A high protein diet supports muscle growth and repair, helps you feel energized and satiated, and can even help you maintain a healthy weight. But if you’re not eating animal products or would like to eat less meat, finding natural sources of protein can be a challenge.
Mushrooms are a great meat substitute. They’re grown sustainably, packed with vitamins and minerals, and even have the naturally meaty flavors and textures that make them a great replacement for meat in many recipes. But are they a good source of protein?
Mushrooms are not high in protein, but they do contain a few grams, depending on the variety you’re cooking.
A serving of mushrooms is about 1 cup or 8 ounces of raw mushrooms, which will shrink down to about a half cup after cooking.
Oyster mushrooms are the most protein-dense, giving you about three grams of protein per half-cup (cooked) serving. The average adult needs around 50 grams of protein per day, so unfortunately mushrooms are not a good dietary source of protein.
Mushrooms are still an excellent source of plenty of vitamins and minerals, they’re fat-free, and they’re low in carbs. So, just because they can’t give you all the protein you need, doesn’t mean they’re not a great addition to your diet.
Plant-based protein sources can be a wonderful complement to your favorite healthy mushroom recipes. In my brown mushroom pasta sauce recipe, I use nutritional yeast to add an extra 8 grams of protein per serving.
When using mushrooms in a blenditarian or vegan/vegetarian recipe as a ground beef substitute, consider adding cooked lentils to the mix. A half cup serving of cooked lentils will give you 9 grams of protein.
Add a side of quinoa for 8 gram of protein per one-cup serving.
Throw some chia seeds in your favorite beverage – or even just some water – for another 5.6 grams of protein per tablespoon.
While they may not contain much protein, which we all know builds muscle, mushrooms contain many other nutrients that contribute to muscle recovery so you can make the most of rest days, plus b-vitamins to give you energy to lift heavier and run longer.
Supermarket mushrooms like white buttons, shittakes, and other delicious favorites are easy to find and they’re full of those essential gains-giving nutrients.
Adaptogenic mushrooms like reiki, chaga, and lions mane are harder to find – in fact, I’ve yet to find them fresh – but they’re easy to add to food, protein shakes, and smoothies in their powdered form.
I love powdered mushroom blends to add to my protein shake in the morning – I can feel a big difference in my mood, focus, and wakefulness when I remember to add them. If I forget, I sometimes have them in my coffee later on to re-fuel after a big workout so I still have energy to work.
Stay strong and get all the more powerful, mushroom mates!