Want to start making more earth-friendly food choices in the kitchen? This Earth Month, start with mushrooms, a healthy food that requires minimal natural resources to produce.
According to a 2017 study titled "The Mushroom Sustainability Story," mushroom production requires relatively low water, energy and land space. Growing one pound of mushrooms involves using only 1.8 gallons of water and 1.0 kilowatt hours of energy and generates only 0.7 pounds of CO2-equivalent emissions. And since mushrooms are grown on vertically stacked beds, it's possible to grow up to 1 million pounds of mushrooms per acre annually.
Mushrooms' environmental footprint is just one reason to add them to your shopping list. They are full of health benefits, including B vitamins, copper, potassium and riboflavin. They are also low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free and low in sodium.
"There's no doubt that mushrooms are having a moment — they are popping up on food trends lists across the nation, and for good reason," says celebrity chef Jehangir Mehta, owner of Graffiti Earth Restaurant and 'New York City's Most Sustainable Chef,' according to Michelin. "The deliciousness of mushrooms coupled with its nutritious and gentle footprint on the environment attributes itself as a sustainable winner."
So, if you want a simple, easy and healthy way to be more earth-friendly in your kitchen, make mushrooms a part of your favorite dishes for Earth Month and every month.
Marinated Mushroom Bowls with Lentils and Wild Rice
This meal-in-a-bowl is full of bright flavors and delicious textures. A mix of crimini mushrooms are marinated in an Asian-inspired dressing and paired with hearty grains and lentils alongside crunchy vegetables.
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
* 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
* 2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
* 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
* 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
* 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* Pinch of salt
* 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
* 2 cups cooked French lentils
* 1 cup cooked wild rice
* Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, black sesame seed, lime wedges
1. To marinate the mushrooms, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili oil in a shallow bowl. Stir in the green onion, cilantro and sesame seeds. Add the mushrooms and gently toss in the marinade. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
2. Place the cabbage in a bowl and toss with the lime juice and pinch of salt. Set aside.
3. Stir in 1 teaspoon of soy sauce each to the lentils and the wild rice.
4. To service, arrange an equal amount of mushrooms, cabbage, lentils, wild rice and cucumbers in each bowl. Drizzle with any remaining marinade and garnish with cilantro, green onions and black sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy room temperature or cold. Makes 4 servings.