Mushrooms: A Delicious And Healthy Substitute For Meat

It’s time to add mushrooms to your weekly shopping list.

If you’re vegan, vegetarian or just looking for a way to eat less meat, you’ll want to add mushrooms to your weekly grocery shopping list. These fantastic fungi are loaded with super-important nutrients and antioxidants and have a range of disease-fighting benefits. They provide superpowered support to your immune system, have tons of vitamin D and may even aid in easing rheumatoid arthritis, according to Mercola.

With a range of mushrooms out there with different textures and flavor profiles, so you’re sure to find one that suits your palate. Here’s the lowdown on using mushrooms as a tasty meat alternative:

Choosing the right mushrooms 
There are a variety of mushrooms available on grocery store shelves. There’s your standard common white mushroom, which has a very mild flavor, giant Portobello mushrooms with their rustic flavor and shiitake and oyster mushrooms which are often used in Asian dishes. Cremini mushrooms are also popular for their slightly earthier yet still relatively mild taste. Other varieties include the spindly enoki and flowery chanterelle.

Mushrooms are a great replacement for meat. Whichever type you choose for your meals, you’ll want to make sure you buy organic, according to Mercola. The unique way that mushrooms grow mean that they absorb whatever metals or pollutants are present in the soil, so buying organic helps ensure the nutritional value of the mushroom.

Replacing meat with mushrooms
Mushrooms are a great replacement for meat because of their dense, hearty consistency. They can add heft to a dish in a way that other vegetables often can’t. Here are some dishes that taste great with mushrooms used in place of meat:

You can still enjoy deliciously rich meatballs alongside pasta when you swap the meat for mushrooms. Simply dice the mushrooms and mix them with the rest of the meatball ingredients, such as eggs, breadcrumbs, garlic and finely chopped onion. Bake until cooked through and enjoy.

Tacos and fajitas
Have Taco Tuesday and Fajita Friday lost their excitement for you ever since you decided to cut down on eating meat? Get the magic back by making mushroom tacos. Sauté or grill mushrooms, then pile them on taco shells or tortillas with lots of tasty toppings that provide satisfying texture, like radishes, cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes, grilled onions and black beans.

Soups and stews
Make a lighter version of many soups and stews by swapping the meat for whole or diced mushrooms. Incorporate mushrooms into the broth to thicken the liquid and add delicious rustic flavor. If you want a little meat flavor, you can use bone broth in your mushroom soups for extra flavor along with a dose of important nutrients.

Chicken Parmesan
Eggplant Parmesan is pretty mainstream, but mushroom Parmesan also deserves some attention! Large shiitake or Portobello mushroom caps are the perfect base for Parmesan cheese, sauce and breadcrumbs. Brush caps with olive oil, add toppings and then bake until mushrooms are tender and cheese has melted.

With the tips and ideas above, you can swap mushrooms for meat in many dishes to make lighter meals that don’t sacrifice taste.

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