Mushrooms are a fungus that more of us should have among us, and there are many fabulous reasons to eat them. They’re flavorful, versatile, low in calories and fat and contain a good amount of dietary fiber and protein. They also provide essential amino acids, a significant amount of vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D and E, and trace minerals like zinc and selenium. Now that you know you should eat more mushrooms, just one question remains: What’s the best way to cook them?
Researchers in Spain researched the best way to cook fungi to retain as many of mushroom’s nutrients as possible. The results might surprise you.
Between boiling, microwaving, grilling and deep frying, the researchers found that two cooking methods — grilling (yum!) and microwaving (huh?) — were the most nutritious. Curiously, sauteeing, one of the most common ways to cook them, was not a part of the study.
HOW TO GRILL MUSHROOMS
Several options exist to grill mushrooms for the best flavor, texture and nutrition. Large portobello mushrooms, which are really just gargantuan brown crimini mushrooms, lend themselves easily to grilling because of their shape — with the stem removed, they’re ready to be your burger.
- Wipe the dirt from both sides of the cap with a clean kitchen or paper towel — mushrooms aren’t usually washed in water like other vegetables because they absorb the liquid.
- Marinate the mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper, and add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. You can also add other flavoring agents, such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crushed garlic, fresh herbs or ginger as you like. Mushrooms absorb the flavors around them, so let them marinate for as little as 30 minutes to overnight.
- Cook them over a medium/medium-high flame, flipping often, until cooked all the way through, about 15–20 minutes.
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Note that smaller mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini or trumpet, can be skewered for easier grill cooking. For ultimate convenience, stab several small holes into the bottom of a disposable aluminum pan and cook the mushrooms, stirring often, over the flame — it’s not grilling but it is cooking them on the grill.
HOW TO MICROWAVE MUSHROOMS
Microwaving mushrooms might not be the first cooking method that comes to mind, but it’s speedy and produces surprisingly delicious results.
- Wipe two cups of white button mushrooms clean, trim the tough tip of the stem and transfer the mushrooms to a large, microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat on high for 90 seconds.
- Stir quickly; you’ll see a lot of steam and liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
- Return to the microwave, close the door and let rest for one minute after cooking.
- Drain the mushrooms, if you like. Add a sprinkle of salt, a quick grind of black pepper and a small pat of butter or olive oil.
These mushrooms can be eaten as-is as a side dish or chopped into a filling for omelets, quiche, tacos and more.
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No matter how you cook them, mushrooms are delicious, but by grilling or microwaving, you’ll get the most nutritional bang for your buck.