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Magic Mushrooms

I love using mushrooms in my cooking! All sorts of fungi, mostly because they take on the flavor of the spices, I cook them with, so beautifully! Some family favorites are garlic, rosemary, and thyme. As a vegan, I enjoy it when I can WOW dinner guests with meatless dishes. I love meatless-meat balls, in all their variations, so I’ll include a simple recipe below.

Why should you add shiitake mushrooms to your diet?

The shiitake is a powerful food, and it has been used in Chinese medicine for over 6000 years. The active compound in the mushroom is called lentinan, and it is hailed for its ability to improve immunity by fighting infection and disease. Studies show that injected lentinan has anticancer properties. Add the dried mushroom to smoothies, warm it whole in stir-fries or simply slice and sautee it as a side dish to complement almost any meal.

Meat-less Meatballs

Serves: 4 Prep: 10 min Cooking: 40 min Total: 50 min Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 white onions diced

  • 300g shiitake mushrooms diced

  • 1 clove garlic diced

  • 1/2 cup walnuts - or hazelnuts

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

  • 2 cups of parsley

  • Pinch of salt & pepper

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • For the tomato sauce

  • 1 garlic bulb crushed

  • A large handful of basil leaves ripped into small pieces

  • 400g tomato pureé - or a bunch of fresh mushrooms in the blender blended until smooth

  • Pinch of salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 220°C

Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Once hot, fry the onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the mushroom to the pan and continue to fry for a further 15 minutes, or until all the water has gone and the mushrooms are starting to brown. You may want to turn the heat up a bit. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.

Leave the mushroom mixture to cool for around 5 minutes, then transfer to a food processor with the remaining ingredients.

Blend the meatball mixture for 10-15 seconds, not for too long because the mixture will become too creamy and they won’t hold their shape.

Shape into golf ball-sized balls and place on a baking tray.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

You can, of course, use whatever mushroom you’d like for this recipe and others like it! Two other great mushrooms are reishi and maitake.

Reishi is one I often sip in a gorgeous tea I have imported. The drink combines jasmine, green tea, reishi, and Astragalus. It doesn’t have a strong taste, and it is excellent around cold and flu season as well as early spring when my hayfever can begin to bother me. The name is Reishi Liver Guard by Health King, and I believe I order it from iHerb. My husband and I also love Four Sigmatic. They carry so many excellent alternatives to coffee, and we love supporting the Finish guys whose vision is: Simple dietary tweaks can vastly improve your life quality.

Why should you include reishi in your diet?

Reishi is an incredible longevity herb in Chinese medicine, most often used as a general health tonic. It is a powerful superfood, and it is considered an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps your body deal with the adverse effects of stress. Studies had shown that it is a positive impact on asthma, digestive problems, stomach ulcers, and leaky gut syndrome tumor growth and cancer.

Why should you include maitake?

Maitake has been researched since the late 1970s in Japan. Studies show that maitake extracts have been effective at reducing tumors, whether injected or given orally. A substance called beta-glucan binds to receptors on the outer membranes of macrophages and other white blood cells, including natural killers cells and cytotoxic T cells. These immune cells are cancer protective and attack tumor cells directly. The binding also increases the immune system, thus increasing immune activity.

Researchers identify four ways that maitake fights cancer:

  • protects healthy cells

  • enhances the immune system’s ability to find and destroy cancer cells

  • aids in programmed cell death (apoptosis)

  • prevents spreading (metastasis) of cancer.

If you have not experimented with different mushroom might I suggest you pick up something new on your next trip to the farmers market or your favorite produce store? Many health benefits are awaiting you!

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