Shittake mushroom "bacon," an even-meatier bolognese sauce, and more super-cool ways you never thought of using 'shrooms
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Linda Pugliese

Mushrooms are kind of a perfect food. They're rich and meaty, so they taste indulgent; they're amazingly versatile; and they've got serious nutrition perks. In one study, people who ate shiitake mushrooms daily for a month had stronger immune systems. But you don't have to seek out only this exotic type: Research shows that the antioxidant levels of the common button mushrooms are just as high. So get creative. To start you off, here are three ideas from chefs who love 'shrooms.

Replace Half the Meat in Your Bolognese


The next time you make a meaty sauce, use a mix of ground grass-fed beef (which is naturally leaner) and chopped creminis. The mushrooms actually enhance the flavor of the sauce, adding an earthiness and a deep, savory quality, while having a similar texture and mouthfeel to ground beef. You can use this technique in burgers, meatballs, and tacos too.

Source: Chef Linton Hopkins of Holeman and Finch Public House in Atlanta

Enrich Your Morning Oatmeal


Toast steel-cut oats in butter or olive oil for about three minutes. Then, following package directions, cook oats in water with a pinch of salt, stirring often. Season with red or white miso, and top with button mushrooms sautéed in sesame oil with a splash of soy sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and snipped green onions. (For more savory oats, check out these 16 savory oatmeal recipes.)

Source: Tara O'Brady, the author of Seven Spoons cookbook

Make Vegan "Bacon"


Slice shiitake mushrooms a quarter-inch thick, and toss with olive oil and sea salt. Spread the pieces on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake in a 350-degree oven. Check on them every five minutes, and rotate the pan if one side is cooking faster than the other. Remove mushrooms from the oven when they're crispy and golden brown and reduced in size by about half (approximately 15 minutes). Use them in place of bacon on a BLT, as a garnish on a pasta dish, or crumbled on top of sautéed vegetables.

Source: Chef Chloe Coscarelli of By Chloe in New York City