Whether strewn on my pizza, tossed with scrambled eggs, or grilled alongside a steak, I love me some 'shrooms! As I sautéed some for dinner recently, I found myself wondering about the nutritional value of these magically mysterious fungi. With a taste and appearance as funky as mushrooms can be, they must be healthy for you, right? But I've always heard that the most colorful foods are the healthiest, and if mushrooms are lacking in anything, it's color. So how healthy can they be?
As it turns out, mushrooms are very good for you. They have many attributes of the healthiest vegetables, but also provide benefits typically found only in meat, beans, or grains - for example, they're a good source of Vitamin D, which isn't found in any other produce (which gives that portobello burger a little more street cred). They're a leading source of the antioxidant selenium; they provide B vitamins, which give you energy and play a role in the functioning of your nervous system; and, as Eastern cultures have claimed for centuries, they help strengthen the immune system. If you want to get more into the nitty gritty, there's lots of research on the subject. Or you can take a Smurf-ier approach and just sing lalalalalala while you lovingly paint them...with olive oil...
I usually sauté mine on the stove with olive oil, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. But this technique for grilled maitakes makes me want to try out something new this summer!