Mushrooms (which are fungi not veggies) have more going for them than you can imagine such as antioxidants (they up there with red capsicum and spinach), minerals like selenium and B vitamins including folate. They also have more protein than most vegetables. The GI isn’t relevant because they have almost no carbs although they are a very good source of fibre. Their big selling point is that they are one of the tastiest, nutrient-rich, low energy-dense foods around (providing you don’t serve them with butter and cream) with some100 kJ/24 calories in a 100 g/3½ oz serving of button mushrooms. These are the sorts of foods you need to make a bigger part of your life and your plate to lose weight and keep it off or simply to stay a healthy weight in the first place. Remember, it’s having excess weight, particularly that fat around your middle, that can make your blood glucose levels more difficult to manage because it contributes to insulin resistance.
What mushroom is that?
- Button mushrooms are perfect to use raw in salads or as finger food with dips, skewered on a kebab or tossed into stir fries and pastas.
- Cups can be used whole, halved, quartered or sliced in soups, stews and stir fries.
- Flats are almost a meal in themselves. Try topping them to make a ‘mushroom pizza’, use a patty in a burger or pan fry in olive oil with fresh herbs.
- Oysters are best cooked quickly (add at the end of a stir-fry) and partner perfectly with seafood, chicken, veal and noodles.
- Shiitake are ideal for braises, stir-fries, soups and sauces – or simply tossed on the barbecue or char grilled.
- Swiss brown have a rich, earthy flavour. Add to risottos, casseroles and pasta or marinate and pop on an antipasto platter.
- Portobellos are big (a larger flat version of Swiss browns) and ideal for grilling or roasting or served as part of a meatless burger.
- Enoki are best enjoyed raw in salads or sandwiches or used in soups, clear broths and stir fries and Japanese dishes such as shabu shabu or sukiyaki used in Asian cooking. Great for salads.