Mushrooms aren't meat, they're not dairy, they're not fruit, and, technically, they aren't even a vegetable! However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat 'em right up!

Mushrooms are actually one of the few edible kinds of fungi, which means that they're part of a group of spore-producing organisms that feed on organic matter.

They're also incredibly low in calories despite the fact that they're ridiculously nutritious. One cup of white mushrooms has only 15 calories, no fat, 2.2 grams of protein, and .7 grams of fiber, with only 1.4 grams of sugar.

Mushrooms are also bursting with antioxidants. They're a great source of selenium, which plays a role in liver enzyme function, prevents inflammation, and may even decrease tumor growth rates. In fact, one recent study found potential cancer-fighting properties in 5 different kinds of mushrooms!

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Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and a variety of B-vitamins, and they're one of the few non-animal sources of Vitamin D. They also contain a special fiber called beta-glucan, which has been associated with improved insulin resistance and lower blood cholesterol levels.

However, we'd recommend getting your mushrooms from the supermarket rather than foraging for them, because there are wild poison varieties out there that can cause symptoms ranging from slight gastrointestinal discomfort to eventual death.

But don't be afraid to use the right kind of mushrooms to fill out a salad, bulk up an omelette, as a vegan alternative to meat, or in one of the three delicious recipes below!

Tarragon Veal and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 100g veal schnitzel (uncrumbed)
  • 90g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Directions

Cook veal for 2 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking (lightly coat with lemon juice first so it doesn’t stick). Transfer to a plate. Cover to rest and keep warm. Put ½ cup of water into the pan then add mushrooms to it. Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in tarragon. Add mushrooms to the plate with the veal. Garnish with a little chopped parsley if desired.

Easy Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

  • 180 gm mushrooms
  • ½ cup water
  • Stock cube
  • Salt to taste

Directions

Slice mushrooms. Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil. Simmer uncovered on a low heat till liquid reduces and mushrooms are soft.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 6 very large field mushrooms
  • 75 g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh parsley, thyme leaves
  • 4 lean pork and herb sausages, skinned
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 6 tbsp coarsely grated Cheddar

Directions

The night before, remove the mushroom stalks and chop finely. Clean the caps and place gill-side up in a lightly greased roasting tin. Mix the butter, thyme and some seasoning and spread over each one. Scatter with the stalks. Pull the sausage meat into small pieces and pile onto the mushrooms with the tomato. Season lightly, cover and chill overnight. The next morning, preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the sausage is lightly golden and the mushrooms have softened. Remove,sprinkle each mushroom with cheese and bake for a further 5 minutes. 6 entree portion.

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