Monday, February 27, 2012

Mushroom Nutrition + Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup

Lately, there's been a large emphasis on functional foods in the media.  Dietitians are preaching "Eat the Rainbow," meaning one should incorporate fruits and vegetables of all colors into the diet in order to diverse antioxidant consumption.  This article goes out to the white produce who is too often overlooked.  Don't discount onions, garlic, cauliflower, parsnips, and mushrooms- they might not be colorful but are great sources of nutrients!
For more on white produce, check out this informative video by Jill Weisenberger, RD.

Let's focus on mushrooms for a bit.  Technically a fungus, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional benefits of produce and also have attributes in common with meat.  This makes them extremely versatile in recipes.  Mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked into a favorite dish.  They make a great beef substitute because of their "meaty" texture.  Mushrooms are low in calories and sodium, fat-free, and are rich in selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D.

Mushrooms make it into many of my dinners.  They are super easy to throw into a sauce, stir-fry, quiche, or soup.  I made a big pot of this soup a few weeks ago and it was savory and filling.  It's absolutely a meal on its own due to the barley and meat.  Plus, it's filled with nutritious veggies like carrots and onions.  I recommend freezing any leftovers into quart containers for food-safe reheating.  Hope you enjoy!

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

1 T olive oil
1 lb stew meat
1 lb onions, chopped (1 large or 3 small)
3 carrots, diced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
8 cups beef broth (use low sodium if available)
3 cups water
1 c barley
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried parsley
¼ t pepper
2 dashes hot sauce

Trim visible fat from meat and cut into small pieces.
Brown meat in stock pot in olive oil
Add onions and mushrooms and sauté for 10 min
Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer, loosely covered, for 2 hours.
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