Dissecting Food: Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a delicious and healthy form of food as they are a great source of dietary fiber and are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Mushrooms such as portobellos are also great to use as meat substitutes in a variety of applications. Try making portobello burgers on pretzel rolls or chopping a few up and adding them to your chili instead of ground beef. Mushrooms are actually the spore-bearing, fruiting part of a fungus that grow either above grind or on top of its food source. These facts sound a bit off taste but their inherent texture actually help mushrooms to absorb many of the flavors they’re cooked with while preserving their own characteristics as well. Sometimes there’s nothing better than mushrooms sautéed with butter and herbs to top a great steak with. Some species of mushrooms and mushroom extracts are used for medicinal purposes as they can modulate immune system responses and inhibit tumor growth.



Spinach and Portobello Lasagna Rolls

Weekends!  Gotta love them; slow mornings allow us to take it easy and enjoy our breakfast, flipping through our favorite cookbooks and planning out our week of delicious, healthy meals.  This saves us lots of time, stress and money during the week, not to mention it keeps us from splurging on take-out menus that are anything but good for you or your wallet.  Going shopping once a week also helps with all the fresh ingredients staying fresh.  We try to pick about 3-4 dinners, which make ample Lunchtime leftovers, and 2 grab and go breakfasts ( such as healthy muffins or Muesli) to get through the workweek.  It’s a really great idea to try to pick recipes that have some similar ingredients when it comes to buying a container of fresh herbs, low fat buttermilk, or other perishables that can’t be frozen if left unused after the recipes been made.  This week we picked a couple recipes that had some similar perishable ingredients: basil, mozzarella, Parmesan.  Extra veggies such as tomato and mushrooms can be chopped up for omelets or quesadillas!  This recipe can be made ahead on the weekend when you’ve got more time, and frozen in individual containers to heat up throughout the week for lunches or dinners.  The roll-ups really help with portion control and look/ taste great too!  It’s a dish high in fiber and protein, and about 490 cals for 2 rolls.  Enjoy!

12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 3/4 pound)
2 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups store bought Basil/Tomato marinara sauce, organic/ lower sodium
1 (15-ounce) container low fat ricotta cheese
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 ounces grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 2/3 cup)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the noodles al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain them well and spread them out onto aluminum foil or waxed paper to prevent them from sticking.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, basil the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, a few turns of pepper, and nutmeg.

Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto a lasagna noodle. Top with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture, roll the noodle and place it into the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles. Spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the lasagna rolls. Top with grated cheeses,tent loosely with foil so the cheese doesn’t stick, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.

Portobello Mushroom and Hot Pepper Chili

This yummy and completely vegetarian chili is perfect for staying warm and healthy in 2011.  Just combine the following ingredients in a crock pot and heat on low for a few hours  and serve with your favorite chili fixin’s!

1- 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

1- 14.5oz can of Pinto Beans (rinsed)

1- 14.5oz can of Black Beans (rinsed)

1- 14.5oz can of corn (rinsed)

2- bell peppers (we used a red and an orange)  (finely diced)

1- Banana Pepper (finely diced)

1- Habanero Pepper (finely diced)

1- Poblano Pepper (finely diced)

3- large portobello mushrooms roughly chopped

Salt to taste (about 1 tsp.)

Cracked black Pepper ( about 1/2 tsp.)

Cumin, Corriander, Chili powder (1 tsp. each)

14 ounces water