>Since I can remember, I’ve always been in love with mushrooms. I could literally eat them every day (and sometimes I do). Until a few years ago, I only liked mushrooms because of their taste and texture (and as a child to emulate Alice in Wonderland). Then I read some great news: mushrooms are full of vital nutrients that help us stay healthy. They provide natural antioxidants that are similar to the antioxidants found in tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots. Mushrooms also contain potassium (which helps control blood pressure, and also helps muscles and nerves function properly), and copper (helps produce red blood cells). Some varieties of mushrooms also contain phosphorus, which helps generate energy and is also essential for strong bones and teeth. On top of all of the above mentioned health benefits, mushrooms are also packed with Vitamin D and a few B Vitamins. Did you ever know?

I eat mushrooms in all kinds of ways, but my favorite may be just eating them raw or in a salad. If you’ve never cooked with mushrooms, you may find that they are a healthy option as a meat substitute (due to their hearty texture), if you’re looking to cut back on some calories and fat.

Want to try cooking with mushrooms? This recipe is from the hilarious Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. (Disclaimer: If the title didn’t give it away, this book is great, but has some crude language. Not for kids.)

Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes 20 mushrooms

– 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (olive oil would also work)
– 20 large (2 to 2 1/2 inches across) white mushrooms
– 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
– 1 shallot, finely diced
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
– 6 tablespoons whole wheat seasoned or Italian bread crumbs (it may be healthier to make your own, rather than using store-bought)
– 6 tablespoons vegan Parmesan cheese (my fave is Vegan Gourmet mozzarella)
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
– 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large, rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pull the stems from the mushroom caps; set stems aside. Arrange the caps, stem sides down, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until they leak liquid, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. While the caps are baking, finely chop the stems.Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper, shallot, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl to cool slightly, then stir in the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Turn the mushroom caps over and spoon in the filling, pressing gently and slightly mounding it. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is browned, about 20 minutes.

P.S. If you haven’t already heard, Tim Burton is directing a new “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010. Can’t wait!

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