Saturday, January 9, 2010

Criminy! Mushrooms!

For lunch, I made a delicious and easy pasta featuring crimini mushrooms.

Ingredients (for two servings):
olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced (I used a bag from Trader Joe's)
parmesan cheese
fresh basil, chopped (or other herb of choice)
whole-wheat pasta

Prepare 2 servings of pasta. At the same time, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the garlic for a couple minutes until it barely starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is done and you're really hungry. (The mushrooms will release a lot of water, so a large frying pan is needed so that the water can boil off more easily and you're not left with soup.) Mix the mushrooms and pasta and divide into two bowls. Grate parmesan cheese over the top, to taste, and toss in some fresh basil.

You'll hear a lot that mushrooms are great for vegetarians because of the protein content. This is only half true. Checking out both my nutrition textbook and a nutritional data website gives us some numbers. Mushrooms are mostly carbohydrates and protein, with a small amount of fat, and traces of minerals. The protein that is present is good for vegetarians because it contains all the essential amino acids. However, with only 2-3 grams of protein per serving, you'd have to eat a lot of mushrooms to reach your RDA, if fungi are all you consume.

Since you know that it's good to have moderation in all things, these tasty little fungus fruits are a great inclusion in the balanced vegetarian diet, and come in a number of varieties to suit any recipe and taste.

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