Say hello to the versatile, nutrient-packed mushroom
It has attributes more commonly found in meat, beans and grains
MUSHROOMS are one of those underrated vegetables often regarded with suspicion by those who don’t regularly cook with them but they are in fact the perfect food for all ages. They are low in calories, salt and sugar and are a valuable source of dietary fibre. In fact just a handful of mushrooms could double the folate in a spaghetti bolognese or boost the vitamin D in a stir fry. “Many Australians don’t reach their recommended intakes for key vitamins and minerals and just one in 25 eat the recommended five serves of vegetables a day,” said Sharon Natoli, a dietician with Food and Nutrition Australia. “By simply adding a handful of mushies – whole, chopped or blended – into a dinner time staple, Australians can quickly and tastily reap the nutritional benefits.’’ The nutrition profile of mushrooms is unlike any other plant or animal food. They are the only natural, non-animal food to provide nutritionally important amounts of bio-available vitamin D, important for healthy bones and muscles. Mushrooms are also an important source of B vitamins for healthy nerve function, folate for cell division and crucial during pregnancy, potassium, an essential electrolyte, and selenium, an antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage. Not only do mushrooms have an impressive nutritional profile, they also offer a unique taste that complements many meats, vegetables and herbs. Called umami, this flavour is the fifth basic taste, following sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Umami pairs perfectly with meats
including beef, chicken and pork, and vegetables. Try these methods to enjoy more mushrooms:
Blend – Simply stir blitzed mushrooms into dishes for added flavour and to give the kids a stealthy nutrient boost. Blended mushies can be used in place of mince for a similar texture.
Stir through – Mushrooms are versatile, making them the perfect ingredient to have on hand to bulk up a meal. Finely dice and spoon mushrooms through a chilli con carne, sloppy joe, or vegie pasta bake to enjoy a flavour boost.
Chop – Mushrooms are great at absorbing the flavours of saucy meals. Simply chop into 2cm pieces and sprinkle into, or on top of, your favourite dishes.
The fragrant flavour of harissa and the earthy flavour of mushrooms combine to make this pork and mushroom nachos a family favourite. Serves 4-6 Ingredients 200g of cup mushrooms 2 portabella mushrooms 1 tbs olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 red capsicum, chopped 1 x 400g can corn, drained and rinsed ¼ cup tomato paste 1 tbs harissa 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tbs brown sugar 1 tsp paprika 300g pork mince 300g corn chips 250g grated cheese 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked 1 avocado, stone removed, peeled Juice of 1 lemon Sour cream to serve
Place all mushrooms in a food processor and blend to form a paste. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add mushroom, onion, garlic, capsicum, corn, tomato paste, harissa, sugar and spices. Cook for 6 minutes until softened and beginning to caramelise. Add pork mince and use a spoon to break it up. Cook for a further 6 minutes, stirring frequently until cooked through and mince is coated in sauce. Combine avocado and lemon juice in a bowl, using a fork to mash together. Season and set aside. Preheat a grill on high. Place half the corn chips in an oven-safe dish, cover with a third of the cheese. Place under the grill for 3 minutes. Add half the mince then layer with the remaining corn chips and half the remaining cheese. Grill for 3 minutes. Finish with remaining mince and cheese and grill for 4 minutes until golden and the cheese is melted. To serve, top cheesy nachos with avocado, coriander leaves and sour cream.