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Different Ways to Cook with Mushrooms

Updated on May 14, 2013
Shitake mushrooms are just one variety made for cooking.
Shitake mushrooms are just one variety made for cooking. | Source

Cooking with Mushrooms

Just as there are many different kinds of mushrooms, there are also many ways that you can cook with mushrooms.

Mushrooms have some inherent health benefits and are one of the low-calorie, good-for-you foods that should be included in everyone's diet.

While most of us know a few ways to use mushrooms in cooking, you might be surprised to find there are many other ways you haven't thought of yet.

Use Mushrooms in Soups

Mushrooms, depending upon which variety you choose, add a distinctive though usually subtle flavor and texture to many soups.

Of course, you can go the traditional way and make mushroom soup or even make your own cream of mushroom soup.

With all the varieties of mushrooms available, try portobello mushroom soup or oyster mushroom soup for different flavors.

Mushroom soup aside, you can also add mushrooms to many other basic soups like chicken noodle soup, tomato soup or beef and barley soup. You can also add them to chowders and stews as a substitute for or in addition to other vegetables.

Use mushrooms that are clean and sliced when adding to soups and stews. You can also use dried mushrooms that will expand during cooking.

Try different kinds of mushrooms to see which goes best in which soup or stew.

Mushroom and barley soup is a favorite of many.
Mushroom and barley soup is a favorite of many. | Source

Pickle Some Mushrooms

Many people pickle mushrooms and find them a delectable addition to salads and dishes with rice or pasta.

Pickling usually involves sugar and red or white vinegar combinations. However, you can also use bottled salad dressings like French or Italian to give a unique flavor to the brine.

Lemon juice and wine can also be used for pickling and each will give the final product a different taste.

The use of herbs like oregano or red pepper flakes can give unique flavors to the mushrooms as they soak up the pickling juice.

Add other vegetables like onions, cauliflower, peppers, celery, eggplant, or other veggies you have on hand.

Mushrooms can be soaked in the brine and then turned into pint or quart jars and pickled in the standard fashion (be sure and consult canning guides to get it right.) If they are going to be used in the near future, pickle or marinate some fresh mushrooms overnight in the fridge and either pour off the liquid or use some of it in dishes and salads within two or three days.

Pickled mushrooms have a unique flavor.
Pickled mushrooms have a unique flavor. | Source

Use Mushrooms in Meat Dishes

One of this author's favorite meals is beef stroganoff and mushrooms are one of the star ingredients. I always use extra because I love the beef sauce mixed with mushrooms.

Another great way to use mushrooms is to chop them up super fine and substitute them for part of a recipe calling for bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or other "filler." For instance, chop mushrooms extra fine and combine them with meat, chicken, turkey, even beans to make burgers. They'll hold together well (especially if you use a little egg) and be more nutritious in the long run.

Use chopped mushrooms in spaghetti sauce or any sauce that could use some mushroom flavoring.

Dice them up and use inside meatloaf combined with your meat source--or dice them or slice them and place them on top of the meatloaf with a bit of tomato sauce or brown sauce.

Beef Stroganoff is a great way to get your mushrooms.
Beef Stroganoff is a great way to get your mushrooms. | Source

Pizza and Mushrooms

A no-brainer when it comes to pizza, mushrooms of different types can add wonderful flavor to pizzas and also make it look mouth watering.

Don't forget to include mushrooms in stuffed concoctions either like calzones or even empanadas.

Mushrooms add texture and complement other veggies whether on pizza or inside stromboli.

Mushroom pizza is delicious no matter how you slice it.
Mushroom pizza is delicious no matter how you slice it. | Source

Steak and Mushrooms

Another traditional food pairing, steak and mushrooms seem to go hand in hand. You can saute mushrooms in a little unsalted butter or olive oil and slide them on top of your steak when it comes off the grill.

A great way to prepare mushrooms for steak (or even other meat entrees) is to slice the mushrooms and cook them in port wine slowly. Simmer them just until tender and until the port reduces a bit.

Serve on prime rib instead of gravy or use on steaks. The port wine brings out the flavor of the mushrooms and also complements steak or other red meat entrees.

Saute the mushrooms in a white wine as above and use on chicken or pork instead of gravy.

Steak and mushrooms make a nice entree.
Steak and mushrooms make a nice entree. | Source

Use Mushrooms in Pasta & Rice Dishes

An excellent addition to any rice dish, experiment with different kinds of mushrooms to get a feel for their unique flavor.

This author adds diced mushrooms to brown rice along with diced celery and onion. I use chicken broth instead of water and this makes a pilaf-kind of rice dish with little effort. Add diced or chopped mushrooms to risotto along with some peas for a nutritious, delicious side dish or entree.

Use sliced mushrooms in stir-fry dishes with noodles but be sure to not let them cook too long or they become rubbery.

Add to pasta dishes like chicken alfredo or a homemade robust marinara sauce. Add chopped or diced mushrooms to lasagnas whether white or red sauce, meat or vegetarian such as eggplant dishes. Adding mushrooms not only adds flavor but they add texture to any dish.

Pasta with mushrooms is a great combo.
Pasta with mushrooms is a great combo. | Source

Make Up A Batch of Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a great way to use fresh mushrooms as an appetizer. You don't have to wait for a party though to make up a batch of stuffed mushrooms.

Stuff them with just about anything--from diced tomatoes or salsa to crab to cheese to spinach dip.

Depending on the size mushroom you have, fill accordingly. Check out the many recipes for stuffed mushrooms. The sky's the limit here and you can even create your own recipe like bruschetta stuffed mushrooms.

Stuffed mushrooms ready to go in the oven.
Stuffed mushrooms ready to go in the oven. | Source

Use Mushrooms in Stuffing Mixes

For a different kind of stuffing for pork, beef, chicken or even vegetables, try making up a batch of mushroom stuffing.

You basically make it the same way you would regular stuffing, adding ingredients to your personal taste. Usually you saute celery and onion in butter but for this stuffing, add in mushrooms. Add spices according to the meat you might be stuffing or eating the stuffing with and add vegetable, chicken or beef broth depending on the kind of meat. Add croutons and whatever else you might like in stuffing, such as walnuts or apples.

You can also use mushroom stuffing with fish. A whole salmon stuffed with mushroom stuffing makes a beautiful (and delicious) entree.

You can also substitute wine or other liquid such as broth for some of the butter. Be creative with mushrooms in creating your own kind of stuffing.

Stuffed pumpkin with mushroom dressing.
Stuffed pumpkin with mushroom dressing. | Source

Different Ways to Cook with Mushrooms

These are just a few of the many ways you can cook with mushrooms. Remember a few simple rules when cleaning them and you'll always have your recipes turn out perfect.

  • Add them to salads or use them raw with dips--just make sure they're clean
  • Never wash a mushroom! They soak up water and become mushy
  • Buy a small mushroom cleaning brush or wipe gently with a clean dish towel or paper towel
  • Grill big flat mushrooms gently and serve on the side or place on burgers
  • For a unique breakfast idea, cook mushrooms for several minutes depending on size, and serve with bacon, eggs and sausage
  • Use them in omelets, quiches and frittatas liberally

The mushroom is an amazing addition to many dishes. Think outside the box and use them to create favorite recipes.

Try pineapple portobello burgers.
Try pineapple portobello burgers. | Source

How to Clean, Stem & Cut Mushrooms


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