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Veggie of the Week: Shiitake Mushrooms

The shiitake mushroom, native to East Asia, is a particularly earthy mushroom with a distinct umami flavor. Umami, considered the “fifth taste,” is what gives the mushroom its savory or meaty flavor, and why it often holds up as an acceptable meat substitute in plant-based dishes.

Though they belong to the fungus family, shiitake mushrooms boast many of the same nutritional benefits as vegetables. They contain several vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin B5 (important for nutrient metabolism), potassium, vitamin D, and folate. Folate, or vitamin B9, is an essential part of the synthesis of DNA. The shiitake may be small, but it is a powerhouse of nutrients.

These mushrooms make a delicious addition to soups, stir frys, pasta dishes – you name it! And if you’re looking to swap out meat from your diet here and there, the shiitake mushroom may be the perfect nourishing alternative.