By Mike Thayer
Mushrooms are an excellent add to the Carb-Check Diet because they are so versatile and the carb count is almost negligible. One cup of mushrooms (pieces/sliced) has anywhere from 2-5 grams of protein and just 2-5 grams in carbs, depending on the variety.
You can grill them, saute them, stir-fry them, bake them, deep-fry them or eat them raw. Include them in any number of dishes, soups, salads, casseroles, create some great appetizers or make them the main dish.
The flavors range from bland, to nutty, to beefy. White Button mushrooms for example are considered somewhat bland in flavor, but that's actually a good thing, because they can take on just about any flavor you decide to add to them. They're great in salads for that very reason, they provide a nice texture contrast to lettuce and really absorb and enhance the flavors in the salad dressing. Paired with a steak, button mushrooms embrace the steak's juices and steak sauce. And speaking of steak, Shiitake and Portabello mushrooms deliver an almost beefy flavor and can be main dishes.
Bonus: Mushrooms are reasonably priced too! You can get an 8 ounce package of white button or "baby bella" mushrooms for less than $3 and you can get two meals out of that.
Here's a go-to recipe for me, especially during grilling season:
Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello Mushrooms (yes, the big ones) are indeed the 'steak' of veggies, one of the few veggies that can be made into a meal of its own and one of the few veggies that can handle being in a marinade for hours to take on added flavor without turning to mush.
- 4 mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon steak sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Place the mushrooms in a large Ziplock bag, set aside. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, pour over the mushrooms and marinade in the fridge for at least two hours. When the coals are hot, place mushrooms over direct heat, gill side down, reserve the marinade for basting. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning every two minutes and basting. Despite the marinade, mushrooms can dry out, hence, the basting. Serve immediately. These are excellent served as a side, sliced up and enjoyed. They're also fantastic served on a bun with lettuce and tomato like a burger.