Shitake mushrooms are in season and sensational, and not just for their delectable flavor either. Shitakes are actually used as an anti-cancer drug in Japan and sanctioned for this purpose by their FDA.
Key among the list of Shitake healing properties is their ability to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. They powerful antioxidant properties that help the body fight the damage of free radicals, are known to reduce inflammation and offer lots of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Health benefits aside, these super shrooms make such a wonderful meat substitute, my 7 year old has been known to chirp “Yay, mushrooms”! when I serve them for dinner. Meatless Monday or any day, here’s an easy and delicious way to prepare them.
Shitake Spinach Saute over Polenta
- 2 cups of organic corn polenta (often available in bulk at health-conscious grocery stores)
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- ½ lb. shitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
- ¼ lb or 2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed (whole or chopped)
- 1 small red onion, sliced or 1 cup of chopped green onions
- 2 tbsps. Bragg’s liquid amino acids
- 2 tbsps. Marsala cooking wine or any sweet white wine (optional)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder to taste
- Creamy cashew butter (optional)*
Basic Polenta Preparation
Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt and slowly pour in the 2 cups of polenta, stirring constantly with a fork to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to gentle simmer, stirring for an additional 2 minutes. Cover and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Mushroom Saute Preparation
Melt coconut oil in large sauté pan. Add mushrooms and onion, sauté on high heat for 2-3 minutes, until onions become translucent. Add Braggs, Marsala and spinach, sauté for several minutes longer until spinach is wilted (or thoroughly cooked). Finish with seasonings, add cashew butter if preferred, and serve.
Creamy Cashew Butter
- 2 cups raw cashews, whole or pieces, pre-soaked for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours)
- ¼ tsp. salt
Blend cashews with ½ cup water and salt until silky smooth. Use as a base for curry cream sauce, Thai coconut sauce, or any other “cream” based concoction you come up with.v