This week's Health & Nutrition Bite: Mushrooms vs. meat

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

I love mushrooms. With only about 15 calories per cup, they're a good source of fiber and are also a good source of Vitamin D, selenium, and folate (especially important for women of child-bearing age). The best part? They're cheaper than the same amount of beef (for an upcoming recipe I paid $1.50 for 4 ounces of crimini mushrooms and $1.99 for the same amount of 90% lean ground beef) with just as much umami flavor.

The James Beard Foundation is capitalizing on the umami flavor and cheaper price of mushrooms by sponsoring a competition, The Blended Burger Project, challenging chefs to create burgers made with a combination of ground meat and mushrooms. Their point is that those burgers made with mushrooms and meat are just as tasty as those of meat alone, but are cheaper and better for you.

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, with funding from the Mushroom Council, compared the effects of eating mushrooms or beef on folks' feelings of satiety and their overall caloric intake. Mushrooms vs. meat »

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Featured Recipes

Pasta with Tomato Caraway Sauce

Pasta with Tomato Caraway Sauce recipe from Dr. Gourmet

This is a simple tomato sauce made so much better by the toasted caraway seeds. They bring a warm, savory flavor to the sauce and the key to this dish is in toasting the ground caraway first, then slow cooking the sauce so that it thickens. As the sauce reduces, the flavor of the caraway intensifies. You can serve this over any pasta you like: penne, shells, spaghetti.... Serve with a green salad on the side for a perfect meal.

White Bean White Fish Salad

I had a beautiful piece of amberjack and wanted to make a salad out of it. It's not a white white fish like, say, cod, but when I was thinking about it I wanted to see if I could riff on the whitefish salads that I ate in New York delis growing up. Those salads are made with smoked fish, and just a bit of the smoked paprika adds the smoky flavor but the fish is fresh and flaky. The dill pickle, dill, mustard, and sour cream round all of that out for a fresh, creamy salad. The caraway seed seals the deal with that slight hint of a rye bread flavor.

Black Bean and Black Quinoa Salad

The black quinoa salad is a terrific summer salad with flavors from a Peruvian dish that I love, with cumin, paprika, soy sauce, garlic, and cilantro. Cooking the quinoa with the spices will infuse the flavors better than adding them straight to the salad bowl after the quinoa is cooked. The green sauce is milder than the version that I make to go on Peruvian Chicken and if you want this spicier you can use that recipe.