The current worldwide movement towards ethical and sustainable foods has caused many Americans to reduce the amount of animal products they consume. A poll conducted by Gallup in September 2019 found that nearly 1 in 4 Americans are making a conscious effort to eat less meat and choose more plant-based meals.
While reducing the meat in your diet is an admirable goal, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. It’s important to maintain proper nutrition, and you want to be sure your food still fills you up. Mushrooms are a great way to meet these needs without using meat. Many recipes for meatless meals count on gourmet mushrooms to provide flavor and substance instead of relying on beef, pork, or chicken. At R&R Cultivation, we’ve found that the outstanding flavor of gourmet mushrooms outweighs any FOMO from not eating meat.
Here’s why gourmet mushrooms appear in so many vegetarian recipes.
Mushrooms Can Be Grown Sustainably
One pound of beef takes about 2,500 gallons of water and 12 pounds of grain to produce. It is such a wasteful product that around 70% of all grain produced in the U.S. is used to feed beef cows! Mushrooms are far more sustainable to produce. They take up less space and can be grown more quickly while utilizing fewer natural resources. Estimates put the amount of water needed to produce a pound of mushrooms around one to two gallons, over a thousand times less than beef!
They Pack An Umami Punch
Umami is a type of flavor, just like salty or sweet. It is described as savory and mouth-coating, and it is most commonly associated with meats and broths. This can make it difficult to replicate umami with plant-based ingredients. Luckily, mushrooms are packed with umami. Their flavor is rich, earthy, and meaty, which makes them a great “dupe” for real meat flavors.
There’s Something for Everyone
No matter what kind of meat you’re trying to replace, there is a mushroom that will mimic it. Oyster mushrooms are viewed as a universal meat substitute since their somewhat fibrous texture easily mimics pulled pork, seafood, and chicken. Portobello mushrooms are often used as flavorful “patties” to create healthy plant-based burgers and sandwiches. And if you haven’t tried replacing some of the pork in your meatballs with ground shiitake mushrooms, give it a try! It will make the texture slightly less dense while still providing a substantial mouthfeel.
Mushrooms Are Healthy and Filling
Mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse. They’re low in fat, cholesterol, and calories, which many “flexitarians” are trying to avoid by eating less meat. Mushrooms are also a good source of natural antioxidants, and some are said to have medicinal benefits: they can improve cognitive health and support a healthy immune system.
Many of us have the same complaints about plant-based foods: they’re not filling, they’re flavorless, and we just don’t find them exciting. This isn’t the case with gourmet mushrooms! They’re more filling than a salad and have more flavor to boot. They also tend to feel less heavy in the stomach than meat, which makes them a perfect choice when you want to head out after dinner to enjoy the lovely Minnesota evening.
Are you ready to try R&R Cultivation’s gourmet, organic mushrooms as a meat substitute in your favorite dish? Or maybe you’d like to try one of the simple recipes on our website?