Why you should be using more mushrooms in your meals.
There's something so delicious and hearty about cooking with mushrooms. Maybe it's the unusual umami (pronounced oo-marmy) flavour they exude that's a little earthy and very savoury. Or their distinctive aroma and mouthfeel that makes them so satisfying and versatile at the same time.
For those choosing a plant-based diet, mushrooms are a must, but they can also blend beautifully with meat to enhance the "meaty" flavour. On their own mushrooms are little powerhouses of flavour but added to meat they can transform even the most ordinary dish.
Enter the Big Blend by Meadow Mushrooms. An innovative and simple technique that lets you have your meat and eat it too. If you're looking to eat less meat, then the Big Blend is an uncomplicated way to do that. When cooking a classic recipe using mince, try substituting half the meat for mushrooms. Just chop your mushrooms, either by hand or in the blender, to match the consistency of the mince, blend them with the meat and cook according to the recipe.
When you blend with mushrooms you add potassium, Vitamin D, B Vitamins and other important vitamins and nutrients for overall health. Make a simple Bolognese sauce with a blend of minced meat and chopped mushrooms and you will reduce the calories, the sodium and the fat compared to cooking with just mince. You will also add lots of extra flavour in the process, without overwhelming with mushroom flavour either.
Blending also provides good value. The NZ Nutrition Foundation has calculated the average saving is 14% when you cook with a 50:50 blend of mushrooms with meat rather than using meat alone. Alternatively, using the same quantity of mince you usually do and then adding chopped mushrooms, will make the food go further. That means possibly creating another meal, or simply enjoying leftovers, the next day.
Mushrooms are one of the most sustainably produced foods, using less water, and land to grow compared to meat production and the used compost goes back to the land to grow organic matter for future compost. Meadow Mushrooms are also grown right here in New Zealand.
Blending really does make it better. Try using the Big Blend anywhere you would use mince and enjoy meals that are made more nutritious, delicious and sustainable with the addition of mushrooms.Once you blend, you’ll believe.
Big Blend Bolognese Sauce Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped or grated
1 celery stick, finely chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
500g 50/50 Meadow Mushrooms & beef mince blend
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
To serve: your favourite pasta
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the garlic, onions, carrot and celery with a sprinkle of salt, for 8 minutes until soft.
2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
3. Finely chop the mushrooms (or blitz in the blender) to replicate mince, then add to the pan with the mince, raise the heat a little, and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, water and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.
5. To serve: your favourite pasta
Top Tip: Turn this into a lasagne in just a couple of easy extra steps. Find the recipe here.