April 16 is the Day of the Mushroom – a day set aside to celebrate the unique properties of this piece of produce.
Mushrooms are a type of vegetable, but some of their texture and nutritional properties align more closely with meats and grains.
Generally speaking, mushrooms are low in calories, they are fat-free and have no sodium. Mushrooms provide selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D.
A serving size of 5 mushrooms provides:
- 20 calories
- 0 g fat
- 0 mg sodium
- 3 g carbohydrate
- 1.5 g dietary fiber
- 3 g protein
You might notice that relative to total calorie contribution, the protein and fiber content of mushrooms is pretty impressive.
On top of their nutrition profile, vegetarians embrace mushrooms for their meat-free, yet oddly meat-like texture.
A medium-sized grilled portobello mushroom checks in at 40 calories, 3 grams fiber and 5 grams protein. Not bad considering a hamburger sets you back with about 5 times more calories, plus all that saturated fat without any fiber (albeit more protein).
If you’re going to grill tonight, why not check out portobello mushrooms as a meat alternative? Here’s a quick-and-easy grilled portobello mushroom burger recipe from the Mayo Clinic Diet Cookbook:
Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)
- 4 large portobello mushroom caps, 5 inches in diameter
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 whole-wheat buns, toasted
- 4 slices tomato
- 4 slices red onion
- 2 bibb lettuce leaves, halved
- Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove their stems. Place in a glass dish, stem (gill) side up.
- To prepare the marinade, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper and olive oil. Drizzle the marinade over the mushrooms. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, turning mushrooms once.
- Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
- Grill or broil the mushrooms on medium heat, turning often, until tender, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste with marinade to keep from drying out. Using tongs, transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
- Place each mushroom on a bun and top with 1 tomato slice, 1 onion slice and 1/2 lettuce leaf. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Analysis (per burger)
- 283 calories
- 9 g fat
- 1 g saturated fat
- 140 mg sodium
- 46 g carbohydrate
- 9 g dietary fiber
- 8 g protein