Five reasons to add mushrooms, and some great recipes


Mushrooms are a superfood, and one of the most health-promoting foods on the planet. Most edible mushrooms are considered functional foods, meaning that they have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. So, next time you’re in the fresh produce section of your local supermarket, pop a couple of punnets of mushrooms in your basket and add this healthy element to mealtimes.

1. Mushrooms contain good-for-your-bladder selenium and other important nntrients including B vitamins, potassium, copper and, like us, they produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
2. They’re low in calories and are great sources of fibre and protein which makes them ideal for those following a plant-based diet or trying to shake those unwanted kilos.
3. They boost your immune system. Studies have shown that eating mushrooms, particularly shitake mushrooms daily, improves your body’s immune system.
4. They’re great for gut health and can alter gut bacteria for the better.
5 Because they are packed with antioxidants, they may help you live a longer, healthier life. A diet rich in antioxidants protects cells from free radicals, helping the body copy with the normal oxidative stress that damages healthy cells.  The following mushrooms are just some of the varieties that have proven to have the most antioxidants:

  • Porcini
  • Oyster
  • Shiitake

Mushrooms are best stored unwashed in brown paper bags on the lowest shelf of the fridge. Alternatively, use a cloth bag or clean tea towel to wrap them in.

We’ve sourced some delicious and hearty mushroom recipes from the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association for you to try.

Spicy mushroom and bean chilli
You will need
10ml Olive oil
0.5 Large onion, chopped
1 Cloves of garlic, crushed
0.5 Green pepper, roughly chopped
200g White button mushrooms, halved
10ml Ground paprika
5ml Ground cumin
0.5 tsp Chilli powder (more if liked)
200mg Canned chopped tomatoes
10ml Tomato puree
200g Canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
A pinch of sugar
Salt and ground black pepper
Brown rice to serve

Heat the oil and sauté the onion for 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, pepper and mushrooms and sauté for a further 3 minutes until the mushrooms are tinged brown. Add the spices and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, puree, beans and sugar, then bring to the boil.  Season to taste, turn down to simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes or until thickened and reduced.
Serve hot with a cup of cooked brown rice per portion.

Mushroom & potato bake
Serves 4
You will need
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large potatoes
225 g white button mushrooms & 225g portabellini, chopped
1 tbsp dried herbs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250 ml low fat cream
15 ml corn flour or cake flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC, coat an oven proof dish well with butter or spray & cook spray.
Peel the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool down.
Thinly slice lice the potatoes and layer a quarter of the slices in the base of the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, and dot with bits of butter.
Arrange a quarter of the sliced mushrooms on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with some of the herbs, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Repeat the layering in the same order, finishing with a layer of potatoes.
Stir the corn flour into the cream until smooth. Season the cream lightly with salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes until the top is golden brown. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Best served with a crispy salad