Mushrooms can be more than just a pizza topping. They’re also a healthy, hearty substitute for carbs and meat, and they can supersize your portions! By replacing high-calorie foods and creating extra-large servings without extra-large calorie counts, mushrooms can help you lose weight. Here are my favorite ways to work mushrooms into my diet.
Make Mushrooms a Starch Swap
Mushrooms are the perfect replacement for sandwich bread or hamburger buns; just bake or grill, blot dry, and layer with sandwich goodies.
But those aren’t the only carbs mushrooms can eliminate. How about pasta? Slice and layer mushrooms for a noodle-less lasagna! Love pizza, but not the high-calorie carby crust? Make these mini pizza pies with portabellas on the bottom—it’s a winning low-carb pizza trick!
1/2 of recipe (1 pizza-bella): 118 calories, 4.75g total fat (2g sat fat), 487mg sodium, 7.5g carbs, 1.75g fiber, 3g sugars, 11.5g protein
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. Break 2 sticks of light string cheese into thirds and place in a blender or food processor. Blend at high speed until shredded. Alternatively, you can pull into shreds and roughly chop.
3. Place 2 large portabella mushroom caps (stems chopped and reserved) on the baking sheet, rounded sides down. Bake until slightly tender, about 8 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic, and a dash of Italian seasoning.
5. Blot away excess moisture from mushroom caps. Top with seasoned tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese. Top with chopped mushroom stems, 4 slices each chopped turkey pepperoni, and 1 tablespoon each sliced black olives.
7. Bake until mushrooms are tender, the filling is hot, and cheese has melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
Bulk Up Meaty Meals and Make Hearty Meat Swaps
Larger portions? Yes, please! Add mushrooms to any traditional meat dish to supersize the serving. Feed your whole family and enjoy leftovers for days. With an add-in this good, who wouldn’t want more servings?
Whip up a steak stir-fry, heavy on the sliced brown mushrooms. Make a steak quesadilla heartier by adding slices of portabella. Bulk up some beef chili with chopped creminis. Add extra filling to your tacos with sautéed chopped brown mushrooms.
Tip: When it comes to the meat itself, keep it lean or extra lean. Want to forgo the beef altogether? Do it! Mushrooms are meaty enough. Add them to a vegetarian stew for satisfying texture and serving size. Mushrooms are also a fantastic meat alternative in fajitas and tacos. Sautéed mushrooms and melty cheese—what could be better? How about a portabella burger?
Hungry Mac ‘Bella Stack Burger
Entire recipe: 234 calories, 2g total fat (0g sat fat), 946mg sodium, 45g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 12g sugars, 14.5g protein
1. To make the sauce, combine 1 1/2 tablespoon fat-free Thousand Island dressing, 1 teaspoon finely minced onion (or 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion), 1/8 teaspoon granulated white sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon white wine vinegar. Mix thoroughly.
2. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Place 2 portabella mushroom caps in the skillet, rounded sides down. Cover and cook until soft, about 4 minutes per side.
3. Spread the bottom of a small light hamburger bun with half of the sauce. Top with 2 tablespoons shredded lettuce, 1 slice fat-free American cheese (feel free to use reduced-fat!), 1 mushroom cap, and 1/2 tablespoon diced onion.
4. Spread remaining half of the sauce on another bun bottom and place it on the sandwich, sauce side up. Top with 3 hamburger dill pickle chips, 2 tablespoons shredded lettuce, remaining mushroom cap, and 1/2 tablespoon diced onion.
5. Add hamburger bun top, and enjoy!
Make an Edible Bowl
Most people have heard of stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer—but how about a meal? By using a mushroom as the base, you’ll make your meal more substantial and more satisfying.
Bake portabella mushroom caps until tender and blot dry. Then fill with tuna and top with cheese for a fun spin on the classic tuna melt.
How about cheeseburger stuffed mushrooms? It’s like an inside-out burger! Stuff them with scrambled egg whites for a veggie twist on a breakfast bowl. Get creative and stuff them any way you like!