Insider’s Viewpoint: Make Room for Mushrooms

Fall is the perfect season for sipping on hot apple cider, baking pumpkin pie, creating leaf mazes and decorating with festive gourds, pumpkins and acorns. Aside from these favorites, fall is also the perfect season for harvesting mushrooms. Although they are available year-round, mushrooms are in peak season during the fall and winter months.

Baby portabella mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse. Aside from being low in calories, fat and sodium, they provide antioxidants which may protect our body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. They are an excellent source of riboflavin, a B vitamin that is important for energy, growth and red blood cell production. Baby portabellas are also a good source of of these minerals …

  • Selenium: A mineral known for its antioxidant properties that may play a role in preventing cancer of the colon, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophagus and stomach.
  • Copper: A mineral necessary for producing and storing iron.
  • Potassium: A mineral which aids in lowering blood pressure.

Storage & Handling Tips
Although baby portabellas are a mighty mushroom, they do require careful storage and handling.

  • Refrigerate in the original packaging immediately after purchasing.
  • Don’t store near pungent foods as baby portabellas may absorb their odors.
  • Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Store in a brown paper bag once opened.
  • Sautéed mushrooms, as opposed to fresh mushrooms, can be frozen.
  • Wipe gently with a damp cloth before use. If preparing mushrooms in bulk, rinse quickly under cool water (don’t soak!) and drain.

Ways to Enjoy Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a truly inexpensive, versatile vegetable. Whether prepared as the main dish, served as an appetizer or incorporated into a side dish, mushrooms are a delicious complement to any cuisine, adding exquisite flavor, savor and volume.


Grilled Mushroom Quesadillas
Yield: 6 portions
Serving Size: 1 quesadilla (1 flatbread wrap folded over ½ cup mushrooms, ? avocado and 2 ounces cheese)

All you need

  • 2 pounds fresh baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 flatbread wraps
  • 2 cups (around 8 ounces) shredded cheese, such as reduced-fat cheddar and Monterey Jack, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Salsa verde and diced tomatoes, for garnish

If Grilling …

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. While grill heats, toss mushrooms with oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Cook mushroom in one layer in a grill basket, in batches if necessary. Cook until one side is deep brown, about 6 to 10 minutes.
  4. Turn and grill other side till a similar color is achieved, another 6 to 10 minutes. Cooking times may vary.

If Sautéing …

  1. Heat olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add a single layer of mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side.
  3. Add salt, flip mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more, until other side is same color.

While mushrooms cook, assemble quesadillas; distribute half the cheeses and all avocado slices on left half of 6 tortillas. When mushrooms are done, distribute mushrooms and cilantro leaves, if desired, among tortillas and top with remaining cheese. Fold tortilla in half and grill or warm in skillet until cheese begins to melt, then flip to cook other side. Transfer to cutting board, cut into wedges and serve with salsa verde, tomatoes and additional cheese.

Note: If a grill basket is not available, layer several sheets of foil together and fold up sides to make a shallow pan, or use a disposable foil pan. Add a single layer of mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side. Flip mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more, until other side is same color.

Nutrition facts per serving: 400 calories, 22 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 900 mg sodium, 17 g protein, 33 g total carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber

Source: Adapted from Monterey™ Mushrooms

The information is not intended as medical advice. Consult a medical professional for individual advice.


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