Mushrooms are an ingredient that tends to go with just about any meal. They have a unique flavor that compliments most foods, making it one of the most popular vegetables around.
There are several different ways to cook mushrooms, but for the most part they are cooked with oil.
However, if you aren’t a fan of oil, you may be left wondering what other alternatives you have when it comes to cooking your mushrooms. The good news is, there are several to choose from.
The Dry-Saute Method
One of your options would be to “dry saute” your mushrooms. This would involve slicing up the mushrooms as thin as possible before adding them into your warm pan. Once in the pan, the mushrooms then start to release their own juices that will help to cook them.
Dry-sauteing mushrooms is a very common and popular way to cook mushrooms. The result is a perfectly browned and flavorful mushroom that you’ll want to incorporate into all of your dishes.
Before you start to cook them, you will want to rinse your mushrooms first. Pat them dry before putting them into the pan, but don’t stress if some water is left over. Once you put them in the pan, the water will evaporate.
After slicing and rinsing your mushrooms, you can toss them into your pan, which should be set to medium-high heat. Don’t put all of your mushrooms in at once as you don’t want them to mush together.
Once in the pan you will start to see the mushrooms releasing their juices and starting to brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them and stir them occasionally so that they don’t burn or stick to the pan. When the mushrooms are close to being done, you can always add in any other seasonings to it.
Although you can use any type of mushroom for this, thicker mushrooms such as portobello, porcini, and oyster mushrooms work best.
You also want to make sure that the mushrooms you use are fresh as they will have the most juices. Older mushrooms will be dry and won’t release the juices that you need to cook them in.
When cooking the mushrooms, you want to use a non-stick or cast-iron pan so that your mushrooms don’t end up getting stuck to the pan.
The Butter Method
Another option you can try is butter. It’s another common way to cook mushrooms that doesn’t involve oil. Again, before you start to cook, be sure to rinse your mushrooms in water and pat them dry.
Many people believe the best way to clean mushrooms is by simply wiping them down with a towel because of the fact that the mushrooms may absorb in too much water and will therefore be soggy.
The reality is that mushrooms only absorb 2% of their weight in water, and even with the absorbed water, the mushrooms don’t lose their taste or become soggy once you start to cook them.
The trick to making sure your washed mushrooms don’t get soggy is to cook them right after washing them. The longer you let them sit, the soggier they will become.
Now that your mushrooms are clean, you can start cooking! You can slice up your mushrooms thin or you can quarter them into thicker pieces, depending on how you like them. After slicing the mushrooms add in your butter and some salt and let it sizzle a bit before you put your mushrooms in.
The secret to making sure your mushrooms don’t burn is to make sure you leave them alone. Stir every once in a while, but not too much. You want to make sure you coat the mushrooms in butter but once they are fully coated, leave them alone and spread them out so that they don’t stick to one another and create one large mass.
Leave your mushrooms alone for the next five minutes so that they can release as much flavor as possible. You will know when your mushrooms are done when all the moisture in your pan has evaporated and your mushrooms are browned.
If you want to add in more flavor to the mushrooms, you can always throw in a sprig of rosemary or thyme. Diced onions are also another good ingredient to add in.
Tips and Tricks to Use When Cooking Mushrooms
Now that you know how to cook mushrooms without using oil, be sure to use these tips when cooking them.
Although we’ve mentioned this earlier, it’s worth mentioning again. When cooking your mushrooms you want to make sure that you aren’t overcrowding the pan.
If you do, the mushrooms could stick together and they will take much longer to cook. The longer they are cooking, the soggier they will become.
Another tip is to add in some salt to the mushrooms after you have finished cooking. This isn’t just to season them, but also to help draw out as much moisture from the mushrooms as possible. You need the moisture in the beginning of the cooking process, so you don’t want to add in the salt too early.
High heat is another good way to make sure you end up with perfect mushrooms. This is so that your mushrooms end up being seared and not steamed during the cooking process.
Steaming them will result in a soggy mushroom, so be sure to really ramp up the heat. Medium to medium-high heat would be your best choice.
You’ll need to use a lot of fat to make the perfect mushrooms. Whether you are using butter or something else, be sure to coat the entire pan before you put in your mushrooms.
Adding in butter is the only time you should be stirring your mushrooms during the cooking process.
The best way to make sure you end up with perfect mushrooms is to buy them as fresh as possible. When looking for mushrooms to buy, avoid any that look dried up or old.
You also want to stay away from mushrooms that are slimy or have any indication of mold on them. Check to see how firm they are. If they are even a little bit soggy and soft, skip them.
Fall and winter are the best seasons for growing mushrooms, so buying them during this time would result in getting the best mushrooms possible.
When it comes to storing your mushrooms, you should be using an airtight container with a paper towel in it to absorb any excessive moisture. Whatever you do, don’t store your mushrooms in cling wrap as this will cause them to get mushy.
Once stored in the airtight container, don’t leave your mushrooms in the fridge for longer than three or four days.
Mushroom Nutrition Facts
Aside from the fact that they are delicious to eat, mushrooms also have a significant amount of nutritional value to them.
Mushrooms contain B vitamins known as niacin and riboflavin and only 1 mg of sodium! Not to mention they have virtually no cholesterol in them at all, so they are safe to eat for just about anyone.
A half of a cup of mushrooms only has nine calories, which make these a great ingredient for those who are dieting or trying to watch their caloric intake. Mushrooms also contain about 0.4 gram of fiber, 0.7 gram of protein, and only 0.1 gram of fat.
While mushrooms can be eaten on their own, they are also great thrown into pasta, a salad, or even on top of a burger. They also make a great side dish especially when whipped up with some spinach and garlic.
For this recipe, you will need mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper, spinach, and some butter. You can use clarified butter or even oil if you prefer. In a non-stick pan, melt some butter and let it sizzle for a bit. Meanwhile, be sure to clean and slice up your mushrooms.
Finely chop up the garlic before adding it into the pan that contains your mushrooms and your butter. Let them brown for a bit before you add in your spinach. After a few minutes, your spinach will start to wilt and shrivel.
Finally, all you need to do is add in your salt and pepper and you are done!
For those who love cheese, this recipe will be one you’ll want to sink your teeth in. To start, be sure to preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Be sure to add in some butter to the casserole dish you will be using and then melt some more butter into a pan, adding in some flour as well.
Next, add in mushrooms, onion, garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, heavy cream, and chicken stock. Throw in some chopped broccoli, which can be fresh or frozen, although frozen may work best for this recipe.
Add in one cup of rice and one cup of shredded cheddar-monterey cheese. When the mixture is done cooking, pour it into your casserole dish, top with some more cheese and bake!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.