Eat more shitakes! Shitake and Pesto Toast

1:07 PM

First, let me just say this: OHMYGOSH GRAD SCHOOL!

Its been a ride and one that's had me thinking a lot about what it takes to stay sane and healthy in the midst of crazy, reinvigorating my obsession with health, nutrition, and the small things we can do each day to feel as strong as possible.

Being a poor student also brings a heightened level of concern with how to achieve this as cheaply as possible and I plan to orient this space towards delicious, health-promoting, and affordable power foods.

A new discovery for me has been shitake mushrooms.

They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to improve overall health and increase circulation and recent studies show that they may inhibit the growth of tumors and viruses (like the flu!) in our bodies.*

Shitakes also contain more iron per ounce than red meat and if you are like me and don't eat a ton of meat this makes them extra exciting. Having sufficient iron levels is absolutely essential for maintaining energy and focus.

And have I mentioned that they are oh so delicious? Rich and meaty tasting, shitakes are regarded as one of the most umami of all foods. When cooked, they taste like bacon!

Shitakes can be a bit expensive when compared to other, less-nutrient-dense mushrooms, but it doesn't take many of them to pack in a ton of flavor.

My favorite thing is to add them to things I'm already making, like a piece of pesto toast with feta:

Remove the stems from the mushrooms (saving to make a bodacious stock), slice the caps, and then fry in olive or coconut oil over med-low heat until crisp-chewy, between 5-8 minutes. Slather a piece of toast with pesto, sprinkle on some feta and the crisp shitakes. Yum.

Other ideas for crisp-fried shitakes: Throw them into stir fries at the last minute, top pizzas with them, use as garnishes for soups and salads, add to any egg situation (they do taste like bacon!), make a faux BLT using these little gems for the bacon, or just shove them in your mouth because they are really that great.

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