Choose Heart Healthy Mushrooms this Month

February. It’s already shaping up to be a very busy month! I mean, we’ve got the Super Bowl a few days away, Valentine’s Day in a little over a week, and Family Day (in most provinces)… so I think that it is very fitting that February is known as “Heart Month.

Of course we all want to keep the good ‘ol ticker in excellent shape, but just how do you go about it? Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping blood cholesterol in check are some of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Eating more fruits and vegetables can also help protect our hearts against cardiovascular disease by providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, as well as plant compounds called phytochemicals.

Fresh Mushrooms Can Help!

Watch the Weight
Mushrooms are a perfect choice for weight management, since they have high water content, are low in fat and contain fibre: three factors that help you feel full with fewer calories (that means less room for calorie-laden foods).

Cut the Cholesterol
Fresh mushrooms contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre has been shown to help prevent and manage cardiovascular disease by lowering the levels of total and LDL cholesterol.

Adding the Antioxidants
Fresh mushrooms contain significant levels of l-ergothioneine, which acts as an antioxidant. Ergothioneine doesn’t break down when it’s heated, which means you can enjoy mushrooms raw or cooked!

Mushrooms Make a Difference

  • Add ½ cup white button mushrooms as a side to chicken. Benefit: one 1 extra gram of fibre.
  • Mix 1 cup of diced portabella mushrooms into risotto. Benefit: three 3 extra grams of fibre.
  • Include 1½ cups sliced crimini (brown) mushrooms in pasta sauce. Benefit: five 5 extra grams of fibre.

For more about heart health visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Recipe of the Month: Mushroom Empanada

Empanada Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-vegetable shortening, cold, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 tbsp vinegar

Mushroom Filling:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion
1/4 cup fresh thyme, stems removed
1 lb. Button Mushrooms, sliced & roughly chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water

Empanda Dough:
1. Combine flours and salt in a large bowl and stir. Add shortening and use your fingers to blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the ice water and add in the vinegar. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and use a fork to gently incorporate it. Gently knead the dough until it comes together into a ball – two or three times should do it.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand, and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Empanda Filling:
1. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until soft. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until the ingredients start to turn golden and fragrant. Add wine, stirring, until it evaporates. Turn down heat and add cream, stirring until it absorbs into the mixture. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
3. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Use a 3 1/2-inch circle cutter to cut out circles of dough. Scraps can be collected, re-rolled and cut into circles.
4. Place about a teaspoon of the mushroom mixture onto each circle, topping with some cheese, while leaving a half-inch border around the filling. Brush the egg wash on the empty side of the circle and fold dough over to create a semi-circle. Use a fork to press the edges tightly together. Brush the egg wash over the tops of all of the completed empanadas and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment or silpat. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden brown and flaky. Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 18 empanadas.

This recipe was created by Jeannette Ordas of Everybody Likes Sandwiches for the Mushroom Masters: A Tournament of Taste Button Battle.

Fragrant Thai Curry and Mushroom Dinner | Video

Fragrant Thai Curry Dinner
Preparation Time: 12 mins. Cooking Time: 18 mins.

Coconut milk based curries, popular in Thai cooking are easy to prepare with purchased curry pastes. Sweet, salty and sour flavours add contrast to the spicy flavour. Make it vegetarian style or substitute chicken and add shrimp if desired.

This recipe is an Excellent Source of Folate.

Ingredients
12 oz firm tofu, drained 375 g
2 tbsp vegetable oil 25 mL
1 medium onion, sliced
1 lb. sliced fresh Mushrooms (white, crimini or oyster) 500 g
1 can (454 mL) lite coconut milk
3/4 cup vegetable broth 175 mL
2-3 tsp Thai red or green curry paste 10-15 mL
2 tsp finely grated lime rind 10 mL
1 tbsp fish sauce 15 mL
2 cups halved green beans 500 mL
1/3 cup diced red pepper 75 mL
2 tsp sugar 10 mL
1/2 tsp lime juice 2 mL
2 green onions, thinly sliced 2
Fresh Thai basil or coriander leaves (optional)
2 cups hot cooked jasmine or white rice 500 mL

Method
Cut tofu into 3/4 “(2 cm) cubes. In large skillet or wok heat oil over medium- high heat, stir fry onion 1-2 minutes. Add tofu; stir-fry 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, broth, curry paste, lime rind and fish sauce; bring to boil while stirring to blend well. Add green beans; reduce heat to medium and boil 5- 8 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Add red pepper; cook until sauce has thickened to desired consistency, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in lime juice and sugar. Serve over hot rice and garnish with green onion and basil or coriander.

Makes 4 servings

Tips: If fish sauce is not available add ½ tsp (2m L) salt. Substitute mango juice nectar for broth and omit sugar.

Variations:
1. Add 4 oz (125 mL) peeled raw shrimp with the red pepper.
2. Substitute 12 oz (375 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs for tofu.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 408, Sodium: 978 mg, Protein: 13.8 g, Fat: 19.2 g, Carbohydrates: 51.6 g, Dietary Fibre: 5.5 g

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mushrooms

Beef and Mushroom Stir Fry“I didn’t know that!!”

That’s the response I usually get when I tell people interesting facts about mushrooms. You see, there are a lot of fascinating things that you probably don’t know about mushrooms, they are like nature’s hidden treasure.

Here are 5 fascinating things you likely didn’t know about mushrooms.


1. Like humans, mushrooms can convert sunlight into vitamin D. The human body is an amazing thing; it can take sunlight absorb it through the skin, and convert it into something it needs to survive – vitamin D. Much like the humans, mushrooms also create vitamin D when exposed to UV light. In fact, when humans eat 4 or 5 mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light they can get their daily requirement of the sunshine vitamin. Bright idea!

2. Potassium, not just in banana’s. One large portabella has more potassium than a banana. Not to mention is a good source of riboflavin, niacin, copper, pantothenic acid and selenium. What a superfood!

3. Fresh Canadian mushrooms are grown 24/7/365. That’s right! Because mushrooms are grown indoors, on farms they are available fresh every day of the year. The only day a mushroom farm shuts down is Christmas.

4. Mushroom Umami could replace salt. Mushrooms have this fabulous naturally occurring glutamate in them which makes the foods they are served with taste better – so skip on the salt and add some sautéed mushrooms!

5. Mushrooms taste great!

Ok, ok, that was more or less 4 things you didn’t know about mushrooms because I am positive that everybody knows they taste good! 🙂

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Do you have a question about mushrooms that you need answered? Ask away!