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Ancient Grains & Shiitake Mushroom Pilaf

In my kitchen, shiitake mushrooms are one of our top choices of fungi. Not just for the quality, texture, and versatility of the mushroom, but for potential other health benefits. Nutritionally they are a good source of B vitamins and the antioxidant, selenium. But they may also play a role in boosting immune function.

Shiitake's are cited widely for their medicinal properties but few human intervention studies exist. Early trials in Japan have studied effects of shiitake's on cancer risk reduction, and while outcomes are promising, the results have to be assessed with caution due lack of randomized or controlled research methods leaving room for error and bias. More recently, research from the University of Florida showed increased immunity and reduction in inflammation in adults who ate 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms every day for 4 weeks (Journal of the American College of Nutrition).

We have a lot to discover about mushrooms and their nutritional/medicinal potential. You may even be interested in what mycologist, Paul Stamets has to say about mushroom cultivation and use. Nontheless, they deserve a spot in your cuisine too.



1 box Casbah Ancient Grains blend, cooked

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp butter

8 medium-sized shiitake mushrooms, chopped

5 large sprigs fresh basil, chopped

Dressing: Juice from 1/2 a large lemon, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, salt and pepper



1) Cook the ancient grains blend as per directions on the box. Once cooked, set aside to cool. You could also use millet, quinoa, or brown rice.

2) Over medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the garlic and mushrooms until soft.

3) Once the hot stuff has cooled, mix the grains, mushrooms and basil together.

4) Add the lemon, olive oil, and cumin dressing.


Submitted by: Brooke Bulloch, RD

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