Are you planning to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet that will fulfill not only your nutritional requirements but also your craving for meat? You can make the transition easier by including the big variety of mushrooms available, in almost all of your meals! With the wide range of mushrooms available nowadays, the options and choice of recipes are endless.
Just to say mushrooms are healthy, is an understatement. Not just high in fiber and vitamins, all mushrooms are also zero-fat and cholesterol-free! They’re gaining such popularity all over the world as a vegan alternative, owing to their versatility in combination with their meat-like texture!
So, let’s take a look at the interesting, varied and…mouth-watering ‘vista’ of mushrooms and the different ways to cook mushroom.
Let’s start with versatile shiitake mushrooms, shall we?
The name shiitake, in Japanese, means ‘oak fungus’! In the wild, Shiitake mushrooms grow in warm and moist climates, in groups on the decaying wood of deciduous trees like chestnut, oak, maple, and the like. However, nowadays, most shiitakes are cultivated.
They’re best recognized by their umbrella-shaped brown caps, which curl under in a gentle sloping manner. Fresh shiitakes carry a mild woodsy flavor and aroma, while the dried ones are more intense.
Sautéed shiitake mushrooms
There are several ways you can prepare the shiitake mushroom. But if you are preparing it for the first time, you may want to try out sautéing it, that way you can get the true flavor and taste of this mushroom. Plus, the texture of this mushroom is meatier and chewier than most others, so sautéing it will ensure that you get closest to having it fresh, with all the crunchiness of the mushroom intact! You can try out the simple 10 minutes recipe of Stir-Fried Shiitake Mushroom to start with, and also find out which sauces and oils get along really well with shiitake mushrooms!
Baked Shiitake mushroom
Shiitake mushrooms are high in B vitamins and have unique anti-inflammatory properties. Baking them is another way of preparing them to keep the nutrition intact! Baking also seals in the robust flavor and taste that are unique hallmarks of these mushrooms. If you’re apprehensive about any complexity in preparing them this fashion, relax…try out this method of making baked shiitake mushrooms.
How to cook with dried shiitake mushroom
Dried shiitake mushrooms also called black mushrooms, are almost like a staple in Oriental cooking to add an intense umami flavor and aroma to stir-fries, soups, stews, braised dishes, etc. In fact, the water you use to soak them can also be added to get a robust mushroom flavor in your soups and sauces.
The flavor and redolence of dried shiitakes are much stronger than those from fresh mushrooms. They have this meaty smoky smack which you just won’t find from the fresh version. Shiitake mushrooms contain glutamate naturally, which lends them that savory umami taste that makes them so tasty without additives like MSG.
To cook dried shiitake, you’ll first have to rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms. If you’re in a rush, you can pour boiling water over the dry mushrooms and let them soak them for about 20 minutes approx.
However, if you want to get the best taste out of your dried shiitake, start the preparation a day earlier because they retain their flavor best being soaked for longer in cold water.
Also named as able mushroom, champignon (de Paris), the button mushrooms are more commonly available and its cultivation is comparatively easier too. They are the most common and mildest-tasting mushroom found almost all over the globe. If the global consumption of mushrooms would be taken into account, you’d find ninety percent of those we eat are these. Being less intensely flavored than most of its more exotic varieties, this one can be eaten both raw and cooked; plus, not having a strong distinctive flavor allows you to use them not only in a wide range of dishes, but also in soups or salads, and also on pizzas.
Generally, the entire button mushroom is edible. But occasionally a part of the stem’s base may go dry and it is best avoiding that part. Watch the video for tips on how to clean the button mushroom.
Since white button mushrooms do not have any specific strong flavor of their own, they take up the flavors of the other ingredients of the dish that they are prepared with. For instance, while sautéing, if you add garlic and lemon, the mushrooms quickly take in the flavor and aroma of garlic and the zest of the lemons.
Sautéed with white wine, garlic, and a dash of lemon, all the flavors add up in every meaty-mushroom bite! Plus, from caramelizing the mushrooms, the flavors come out better, so cook these mushrooms on high flame.
You can add extra garlic if you love garlic and additional lemon for the zesty ‘citrusy’ flavors. If you don’t want to use white wine, you can use white grape juice or chicken broth as a substitute.
For those who like the combination of button mushrooms and garlic, there’s more option than sautéing! Yes, you can have them baked as well! It’s an incredible, quick, easy side dish that’s ready in less than 30 minutes. Enters the familiar little white button ‘shrooms!
Easily available fresh white button mushrooms mixed with garlic, butter, oregano, and basil in balsamic vinegar, roasted in the oven until tender and a little crisp on top. They’re inexpensive, readily available, and can produce an outstanding side dish – Roasted Garlic Mushrooms, that is class apart from the usual like thick cut fries, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, etc., which are also a little fussy to prepare.
You may have tried different preparations of this mushroom, but have you ever tried using it to make mushroom sauce? Just imagine, a plain omelet in a delicious creamy mushroom sauce. Or, baked sweet potatoes stuffed with mushrooms in a creamy sauce to the brim.
Sounds delicious, isn’t it? You can also try this Creamy Mushroom Sauce For Pasta, Steak and More! Check out what other ingredients you require to make this creamy mushroom sauce!
Homemade Creamy mushroom soup
And finally, for soup lovers, a homemade easy mushroom soup that is low fat, dairy free, and has a creamy consistency minus added cream! Ready within 30 minutes, the simple ingredients make this soup a star in your recipe book.
Plus, this mushroom soup recipe is gluten-free, vegan and Whole30 friendly!
Now let’s move on to another mushroom which is meatier and has a stronger, robust flavor! Yes, it’s the portobello mushrooms! But before moving on to portobellos, here’s an important point to note.
You may have heard of the cremini mushrooms which are also known as baby bellas, golden Italian mushrooms, Roman, classic brown, Italian brown or brown mushrooms. A cremini is actually none other than a young portobello! Although the cremini is firmer, browner, and more flavorful than the white button mushrooms, sometimes you can use the two interchangeably. Interestingly, retailers in an attempt to capitalize on the fame of the portobellos are selling the crimini mushrooms as “baby bellas”!
Like other varieties, these mushrooms too need some preparation prior to cooking.
Also known as Portobello, open cap mushroom and field mushroom, these mushrooms are commonly used in Italian cuisines for their characteristic strong and rich flavor and meaty texture! Portobellos are also used to lend depth to sauces and pasta. the mushroom’s flat cap can be used as a bun-substitute. The caps of these mushrooms can often grow as wide as your palm, and their meaty texture stands up well to stuffing, grilling, and baking.
You need to clean and ready these mushrooms like all other varieties before you use them for your preparation. Here’s a dietician’s guide to cleaning and storing the mushrooms:
Just in case you want to use your portobellos for stuffing, you might want to clean them the following way, but a word of caution, this way, you would be losing much of the important and crucial nutrients, which are present in the brown peel that makes these mushroom special!
In the end, the choice is yours, as to how you want to have your portobellos.
Baked portobello mushrooms
Baked Portobello mushrooms make very good appetizers and also side dishes. You may have tried the parsley-breadcrumb stuffing bake, how about something new and different? Like Balsamic bruschetta with tomatoes and mozzarella, stuffed into portobellos… the fresh and tangy flavor goes extremely well with the robust umami of these mushrooms! In fact, it tastes as good even without cheese, making it a tasty option for vegans! Find out out what else you can stuff and at what temperature you should set the baking. Check out this Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Recipe!
Grilled portobello mushroom
The Grilled Portobellas do not take much time to cook, and with the garlic and soy marinade taste heavenly! The robust caramelized flavor of the mushrooms blend wonderfully with basil and the garlic sauce and makes for a really impressive dish! You can add a side salad and some mashed potatoes for serving more of the garlic gravy!
Portobello mushroom burger
The big portobellos make great burgers both for their meaty texture and also their big palm-sized caps which can serve as the bun halves! There are several ways you can use them for making burgers…check out this excellent Pan Fried Portobello Mushroom Burger!
Portobello Mushroom steak
So meaty, juicy and delicious these portobello mushrooms steak is the perfect alternative for vegans! You can serve them both ways, as a main course or a terrific and tasty filling side dish to any meal.
Also known as Tree oyster, angel’s wings, shimeji or abalone mushroom, these oyster mushrooms are usually found growing on the sides of trees in the wild. The ones you see in the stores are most likely cultivated.
Oyster mushrooms have a delicate odor and flavor and they grow in a ‘bunch’ or cluster like manner. The fruit bodies of these mushrooms are a shell, spatula or fan-shaped and interestingly, grow in a variety of different shades of white, cream, pink or yellow, light brown and even grey, depending upon the species. Nutritional value of oyster mushroom is as good as other edible mushrooms!
Here’s how to clean and prepare the oyster mushrooms before they are ready for cooking.
Fried Oyster Mushrooms
Frying the oyster mushrooms this way makes them yummy to the point of addictive, you’ll always be left craving for more! With crispy seasoned outer crust and a tender meaty texture inside you can serve this preparation both as an appetizer at your party and/or even as part of the main course as it makes a lip-smacking substitute for fried chicken!
Oyster Mushroom soup
If you’re looking for a tasty soup recipe that can do justice to the delicate flavor and texture of oyster mushrooms, you may want to check this Oyster Mushroom Lemongrass Soup here! You’ll also be requiring a few other ingredients like miso, leeks, celery, etc. to add to this delicious brothy soup!
Oyster mushroom dumplings
Mushrooms can make a wonderful vegan substitute as fillings for dumplings. And, in my personal life, I feel that there is something fantastically cheering about freshly-steamed dumplings…they’re hearty enough to stand off the last bit of chill in the air! If dumplings are your any and all-time favorite too, you would certainly not want to miss this recipe!
Roasted Oyster mushrooms
So far, we’ve sautéed, grilled, baked, several varieties of mushrooms and also used them in soups, as sauces and in filling out dumplings, so why leave out roasted mushrooms? Here’s a zero-fuss recipe of roasted king oyster mushrooms, that you can cook any time you wish to because it requires minimal additional ingredients. The only point to note about this delicious dish is that it is not completely vegan, in the sense that it uses a little butter and chicken stock!
Cooking mushrooms without using any fat is very much possible with the only requisite being that you use fresh mushrooms for this way of preparation! It’s also called “dry sautéing”. In this method, the sliced mushrooms are cooked in a hot non-stick skillet or pan without any oil, butter or any form of fat!
As the mushrooms heat up to a point in the heated pan, they begin releasing their own juices and they continue getting cooked in their own liquid. You can add in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water time to time and keep moderating the heat so that they do not get too dried up or browned suddenly without getting cooked thoroughly!
Sometimes towards the end, you can add in a little butter for flavoring if you want, however, cooking the mushrooms do not require anything but heat.
Research published in US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health showed that certain types of mushrooms including shiitake, white button, oyster and king oyster mushrooms when the mushrooms are exposed to less cooking times they retain their important vitamins and nutrients better!
Additionally, though microwaving the mushrooms don’t enhance the flavor, it certainly does concentrate it, since it is not caramelizing any juices! However, you can add extra flavor as per choice, by smearing the mushrooms with garlic butter, adding a few drops of soy sauce, etc. Here’s one of the several methods you can microwave the mushrooms!
If you are a die-hard lover of stuffed mushroom recipes, on a constant look-out for different ways you can cook stuffed mushrooms, you may want to check out the following variations, the options of the stuffing ingredients are endless:
Classic and Easy Stuffed Mushroom
The classic way of preparing stuffed mushrooms requires simple ingredients but you can have a lot of variations in mushroom stuffings. For example, you can stuff the shrooms with meat fillings, chopped mushrooms, bacon, sausage, cheeses of all sorts. However, you can’t go wrong with the old classic stuffed mushroom. Check out the detail process here. No doubt these stuffed shrooms are a great appetizer for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any special holiday meal or event!
Cheesy sausage stuffed mushroom
Takes less than 10 minutes to cook these sausage stuffed mushrooms are perfect for party starters. Check out this simple but yummy Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms recipe here.
Crab stuffed mushroom
No filler or breading is done for these stuffed mushrooms making them a good option for low carb diet. It also is a great dish. If you are on a keto or gluten-free diet, try this Low Carb Crab Stuffed Mushrooms.
Stuffed mushroom with cream cheese
Whether you are on a low carb, keto or vegan diet this is perhaps the easiest and simple stuffed mushroom recipe to prepare that would make you want to have these mouthwatering.
Spinach artichoke stuffed mushroom
Try this Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Spinach and Artichoke recipe for your dinner. Its easy and takes around 15 mins to cook and can be served with grilled salmon and any types of salads.
Bacon and Cheese Stuffed mushroom
You can prepare this delicious bacon and cheese stuffed mushrooms ahead of time, refrigerate them until you decide to cook them for your family or for a party. Just place the stuffed mushrooms on a baking dish when you are ready and pop them in the oven. Portobello mushroom, of any size, can be used, depending on whether you’re making these for a party or a private family evening.