Mushrooms are a little like Marmite, but love them or hate them (personally I snack on a handful a day) the humble mushroom has indisputable health benefits.
Mushrooms are the leading vegetable source of selenium, which is an antioxidant involved in the battle against cellular damage, working alongside vitamin E to protect cells from free radicals. Recent studies indicate that mushrooms can play a role in fighting and protecting against cancer (especially breast and prostate). Levels of ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, are 12 times higher in a handful of mushrooms than wheatgerm, previously thought to be the leading source.
It may also surprise you to hear that mushrooms outrank bananas (and most other fruit and veg) in their potassium content. Potassium helps the body to regulate fluid balance, heart, nerve and muscle function, and is a key player in controlling blood pressure.
Mushrooms are packed with energy-releasing B-vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin) plus riboflavin (B2) and folate (B9) which are essential for production of healthy blood cells. They are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle, essential for healthy bones. Copper is an essential mineral that the body cannot manufacture itself. Copper protects the cardiovascular system, and one serving of mushrooms contains 20% of our daily needs.
Mushrooms are a nifty addition to any dish, being rich in protein, fat-free and high in fibre (there is more fibre in a 100g serving of mushrooms than a slice of wholemeal bread), which means they fill you up without adding the calories. With 90% water content they absorb flavours perfectly and require little or no oil for cooking.
If you need to drop a little weight this is the perfect choice at a negligible 126 kcals per serving. It's really tasty and fairly filling too, in spite of the calorie count. If you're greedy like me, add a side salad or some pre-dinner crudites.
Mushroom stroganoff with Cauliflower Rice (serves 4)
126 calories per serving
- 1tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 600g mixed mushrooms, chopped
- 2tsp smoked paprika
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 150ml Crème Fraiche (light)
- 1 Cauliflower (white only), coarsely grated
1. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook for 5 mins or until beginning to soften. Add the mushrooms and paprika and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the stock and cook for a further 10 mins or until the liquid is reduced by half.
3. Meanwhile put the grated cauliflower into a steam bag or steamer and microwave for 2 mins.
4. Stir in the crème fraiche into the cooked mushrooms and season with pepper. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins. Serve the mushroom stroganoff over the cauliflower rice immediately.
I love risotto and am delighted to inform you that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dieting disaster. This recipe has only around 300 kcals per serving, and is a great option for a dinner party as it looks and tastes fabulous, plus the quinoa adds a yummy nutty flavour and a boost of protein.
Mushroom & Thyme Risotto (serves 4)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 350g chestnut mushrooms , sliced
- 100g quinoa
- 1l hot vegetable stock
- 175g risotto rice
- handful thyme leaves
- handful grated Parmesan or vegetarian alternative
- 50g bag rocket , to serve
1. Heat the oil in a medium pan, sauté the mushrooms for 2-3 mins, then stir in the quinoa. Keeping the vegetable stock warm in a separate pan on a low heat, add a ladle of the stock and stir until absorbed. Stir in the rice and repeat again with the stock, until all the stock has been used up and the rice and quinoa are tender and cooked.
2. Stir in the thyme leaves, then divide between 4 plates or bowls. Serve topped with grated Parmesan and rocket leaves.
302 kcalories, protein 11g, carbohydrate 51g, fat 7 g, saturated fat 2g, fibre 3g, sugar 4g, salt 0.74 g