By guest blogger Rachel Caine, MS, Dietetic Intern, Mount Auburn Hospital 

What are mushrooms?
Mushrooms are often considered vegetables, but they are fungi, and not plants, so they need to be cultivated and harvested differently. To an even greater extent than plants, mushrooms take on the nutrients from what they are grown in, and so it’s important to choose mushrooms that are grown in a healthy way. They can be eaten raw or cooked.

Why eat them?
Mushrooms have a unique flavor and texture, lending an almost meaty quality to the dishes that they are added to.There are many varieties of mushrooms and they all contain different nutrient profiles. If you’ve tried one type of mushroom and haven’t liked it, there’s a good chance you will find a different type that you do enjoy.

Many types of mushroom, especially when exposed to sunlight, contain vitamin D, which is difficult to obtain from food. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and is important for bone health. Muscles need vitamin D to move and nerves need it to send signals to the brain and body.

How can I use mushrooms?

  • Roast or grill with other vegetables
  • Add to soups or salads
  • Use as a topping on pizzas, pastas, or sandwiches
  • Saute or simmer to make a sauce
  • Chop and mix with veggies, grains and beans to create a veggie burger
  • Sauté to make a filling for a stuffing
  • Use in gravies
  • Corn & Mushroom Risotto »»
  • Ragú & Farrotto