Fungi is a member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that prevail through every habitat on the planet. A whopping 145000 known species of the kingdom fungi can be single-celled or complex multicellular organisms which include yeasts, rusts, smuts, bacteria, viruses, algae, and protozoa. Neither a vegetable, nor a fruit, mushrooms are part of a wider fungi species that have deadly ones, but delicious ones as well. Fungi don’t always mean mushroom, but every mushroom is in fact some sort of fungi at different maturity stages. Among 350 edible species is one delectable variety called portobello mushroom. A mature form of edible fungus called Agaricus Bisporus, it includes button portobello and cremini mushrooms. While we assume these mushrooms are all completely different versions, in fact, they are all the same. Button mushroom is young and less mature, with another middle cousin called cremini followed by the elderly portobello mushroom. As they mature, they lose their water content, making the oldest one, aka portobello most flavorful and nutty.
Popularly known as portabellini, cremini or baby bella, the largest, darkest brown, and most mature form of the clan, also called portabella in some countries, this meaty and densely textured mushroom comes with a dusky dark brown cap. Under its cap are distinctive brown or black gills and a soft woody stem that we know as portobello. It grows up to six inches in diameter and is bright brown in colour. Succulent and soft, with a fleshy middle, portobello has a less spongy texture than button mushrooms, can be stuffed with some ingredient, grilled as a stand-alone side dish, baked as a pasta dish, or can be made into a portobello mushroom burger.
Replete with bountiful health and wellness benefits, portabella is a powerhouse of nutrients as well as a bundle of bioactive compounds like polysaccharides, polyphenols, and carotenoids, boasting of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties that successfully stimulate immune cells and stops the spread of cancer cells to the body.
Nutritional Content Of Portobello
When it comes to knocking our taste buds, nothing can beat mushrooms. Savored very well in the culinary world for ages, when we speak about their nutritional content, every mushroom excels on that front as well. Portobello mushroom has been blessed with a humongous nutritional profile. Low in calories, easy to digest, nutrient-dense, and very filling, no one says no to a delicious bowl of portobello. A single serving of 2 big sized portobello mushrooms has 38 calories, about 7 mg of niacin, which makes up for half of your needs for the day, just about 5 grams of carbohydrates, a good 4 grams of protein, and less than half a gram of fat. Eating 2 portobello mushrooms will make up for your potassium intake by about 600- 700 milligrams, which covers 12 to 14 percent of your daily needs.
Where Can you Find Portobello Mushrooms?
A versatile veggie for every kind of cooking, you can find most mushrooms across the world although mountainous regions tend to have more. Portabella in specific, are native to Italy and has been cultivated in Europe and Italy since ancient times. Because of its Italian origin, this mushy mushroom gets its name from 'Portobello', a town in Italy. With their growing popularity, this mushroom is available in all supermarkets.
What Makes Portobello Super Special?
Here is why this variety stands out in comparison to its other mushroom cousins:
Filled With Umami Flavour
Portobello mushrooms have an earthy and brothy flavor. It is perhaps a combination of a few flavors also known as Umami. The fifth element of taste after sweet, salty, bitter, and sour, umami flavor comes from a type of amino acid called glutamate, which is naturally present in mushrooms. In portobello mushrooms, the umami flavor is quite intense as compared to other varieties. This aroma along with its meaty, mushy texture, makes it a useful meat substitute.
Laden With Micronutrients
Portobello's best health benefits come from its high micronutrient content profile. It contains a wealth of essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, and much more, you name it and portobello has it in significant amounts.
Contains Vitamin D
Besides sunlight, fortified milk, and fish oil, mushrooms are the only source of Vitamin D, which is what makes them unique as compared to other foods. With their potential to absorb Vitamin D, some sun grown mushrooms such as portobello have ample Vitamin D that fills up our daily recommended allowance.
Great Source Of B Vitamins
Portobellos are an excellent source of B vitamins that help the body break down carbohydrates into sugar for fuel. Moreover, portobello also contains riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid which augments heart health and reduces risk of heart attacks. Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin. Pantothenic acid is good for the nervous system and helps the body produce hormones for several bodily functions.
Loaded With Potassium
Potassium is extremely important when it comes to heart, muscle, and nerve function. Portobello's have more amount of potassium than a regular serving of banana which makes it super special. Together with sodium and sufficient amounts of calcium, it helps our nerves send signals to muscle cells in a timely manner to aid healthy cognitive functions.
Contains Beta Glucan
Beta glucans have the capacity to provide support for the immune system and improve heart health. Beta glucan is a form of soluble dietary fiber that’s been strongly linked to improving cholesterol levels in the body. It can also help your body regulate blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Raw, mature portabellas contain the highest level of beta-glucan besides shiitake mushrooms.
Portobello Health Benefits
Portobello gained popularity in the west and has now become a superfood across the globe for its ability to fight many chronic ailments. It reduces the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as Alzheimer's, heart diseases, diabetes, and many forms of cancers such as stomach, breast, and colon cancer. The antioxidant content makes it amazing to keep the immunity levels high. This also keeps all bacterial and viral infections at bay.
How to Cook Portobello Mushrooms?
As compared to its counterparts, portobello is giant sized and this is one fabulous reason it is relished by many food lovers across the world. Portobello mushrooms can be prepared in several ways. The caps of portobello are grilled and added to other sandwiches or hollowed out to be stuffed and baked. Portobello's are also shredded and used as pizza toppings. They can also be finely chopped and used in portobello pasta, risottos, and stir-fries. The stems are woody in nature, so they work best for making stock. A lot of people also like to eat raw portobello or after giving a mild boil to them to retain and get the best of the umami flavour.
A truly fascinating superfood, portobello has a variety of uses as a starter, side, main course, salads, and of course soup. Complementing a fry-up or being the key ingredient in some delicious delicacy, we bring you super sumptuous recipes of one of the most favourite foods in the world. Add portobellos to your favorite stir fry and use them as a topping for your favourite pizza, there is a lot of fun you can have with these super nutty good fungi!
Vegan Portobello Mushroom Curry
2 large onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 pieces ginger
Handful of mint leaves
Handful of coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
500 grams portobello mushrooms
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground whole spices
500 grams whole tomatoes
2 green chillies
Add the onion, garlic, chili, ginger, mint, and coriander leaves to a blender and chop them finely
In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil, and roast the cumin seeds and mustard seeds until fragrant
Add the onion mix and saute well
In a separate frying pan, heat some olive oil on high heat
Pan fry the mushrooms in batches until they just start to turn light brown
Transfer them into the pan with the spices and onion mixture
Keep that pan on low heat throughout
Once all the mushrooms are added, stir the turmeric and grated spices
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes
Garnish with some coriander leaves and serve hot
This mushroom curry in a rich tomato sauce offers a good amount of antioxidants and vitamins that avert the risk of cancer and heart disease. Mushrooms loaded with proteins and other essential nutrients help to optimize overall health. The best part of this recipe is that this is a nutritious and vegan option.
Easy Portobello Mushroom Soup
2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large white onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup almond milk (optional)
2 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
Salt to taste
In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat and add onion and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent
Add sliced mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, stirring often
Add vegetable stock and bring to boil, and simmer for 15-20 minutes
Add thyme and salt to taste
For Creamier Version:
Mix almond milk and 2 tbsp cornstarch until combined
Add to the soup, stirring continuously. Simmer for a few minutes as the soup slightly thickens