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The Mighty Mushroom: Your Complete Guide to Using The Vegetable of The Year in 2021

We’re calling it now—

Mushrooms are set to be the hottest trend in our kitchens come 2021.

Now, some may be shuddering at the thought of its earthy taste or chewy texture.

We know: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em,

but stay with me here...

This unique vegetable is healthy, versatile, and impossibly delicious.

When it comes to mushrooms, there are a ton of different options to choose from-

and flavors to explore! 

If you are interested in learning how to use mushrooms in your kitchen this year, 

then stick around!

In this article, we’ll be showing you the ins and outs of maximizing mushrooms in your cooking. 

Here’s what we’ll cover: 

  • Mushroom 101: The Powerful Nutritional Value of this Fungi
  • The Versatile Vegetable: 10 Different Types and Their Uses
  • 23 Magical Mushroom Recipes You Can Enjoy All Year Long

Ready? 

Let's get into it!

From Caitlin of From My Bowl

Mushroom 101: The Powerful Nutritional Value of this Fungi

Mushrooms are a unique food that shares characteristics with both plants— 

And even some animals! 

(Don’t worry, their nutrition is where their similarities end. All mushrooms are 100% vegan friendly.)

Although classified as a vegetable, this food is part of the fungi group

Today, we’ll be covering mushroom’s nutritional value and the many different types of mushrooms. 

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms: 

Here are some of the amazing nutritional values of mushrooms: 

Vitamin D: 

When it comes to this essential vitamin— 

Mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D! 

Beyond getting out in the sun for a little bit every day, mushrooms are an essential part of a healthy vegan diet for this reason. 

Vitamin D is important because it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in our body— 

Which helps keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy! 

Chitin: 

One of the reasons mushrooms are so popular among vegans is because they have a surprisingly “meaty” texture!

The reason for this is because unlike other vegetables their cells do not contain cellulose. 

Instead, they contain something called chitin— 

Which isn’t found in any other vegetables. 

In fact, chitin is a material that is part of the makeup of insects, shellfish, and crustaceans! 

Crazy, right?

Chitin is the reason that mushrooms have a meaty texture that can rival different substances like steaks and hamburgers. 

B Vitamins: 

Mushrooms are a great source of a variety of B vitamins such as the following: 

  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid

These vitamins serve a variety of uses that are essential to our health

Here are just a few: 

  • Assist the digestive system
  • Promote healthy skin
  • Maintain a healthy nervous system
  • Helps your body produce the right hormones

Protein: 

As vegans, we’re always on the hunt for veggies that pack a punch with protein! 

When it comes to mushrooms, a mere cup contains 2-3 grams of protein

This amount adds up if you incorporate it into your daily diet. 

Low in Fat, Calories, and Sodium: 

Another amazing fact about mushrooms is that they are high in essential vitamins and nutrients—

And low in fat, calories, and sodium!

1 cup of mushrooms has the following nutritional value: 

  • 15 calories (wow!)
  • .7 grams of fiber
  • .2 grams of fat
  • 2.3 carbs

With such a high nutritional impact, you’ll want to sprinkle mushrooms on top of everything! 

The Versatile Vegetable: 10 Different Types and Their Uses

Did you know there are over 50,000 different species of mushrooms? 

Don’t worry—

We’ll only be going over the 14 best types that you can cook with and why they are the predicted veggie of the year in 2021. 

1. Button or White Mushrooms

This type of mushroom is the kind that you most commonly see at the grocery store and in your recipes!

While it is super nutritious—

it also has an extremely mild flavor. 

If you are unsure about dipping your toe into the world of mushrooms, then this type is the best kind to start with! 

You can enjoy these salads raw and chopped up in a salad— 

Or as a topping on your vegan pizza recipes

2. Cremini or Baby Bella Mushrooms

If you’ve tried the more mild button mushroom— 

and you enjoyed it—

Then you are ready for the cremini mushroom! 

This mushroom is light brown and is actually a baby portabella mushroom. 

It is still mild and easy to cook with, 

but has more depth in its flavor. 

For a richer taste, substitute any recipe that calls for button mushrooms with cremini mushrooms! 

3. Portabella

Portabella mushrooms are the apple of a vegan's eyes! 

The portabella mushroom is an exceptionally large species that has an earthy and meaty flavor. 

Due to its size and rich flavor, this mushroom is the most common meat substitute for steaks and burgers. 

This ingredient is super versatile and can be stuffed with herbs and other ingredients— 

Or you can just throw it on the grill!

4. Shiitake Mushrooms

What makes the shiitake mushroom stand out against the others? 

Its undeniably meaty texture and rich umami flavor. 

Shiitake mushrooms can be found at most common grocery stores and are identifiable by their umbrella-shaped mushroom cap. 

If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, then the shiitake mushroom is going to be your new best friend!

This mushroom transforms a simple stir fry or soup and transforms it into a mouth-watering and aromatic delight that is deserving of a Michelin star. 

Shredded Mushroom Carnitas from Eva of The Curious Chickpea

5. Enoki Mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms are another mushroom type that is most popular in Asian cuisine. 

These mushrooms are delicate,

grow in small clusters, 

and are impossibly cute. 

Enoki mushrooms have a delicate and recognizable flavor-- 

they’re quite popular in stir-fries, soups, and ramens

If you don’t want them in a soup, don’t worry.

They can actually be enjoyed raw and have a lovely crunch texture!

6. Oyster Mushrooms

This type of mushroom is recognizable because of its large and beautiful fan shape. 

Its color varies from white to light brown while they have a mild and even sweet flavor! 

This type of mushroom is extremely versatile. 

If you’re looking for a recipe that is out of the box, then look no further than this fried “calamari” recipe using oyster mushrooms! 

7. Morel Mushrooms

If you are looking to advance your mushroom game—

Then you need to try the morel mushroom!

These mushrooms are identifiable by their porous and conical shape... 

But perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about them is their steep price tag! 

The elusive morel mushroom is native to North America and Europe-- 

they can only be found in the wild…

whereas most other mushrooms can be farmed. 

Mushroom foragers set out every spring to hunt down these mushrooms and sell them to gourmet restaurants. 

Morel mushrooms set themselves apart:

they have a different flavor than other mushrooms that are said to be super luxurious and rich. 

If you have the opportunity to try it, jump on the chance! 

8. Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms are a sought after mushroom that is most commonly used in Italian cuisine. 

Like the morel mushroom, the porcini mushroom is also a wild mushroom!

This mushroom has a distinct flavor palette that is rich, meaty, and has slightly nutty undertones within it. 

When porcini mushrooms are in the dish, they are the star of the show—

Try out this vegan porcini mushroom risotto to see what we mean! 

9. Black Chanterelle

Now onto the more exotic mushrooms. 

The black chanterelle (also known as the black trumpet mushroom) is distinguished by its rich black color and trumpet-like cap. 

When cooked, this mushroom has a rich and smoky flavor that will stand out in the dish. 

This winter mushroom has an earthy flavor that tastes amazing with fresh herbs and pasta. 

You can purchase these mushrooms online if you can’t find them in stores. 

10. Black Truffle

Not for the faint of heart, the black truffle has an intense and pungent flavor that grows when it is cooked. 

This mushroom type is rare and extremely perishable-- 

making it both expensive and sought after! 

When used in dishes, just a sprinkle is needed due to its strong and unique flavor. 

Cleaning Mushrooms: 

Since mushrooms come from the earth— 

You will want to be sure to rinse off the dirt from this veggie! 

The trick?

Do not douse mushrooms in water or ever leave them soaking...

these guys are particularly porous and absorbent. 

All you need to do to freshen up your mushrooms: 

give them a quick rinse with water! 

Immediately after, lay them out on a towel so that they can dry off immediately. 

This will help them keep their flavor and texture when you cook with them. 

No-Boil Baked Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff from Caitlin of From My Bowl

23 Magical Mushroom Recipes You Can Enjoy All Year Long

As you can see, there is no shortage of different mushrooms and recipes to add them to!

Whether you are an adventurous chef always looking for their next secret ingredient—

Or simply trying to add some healthy vegetables to your family’s meals, 

there is a mushroom out there for you. 

Read on to hear the absolute best vegan recipes where mushrooms are the key ingredient! 

Mushroom Appetizer Recipes: 

  1. To kick off the night, what could be more appealing than these stuffed mushrooms by From My Bowl? (Grain-free and gluten-free!)
  2. Filled with rich flavor, this mushroom and cream cheese wonton recipe by Daughter of Seitan is perfectly bite-sized. 
  3. Crunchy and packed with flavor, these breaded portobello mushroom fries by Cooking Therapy is the best finger food around. 
  4. You can’t go wrong with bruschetta, and this oil-free rosemary and thyme mushroom recipe by Kathy’s Vegan Kitchen is no exception. 
  5. These vegan sausage rolls by Simply Ceecee feature mushrooms and make an unusual and irresistible vegan appetizer option. 

Mushroom and Pasta Recipes: 

  1. If you’re in search of a hearty recipe that’s easy to make and rich in flavor— then you need to try this no-boil baked vegan mushroom stroganoff recipe by From My Bowl! 
  2. This high-protein ramen recipe by Peas and Crayons includes edamame and vegan and is an absolute dream. 
  3. Eat With Clarity has concocted the best mushroom broccoli pasta recipe with a lemon and garlic finish
  4. Everyone claims to have the best vegan alfredo recipe, but this recipe by Keeping the Peas topped with spinach and mushrooms might take the cake! 
  5. Marinated mushroom pasta salad makes an exceptionally yummy and nutritious lunch recipe! 
  6. This ramen noodle recipe by Eat With Clarity includes meaty shiitake mushrooms. 

Miscellaneous Mushroom Recipes: 

  1. This green bean and mushroom casserole by From My Bowl makes the perfect dinner, and the perfect leftovers for the next day. 
  2. The Curious Chickpea gets creative with oyster mushrooms by using them as the meat in her vegan carnitas recipe
  3. This hearty mushroom bourguignon recipe by Ela Vegan is the perfect dish to make to impress your friends and family. 
  4. Vegan pizza is always a crowd favorite. This vegan caramelized mushroom recipe by The Curious Chickpea is almost too good to be true. 
  5. For a simple dish that tastes great, whip up this garlic mushroom and cauliflower skillet recipe by Eat Well 101. 
  6. For a mouthwatering recipe, grill up these marinated portobello mushroom caps by Well Plated. 
  7. Packed with protein, this mushroom and lentil ragu recipe by The Simple Veganista is to die for! 
  8. If you are searching for comfort food that is also healthy, then try out this mushroom wild rice soup recipe by Short Girl Tall Order. 
  9. Filled with earthy cremini mushrooms, this mushroom pot pie recipe by Holy Cow Vegan is the meal for one. 
  10. Basking in tomatoes and chickpeas, this king oyster mushroom cioppino recipe by This Wife Cooks is an impressive dinner entree. 
  11. This vegan po’ boy recipe by Vegan with Curves has a cajun kick and fried oyster mushrooms! 
  12. Discover Delicious has the perfect enoki mushroom miso soup that is filled to the brim with a unique umami flavor. 

Best Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms from Caitlin of From My Bowl

Mushrooms: The Best Veggie of the Year

There you have it! 

The complete overview of the veggie of the year—

Mushrooms. 

This veggie is extremely versatile, exceptionally nutritious, and adds a whole new flavor palette to your recipes! 

Whether you are playing it safe and experimenting with white mushrooms, or you’re purchasing the black trumpet mushroom offline for the perfect recipe—

This ingredient is going to transform your vegan recipes. 

Interested in learning about other unique vegan foods? 

Check out our article about unfamiliar vegan ingredients

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