This rich pot pie is filled with carrots, celery, peas and four types of mushroom. To top this pie, you have a variety of options depending on your taste or try them all.
You can’t go wrong with mushrooms. They’re fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, and cholesterol-free. They’re also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The nutritional benefits, though, will vary depending on the type of mushroom you choose.
Mushrooms bring a savory flavor to meals without adding much fat, calories or sodium. But the health benefits don’t stop there. Researchers continue to uncover how mushrooms can ward off chronic disease and improve your everyday health.
Mushrooms Instead of Meat
Earthy and savory, mushrooms are an incredibly versatile ingredient. Mushroom varieties like shiitake, King oyster (or smaller oyster mushrooms), and portobello are full of hearty, earthy flavors that do wonders in so many dishes, especially as a protein-rich meat substitute for vegetarian and vegan diets.
Without a doubt, mushrooms are a good meat substitute. These little miracles surpass meat in many ways and, best yet, they can be comparable in “meatiness” as a base for many dishes.
Why are Mushrooms Good for You?
Mushrooms are a very healthy food and could have medicinal properties, because they are good sources of protein, B-vitamins, fiber, immune-enhancing sugars found in the cell walls called beta-glucans, and other bioactive compounds. Mushrooms have been used as food and sometimes as medicine.
Mushrooms contain macronutrients that support a healthy immune system. According to the Mushroom Council, your immune system will benefit from mushrooms whose nutrients include:
- Selenium, which helps your body make antioxidant enzymes to prevent cell damage. Choose cremini or portabella mushrooms for the most benefit.
- Vitamin D, which assists with cell growth, boosts immune function and reduces inflammation. Maitake mushrooms offer an easy way to add vitamin D to your diet.
- Vitamin B6, which helps your body form red blood cells, proteins and DNA. Shiitake mushrooms are the best choice for vitamin B6.
Agaricus bisporus is a family of fungi that produces three different types of the healthiest mushrooms for your diet - White Button, Cremini, and Portobello. They start out as White Button mushrooms and then grow to become beige-colored Cremini mushrooms. Leave them in the ground for longer and you will have a harvest of Portobello mushrooms on your plate.
Due to their exposure to UV rays or sunlight, mushrooms are a natural, non-animal source of vitamin D2 that’s capable of increasing blood levels of this vitamin as effectively as a supplement — and white mushrooms are no exception. Your body turns vitamin D2 into the active form of vitamin D, which it needs to absorb calcium and keep your bones healthy.
Agaricus mushrooms contain chemicals that might improve the body's use of insulin and decrease insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes. Some developing research also suggests it might be able to strengthen the immune system, fight tumor development, and work as an antioxidant.
Buying and Storage Tips
When choosing your mushrooms, make sure they feel firm, aren’t moist to the touch, and are mold-free. Brush the dirt off and rinse them lightly when you’re ready to use them.
Mushrooms should be refrigerated until use, but ideally within one week. Do not wash or clean them until just before using. Storing in a brown paper bag with the top open will help to absorb moisture and keep them from spoiling, as opposed to tight plastic wrapping that traps moisture. Because they are about 80-90% water, mushrooms do not freeze well, becoming mushy when defrosted.
Add in White Potatoes
Potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which make them a very healthy addition to this recipe. Several studies have linked potatoes and their nutrients to a variety of impressive health benefits, including improved blood glucose control, reduced heart disease risk, and higher immunity. They may also improve digestive health and combat signs of aging.
Potatoes are also quite filling, which means they may help you lose weight by curbing hunger pains and cravings. One large baked russet potato has 8 grams of protein, or 14 percent of men's and 17 percent of women's daily allowances.
All in all, potatoes are a great addition to your diet in moderation. They are also naturally gluten-free, which means they can be enjoyed by almost everyone.
Mushroom Pot Pie
- 1 medium white potato peeled & diced
- 2 medium carrots finely chopped
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1/4 cup shallot sliced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 oyster mushrooms shredded
- 3 cremini mushrooms chopped
- 1 large portobello mushroom gills removed, and chopped
- 1/2 oz dried shitake mushrooms rehydrated
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp sage
- to taste black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 small potato sliced very thin
- Rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms according to the package.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large pot sauté the onion, shallot, celery, carrots, and garlic in a small amount of water or broth for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the diced potato and let cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth, and then turn heat down to medium heat. Add the peas, herbs and all the mushrooms in the pot and continue cooking on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Divide mixture into oven-proof bowls. Top the mixture with your chosen topping. (see note). Here we are using the potato that is thinly sliced. Place the thin slices on top of the vegetable mixture. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.