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Enjoying the Benefits of Mushrooms

By Marni Sumbal

How do you like your mushrooms? I prefer cooked over raw because I really love the meaty texture.

Mushrooms are so versatile and they can be used in many different types of dishes. From mushroom burgers to stir-fries, there are many options, so long as you use your creativity in the kitchen. 

They also offer numerous health benefits. Mushrooms are a nutrient-dense food which means they are low in calories but packed with nutritional value. This is how I like to choose foods that I prioritize in my diet — per bite, how much nutrition am I getting? This is also a great way to choose your indulgences — if you are making every bite count, choose the best ingredients possible, enjoy a small portion and savor every bite.

Mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals, are a good source of potassium and provide selenium, copper and three B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid) to assist in metabolism. They are also an excellent source of vitamin D if exposed to UV light before or after harvesting.

There are more than 2,000 varieties of mushrooms, but you’ll find a few common ones at the grocery store or farmers market that are safe for human consumption. Consider the variety of mushrooms to add to your diet including porcini, chanterelles, morels, portabellas, shiitakes, criminis and more.

Here are two recent Trimarni creations that allowed me to YUM my way through the meal with the use of mushrooms. Enjoy!

Broccoli and Mushrooms with Quinoa

broccoli mushroom quinoa1 head of broccoli, chopped and steamed
1/2 cup quinoa cooked in 1 cup water
1 large container mushrooms
1 package firm tofu, cubed
Garlic chopped
Olive oil and mozzarella cheese for toppings

Prepare quinoa according to directions and steam broccoli. Drain water from tofu, pat dry with towel, cut into cubes and cook with a little olive oil. Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, steam with broccoli or cook with tofu.

To serve, I recommend filling a shallow dish with broccoli (1-2 cups) and then top with 1 cup mushrooms, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and 1/2 cup tofu. Top with up to 1 ounce cheese and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

This will provide you with a healthy plant-strong meal in balanced portions to leave you satisfied. Feel free to modify to your hunger, workout intensity or other nutritional needs by increasing amount of fat, protein or quinoa. 

The ingredients listed above will allow for leftovers.

Tomato, Mushroom, Kale and Couscous Soup

mushroom kale couscous soup1 cup tomato basil soup, plus 1 can of water (same can as soup)
2 cups chopped kale (or 4-5 kale leaves, stems removed), washed
1 container mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Pearled couscous (prepared according to box/package)
Optional: Tofu or your choice of protein

In large pot, add soup and can of water. Cook on low to medium heat. Add mushrooms, kale and garlic. Cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until kale is soft.  Add your choice of cooked protein.

Prepare couscous according to directions. When soup is ready, add 1 cup cooked couscous to your soup bowl. Then top with 1 1/2 cups of soup and mix together with a spoon. 

Note: Even though the soup is high in sodium per serving (I recommend less than 440 milligrams sodium per serving for soup as a good way to select low-sodium options), I diluted it by adding water and then added the other ingredients to make it more nutrient dense. You do not need to add additional salt to this meal but you can add herbs or spices to your liking.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and works as a clinical dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches. Marni holds a master of science in exercise physiology, is a USA Triathlon Certified Coach and a 7-time Ironman finisher. She enjoys public speaking, writing, plant strong cooking and traveling. She recently finished her third Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, with a PR of 10:37:10. Learn more at trimarnicoach.com.


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