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10 Delicious Ways to Use Mushrooms in Place of Meat

Mushrooms are loaded with nutrients while being much lower in fat and calories than meat.

An entire cup of raw chopped mushrooms provides a mere 15 calories and no fat, wow! That is considerably fewer calories and much less fat than equal portion sizes of meat. Mushrooms are a good source of several health-promoting minerals, including selenium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and manganese. Although mushrooms have a meaty taste and texture, they do not actually provide as much protein or iron as meat does, so be sure to include a protein source, such as beans, lentils, tofu, or cheese, with each meal.

Vegetarian Ground “Beef”

You can make a meat-free substitute for ground beef that can be used in spaghetti, tacos, tamales, or anywhere else you would use ground beef. You can make a big batch of this yummy stuff and freeze it for later use.

In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups finely diced portobello mushrooms, 3 cups finely diced eggplant (peeled), 2 cups finely diced white onion, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 crumbled vegetable bouillon cubes, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Once evenly mixed, spread onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Mushroom Lentil Loaf


  • 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray


1. In a small pot, combine water, lentils, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes (lentils will not be completely cooked). Drain, discard bay leaves.

2. Pulse mushrooms and lentils in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add mushroom-lentil mixture and cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add red wine to skillet and cook until liquid evaporates. Add broth, oats, soy sauce, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Once cool enough to handle, shape mixture into a loaf and season with salt and pepper. Place in baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake about 40 minutes (until golden brown).

Grilled Portobello Cap Burger

A large portobello cap makes for an excellent burger replacement due to its abundance size and meaty taste and texture. Simply brush both sides of the large mushroom cap with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill it about five minutes on each side and top with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and your favorite cheese and condiments. Serve on a toasted whole-wheat bun. It is so delicious that you won’t even notice your burger is meatless!

Mushroom “Bacon” Bits

These little crunchy bits of mushrooms taste just like bacon! I was skeptical at first, but once I prepared these myself, I was an instant believer and now make a batch of them every week. Simply slice up about a pound of white button mushrooms, toss them with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic (minced) and some fresh rosemary and thyme, and cayenne pepper if you like a little heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread the mushrooms out on a baking sheet and bake them for 45-60 minutes (timing depends on how crisp you normally like your “bacon”) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Just like real bacon, the mushroom bits will harden as they begin to cool.

Black Bean & Mushroom Meatballs


  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, wiped clean and finely diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Non-stick cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, mash beans. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.

3. Roll out 12 “meatballs” and place into muffin tin sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake about 12-15 minutes. Toss with marinara sauce and pasta or serve alongside steamed veggies.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos


  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced into 1/2-inch thick strips
  • 3 large bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 12 whole-wheat tortillas, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium (lite) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • The “fixins”: salsa, grated cheese, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, hot sauce


1. In a large bowl, stir together olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, cumin, chipotle chili powder, garlic powder and cilantro. Add mushrooms, stir to coat evenly. Allow mushrooms to marinate for about 10 minutes. Add onions and peppers to bowl and stir.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add veggie mixture and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and serve in warmed tortillas with “fixins.”

Mushroom & Spinach Frittata

Mushrooms and spinach pair really well together, and the meat-like taste of mushrooms can take the place of ham, sausage, or bacon that is typically used in a frittata. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, simply sauté 4 cups of spinach (roughly chopped) and 16 ounces of white button mushrooms (wiped clean, diced) in 1 tablespoon of olive for about 5-7 minutes, until spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat, and spread into the bottom of a 9-inch x 9 9-inch baking dish. In a bowl, whisk 8 eggs. Pour eggs over veggies, top with grated cheese, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake about 30 minutes or until thermometer inserted into eggs reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mushroom Risotto


  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups assorted wild mushrooms (porcini, shiitake, morels, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme or marjoram, chopped


1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add mushrooms and sauté about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms from the pot, set aside.

2. Add the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice, stir to coat, and toast about 1 minute.

3. Slowly add stock 1 cup at at time. Add in red wine and cook about 15 minutes more or until liquid is absorbed. Add in thyme or marjoram, butter, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Mushroom & Tofu Kebabs


  • 16 ounces baby portobello or white button mushrooms, wiped clean
  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, water pressed out, cut into cubes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Pinch cayenne pepper


1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade. Whisk until smooth.

2. Place tofu and whole mushrooms in the marinade, cover, and marinate for 30-45 minutes.

3. Place tofu and mushrooms on skewers (soaked in water), alternating pieces.

4. Grill over medium-high heat about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm.

Mushroom & Chickpea Pasta


  • 8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 16 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


1. Cook pasta al dente; drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, cook until it softens, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add flour, stirring constantly, and cook for 2 minutes. While continuing to stir, add broth slowly.

3. Add paprika, salt, cayenne, chickpeas, and tomato. Turn heat up to medium-high, almost to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5-7 minutes until it thickens. Turn off heat and stir in yogurt.

4. Add cooked pasta into skillet and toss to coat. Top with chopped parsley.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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