This Mediterranean Roasted Mushroom Risotto is a celebratory dish! For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean Diet comes out on top for the best diet to follow according to the U.S. News and World Report. At McDaniel Nutrition, we support both the diet pattern and lifestyle habits from this way of eating. So much so, we wrote a cookbook about it!
The Mediterranean Pattern of Eating
Following the Mediterranean diet means you’ll be eating lots of plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and legumes. It also includes judicious amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Protein-rich foods include fish and seafood with moderate amounts of dairy. And, while meat is included, it is used more as a condiment compared to being the star of plate.
Quality Over Quantity
The Mediterranean diet focuses more simple menu ideas that use high-quality, whole-food ingredients compared to complicated recipes. We agree, so this week’s Mediterranean recipe is a true short-cut. We used Trader Joe’s Mushroom Risotto as a base and increased the plant to rice ratio by adding roasted mushrooms and fresh parsley. Mediterranean recipes use LOTS of herbs and spices. You won’t be wasting fresh herbs because the recipe called for 1 Tablespoon of parsley. In this recipe, we used 1 cup chopped!
Mushrooms are a nutrient powerhouse; high in fiber, vitamins (potassium, B-vitamins) and antioxidants. AND, did you know, they’re the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle? To be fair, they often don’t get the credit they deserve. Studies have shown that mushrooms can improve immune system function and reduce the symptoms that cancer patients experience during treatment. In addition to nutrition, they’re versatile in the kitchen. Due to their meat-like density and texture; they can be used as a meat substitute or meat extender. Replacing part of the meat of a product with mushrooms can increase fiber and vitamins while simultaneously reducing fat and sodium!
Maximizing Mushroom Power
Now that we know the amazing benefits of these mushrooms, how do we make sure we preserve those nutrients? Studies have shown boiling and frying to be the least desirable methods of cooking mushrooms; the nutrients often leak into the water or the oil during cooking. Grilling and microwaving were found to be the best cooking methods. They even increased antioxidant levels in some mushrooms. Using a small amount of oil won’t hurt when grilling or pan frying so don’t be afraid to drizzle a little olive oil for a delicious taste combination!
Check out last week’s McDaniel’s Short-Cut: Spicy Cottage Cheese Toast