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Portobello mushrooms cooking on a griddle

Guide to Portobello mushrooms

18 Aug 2023 • 2 min read

Mushrooms have been used in recipes and traditional practices for centuries, but their popularity has grown even more in recent years. Portobello mushrooms were once so unpopular and difficult to sell, but nowadays they’re in demand worldwide.

These mushrooms are large with a rich flavour and dense, meaty texture that are great when served grilled, stuffed or as a meat alternative in burgers or sandwiches.

But are there any benefits to eating portobello mushrooms? Here we’ll discuss the possible health benefits, potential side effects, and some ways to add portobello mushrooms to your diet.

Skip to: What are they? | Portobello or portabella | 3 benefits | Side effects | Way to cook portobello mushrooms | More mushroom recipes 

These big mushrooms are actually the mature form of an edible fungus called Agaricus bisporus, which is the same fungus as cremini and button mushrooms.1 In fact, all these mushrooms are the same, just at different stages of development. Portobello mushrooms are the most mature, meaning they are the largest and darkest of the three - they can sometimes grow to around 6 inches wide and have a dark brown colour.1

Portobello mushrooms are cultivated worldwide on a large scale. But in the wild, these mushrooms can be found in the grasslands of North America and Eurasia.2

They feel less spongy than other mushrooms and, thanks to their meatier texture, are common in vegetarian and vegan dishes as a meat alternative.

Most mushrooms are believed to be a great source of essential nutrients that benefit your body, and portobello mushrooms are no exception. Portobello mushrooms are thought to be full of great plant compounds like B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and copper. They can also be a good source of vitamin D if exposed to UV light whilst growing.3

Portobello mushrooms are sometimes called portabella too. They were given the more glamourous sounding name, portabella, in the 1980s to make this meaty mushroom more appealing to the population and to encourage people to add them to their shopping baskets.4

Today, portobello mushrooms make up 90% of the production of mushrooms in the USA alone and are a popular addition to dishes by chefs and home cooks.5

So, next time you’re out shopping and see these delicious mushrooms labelled portabella instead of portobello, rest assured, they’re the same!

The potential benefits of portobello mushrooms

The potential benefits of portobello mushrooms

Many believe that mushrooms, in general, have a range of health benefits. Portobello mushrooms are no different, from being a great source of fibre and protein to being full of essential vitamins and minerals.

However, it is important to note that research into the health benefits of portobello mushrooms is minimal, so they cannot be recommended for specific concerns.

Of the research available, here are 3 potential health benefits of portobello mushrooms:

  1. They are low in fat and calories

Like all mushrooms, portobello mushrooms have been shown to be low in calories and fat, making them a great addition to any diet. 100g of portobello mushrooms contain just 22 calories and 0.35g of fat whilst also containing 2.11g of protein and 1.3g of fibre.6

  1. They contain essential B vitamins

Portobello mushrooms are considered high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which are vital for many of our body’s processes, like energy production and metabolizing macronutrients.7

  1. They are high in potassium

Some research shows that portobello mushrooms are high in potassium, important for keeping your muscles healthy and strong. In fact, 128g of cooked portobello mushrooms has been shown to have 440mg of potassium, making up 9% of the recommended daily value for adults.8

There is very little information about whether portobello mushrooms are safe for everyone to consume, so it is really important to check with your doctor before adding them to your diet, particularly if you are already taking medication.

As with many types of food, there is always a risk of allergies. So, you should stop consuming portobello mushrooms immediately if you have a reaction and avoid them entirely if you already know you are sensitive to mushrooms or have a mushroom allergy. In some cases, portobello mushrooms can cause mild stomach aches, so consuming them in moderation and as part of a varied, balanced diet is recommended.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should definitely check with a medical professional to make sure it is safe for you to have portobello mushrooms.

Cooking portobello mushrooms is easy, and there are many ways to cook them, like grilled, stuffed, or fried. They’re really popular in Italian dishes like pasta and even on top of pizzas, but you can serve them on their own too.

The meaty texture of portobello mushrooms makes them the perfect meat alternative in many vegetarian and vegan recipes, from burgers to steaks. Here are some of our favourite ways to whip up tasty portobello mushrooms:

  1. Grill up a portobello mushroom and use it in place of a typical meat burger or on its own as a plant-based steak
  2. Add some portobello mushrooms to a pan and lightly fry until tender to add to pasta dishes and sauces
  3. Stuffed portobello mushrooms are always a hit! Pack the middle of the mushroom with cheese and bake in the oven until golden
  4. Slice up some portobello mushrooms and add them to a delicious stir fry or to the top of a toast!

So, it turns out there could be more to portobello mushrooms than we think! From their potential health benefits to their unique texture and flavour, there are so many reasons to add portobello mushrooms to your diet.

Cooking up a tasty portobello mushroom dish is easy, too, so why not give one of our recipes a try?

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