Our Planet; Our Health. That’s the overarching theme of Global World Health Day which was celebrated on, 7 April. Something we need to consider as we make our food choices is the ability of plants to protect and refresh the earth as they grow. Mushrooms, extraordinarily, are able to restore soil and many eco-scientists proclaim mushrooms as one of the answers to climate change, with commercially grown mushrooms by SA farmers, being a highly sustainable crop.
Nutritionists worldwide also agree that mushrooms and plants are the most nutritious foods you can eat. As for hunger, we all know that not all calories are created equal, and comparing meat calories with vegetable calories does not equate. Vegetables and mushrooms particularly are packed with fibre, which fills you up and keeps you fuller for longer, while generally lowering your calorie intake overall.
So if, on this World Health Day, we can keep humans and the planet healthier by simply switching to mushrooms instead of meat or simply just adding more mushrooms (and less meat) to our diet, we can assist in fostering the movement to create societies focused on well-being.
SAMFA Buttons & Beans on Toast
2 Tbsp butter 50g
½ cup breadcrumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
± 6 sprigs fresh thyme
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
Juice of ½ lemon
2 Tbsp fresh dill sprigs
2 Tbsp butter
250g white button mushrooms, sliced
4 thick cut slices of sourdough bread
Olive oilSalt and pepper, to taste
For the breadcrumb topping:
Melt butter in a frying pan. When sizzling add the breadcrumbs.Cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown.Remove from the heat and place in a small bowl with the lemon zest and parsley. Season to taste and mix well. Set aside.Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.Add the drained beans, fresh thyme and stock. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until the beans are very tender and the liquid has reduced. Crush a few beans as you stir to add more body to the sauce.Switch the heat off and add the lemon juice and dill. Stir. Heat the butter with a little drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook on high heat until just golden brown and still juicy and tender. Season well with salt and pepper.Brush the slices of sourdough with olive oil and season with salt.Pan fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.Stir the mushrooms into the beans just before plating up.Serve generous spoonfuls of mushrooms and beans over the sourdough.Finish with a sprinkle of the crispy, crunchy lemony breadcrumb topping and fresh dill sprigs.
For and on behalf of The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association