Mushrooms on the menu for Father’s Day

Resarch shows that mushrooms are potential allies in the fight against obesity, heart attacks and prostate cancer – three of the major health risks for men – and yet these under-rated fungi don’t always get the respect they deserve.

Their meaty flavour and hearty texture can help keep guys lean and healthy; mushrooms are virtually fat-free and low in calories and carbohydrates too and the best part is they’re on supermarket shelves 365 days a year.

According to the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association, they are also a good source of essential minerals such as heart-healthy potassium (helpful to offset the effects of sodium and lower blood pressure) and selenium (which may protect against prostate cancer). In addition, mushrooms are rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins B and D.

Since June is Men’s Health Month, and tomorrow is Father’s Day, here are some more interesting facts about mushrooms for men from the association:

  • One cup contains a mere 18 calories and zero grams of fat, making them a “must” in any weightloss programme.
  • To lose weight but still gain muscle, replace the meat on your plate with mushrooms: they are low in calories, high in fibre and pack a powerful protein punch.
  • A serving of portabellini mushrooms (80 to 100g) provides almost a third of your daily selenium, a recognised ally against prostate cancer.
  • Diets rich in potassium and low in sodium can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of men. A cup of sliced, grilled portabella mushrooms contains as much potassium as a medium-sized banana.
  • Adding mushrooms to your diet can improve your sex life. They inhibit oestrogen production and contain enzymes that promote testosterone conversion, making sure testosterone levels remain high.



Serves 4 to 6


200g tempura flour
5ml Chinese Five Spice powder
five chives, finely chopped
250ml soda water, chilled
three to four big brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
oil, for frying
Maple-soy dipping sauce:
60ml maple syrup
45ml light soy sauce
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
To serve:
chives, chopped


For the Maple-Soy Dipping Sauce:

Place the sauce ingredients into a small pot. Bring to the boil and cook for three to four minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

For the mushroom tempura:

Heat oil in a pot or deep-fat fryer. Place the tempura flour, Chinese five spice powder and chives into a mixing bowl. Gradually add the soda water and lightly mix until just combined. Do not overmix.

Dip the mushroom slices, a few at a time, into the batter and straight into the hot oil.

Once golden and crispy, drain on paper towel. Serve hot with the dipping sauce and some extra chopped chives on top.



Makes one large quesadilla


10ml oil
1 chicken breast fillet, sliced
205g button mushrooms, thickly sliced
3ml paprika
1 (410g) can red kidney beans, drained
2 large flat wraps
5ml ground cumin or taco spice
100g guacamole
100g cheddar, grated
fresh salsa (recipe below)


For the salsa:

Finely dice 1 red onion and 2 tomatoes. Add fresh coriander and some sliced, fresh green chilli if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

For the chicken and mushrooms:

Heat the oil in a pan and fry chicken until cooked. Transfer to a plate and return pan to the stove. Fry the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the reserved chicken and the paprika. Cook for 1 minute; set aside.

For the beans and final prepping:

Place beans and cumin into a mixing bowl and roughly mash with a fork.

Lay a wrap on a flat surface and spread the bean mixture on top. Top with the mushroom and chicken mixture, guacamole, cheddar and fresh salsa. Lay the second wrap on top of the filling.

Heat a large, non-stick pan on the stove and slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for one to two minutes, turn (using a plate to assist) and cook the other side for one to two minutes. Alternatively, place the quesadilla under a hot grill for one to two minutes, per side. Slices into wedges and serve.



Serves 4 to 6


400g spaghetti or linguine, cooked and drained
45ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
250g button or portabellini mushrooms
3 big brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
45ml basil pesto
1 lemon, zest and juice
45ml Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 avocado, cubed
150g feta cheese, cubed
To serve:
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
milled black pepper
a few fresh basil leaves


Heat 30ml olive oil in a large pan or wok. Fry the garlic, big brown and button mushrooms for three to four minutes or until cooked. Add the basil pesto, and lemon zest and juice, and mix well. Add the the cooked and drained spaghetti, avocado and feta. Lightly toss to combine.
Serve, with a few fresh basil leaves, milled black pepper and some extra Parmesan.

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