Two things are constantly on my mind when it comes to grocery shopping and meal planning: making healthier meals that I can feel good about serving to my family and saving money while doing it. As our family of five leaves the baby years, we suddenly have three growing kids with healthy appetites and my grocery bill has been growing right along with them. Over the past year, I’ve been cutting down on processed foods and turning more and more to fresh ingredients, organic whenever possible. Meat is expensive to begin with and when you’re looking at organic meats you’re in for some major sticker shock. This has led me to seek out more meatless recipes and make substitutions for meat in some of our favorite recipes. Mushrooms are a great choice when you want to swap out the meat in a recipe as they have a very similar texture.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, The Mushroom Council (a group of U.S. mushroom growers) is encouraging consumers to “get your plate in shape” with mushrooms.
Increasing the intake of lower calorie foods, specifically mushrooms, in place of those higher in calories, like ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing calories and fat while still feeling full and satisfied after a meal. This approach of replacing some ground beef, turkey or other meat with mushrooms is known as “swapability.” It works because mushrooms’ hearty texture and rich flavor allow them to blend seamlessly with meats. The mushroom and meat “swapability” technique is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious and works great in family favorites like lasagna, burgers, tacos or chili.
Modifying your favorite recipes to replace a portion of the ground meat with mushrooms is simple with this three-step “swapability strategy”:
- Chop up the mushroom variety of your choice to match the consistency of the ground beef or poultry
- Season and cook the mushrooms just as you do the meat
- Combine the cooked meat and mushrooms and use the mix to complete your recipe
If the savings don’t convince you to give mushrooms a place in your shopping cart, perhaps the health benefits will. Mushrooms are low in calories and fat free, with a flavorful umami content that allows you to cut down the use of salt in a dish without compromising the flavor. Mushrooms are also a good source of vitamins B & D as well as antioxidants to help you maintain a healthy immune system.
Here’s a recipe to get you started, make the Mushroom Burger Wraps pictured above.
Mushroom Burger Wraps (Makes 4 Servings)
- 6 ounces white button mushrooms
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 2-ounce whole-wheat tortillas
- freshly ground black pepper
1. Chop mushrooms into ¼-inch pieces. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons canola oil. Place mushrooms in pan and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Return mushrooms to pan and season with freshly ground black pepper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, ricotta cheese, ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and basil. Form mixture into 4 burgers.
3. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil. Cook burgers for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until done. (Or grill burgers.) Serve in tortilla.
Serving Tip: These are delicious with caramelized onions, fresh tomato and cheddar cheese.
Find this and lots of other mushroom recipes at mushroominfo.com.
You can join the National Mushroom Council in celebrating National Nutrition Month by attending their Twitter party on Monday March 12 at 8:00 PM EST. The event hashtag is #mushrooms and there will be prizes to giveaway so you won’t want to miss it. You can RSVP here.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Global Influence on behalf of the National Mushroom Council and I was compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.