Have shiitake mushrooms become the new kale?

(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images) /

Move over kale and leafy greens. It seems that shiitake mushrooms are set to have a food trend moment, but are you adding this mushroom to your diet?

Do you love shiitake mushrooms? While these fungi have been used in all types of recipes, it seems that foodies are rediscovering these mushrooms for a variety of reasons. As people look to boost their healthy eating through smart food choices, has kale been bumped by a mushroom?

Healthy eating choices follow many food trends. Whether it is a plant-based diet or adding more antioxidants or just staying hydrated, many people look to food to supplement their lifestyle. While some of these ideas are not necessarily new, some foods get a spike in popularity.

For a while, everyone has touted the idea that healthy greens, like kale, are important to a healthy lifestyle. Whether it is a big salad or blended in a smoothie, those leafy greens with their vitamins and nutrients have become a staple in many homes.

While some people enjoy the taste, others treat those leafy greens as a hate to eat. The texture or taste might not be their favorite, but people eat it because they know it is good for them.

Still, people are always looking for that next food trend, especially one that can be tasty. Recently, a Pinterest study showed that shiitake mushrooms and its related searches are surging. Could this spike in searches show that a shiitake mushroom is the new kale?

While there might be a search spike, the shiitake mushroom has long been touted for being a good source of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Still, why this recent spike in popularity?

According to Chinese medicine, these mushrooms have been used for their healthy, longevity and even immunity boosting qualities. While studies vary, there seem to be a multitude of reasons why people eat these mushrooms for their potential health benefits.

While the healthy benefits excite some foodies, the plant-based food movement could have impacted the spike in this popularity. The texture of a shiitake mushroom is hearty and offers eating satisfaction. Adding these mushrooms to a variety of recipes can help to make the dish beefy without adding meat.

More importantly, shiitake mushrooms offer a huge umami flavor boost. Umami is that other flavor that just tends to round out a dish. For many vegetarian dishes, that umami flavor is key to making a composed dish.

While fresh shiitakes can be found in many stores, the dried version is readily available, too. It is best to re-hydrate them before adding them to a recipe.

Additionally, the stems can be a little tough, even after cooking them. Try using the stems in a vegetable stock for a flavor boost.

Lastly, shiitake mushrooms can be used in a variety of recipes. To start experimenting with these mushrooms, try swapping out these mushrooms for traditional button mushrooms. It can be a nice way to see the flavor difference.

This spike in shiitake mushroom searches could be the start of another food trend. Although it might not push kale out of the refrigerator, it could give foodies some more healthy eating recipe inspiration.

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Are you a fan of shiitake mushrooms? What do you think is the next healthy eating trend?