellent food choices for promoting optimal immune system strength and preventing age-related degeneration, particularly neural degeneration related to cognitive decline.

What follows are two healthy and delicious recipes that call for white button, Crimini, or Portobello mushrooms.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 cups white or Crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Sauté onions for a few minutes, or just until they start to turn translucent. Add mushrooms, 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, soy sauce (or tamari), and dill. Give ingredients a good stir, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add non-dairy milk and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently; the mixture should turn somewhat creamy.

Stir in the remaining vegetable broth, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add fresh lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper just before serving.

Enjoy this healthy and savory mushroom soup - it goes well with any grain dish or whole grain bread.

***

If you love burgers but can do without large amounts of red meat, you'll love this recipe for thick and juicy grilled Portobello mushroom sandwiches.

Be sure to make the basil-lemon pesto sauce that accompanies this recipe - it adds loads of tangy flavor to these awesome sandwiches.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 large Portobello mushroom heads (caps)
Whole grain bread or crusty sandwich rolls
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Baby spinach leaves

Ingredients for Basil-Lemon Pesto Sauce:
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

To make the tangy basil-lemon pesto, combine basil, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped. Add extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, then process again until smooth. If you don't use all of it up with the burgers, you can keep any remaining sauce in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

To make the Portobello burgers:

Brush each mushroom on rounded underside and rim with about half a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil, then season with sea salt. Place the mushroom heads, gill sides down, on grill over medium-high heat. Grill for 3 minutes. Turn mushroom heads over and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes, rotating each mushroom about half a turn after 2 minutes; the goal is to have the bottoms brown nicely.

Place a grilled mushroom, gill side up, on the bottom half of your whole grain sandwich bread or roll. Fill each cap with about 3-4 teaspoons of the basil-lemon pesto, then finish by topping with baby spinach leaves.

Close each roll and enjoy while they're hot! These burgers go wonderfully with a tossed green salad and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Enjoy these healthy and delicious mushroom dishes and the loads of naturally occurring antioxidants in them!

 
 

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