Portabella mushrooms stand out from all the other mushrooms in the produce section, with their large, tan to brown cap, dark underside and thick white stem. Portabella mushrooms are related to the common button mushroom, yet have a taste and texture all their own, which makes them more versatile in the kitchen. Portabella mushrooms are fat-free and very low in calories. They’re also a rich source of selenium, copper and niacin.
Low-Calorie, Fat-Free, Sometimes With Vitamin D
Portobello, or portabella, mushrooms are the mature form of baby cremini mushrooms. They grow up to 6 inches in diameter and possess a flat cap with a dense, meaty texture. Mushrooms are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D, but the amount they contain depends on their exposure to ultraviolet light. Most portobello mushrooms only have a small amount, but some producers significantly boost the vitamin D by treating them with ultraviolet light, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One cup of diced portabella, which equals about one mushroom, has 19 calories, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of total carbohydrates.
Boost of Copper and Selenium
Portabella mushrooms are rich sources of copper and selenium. Your body needs copper to form connective tissue, metabolize iron, to produce energy and antioxidants. Selenium has two primary jobs to fill: It helps produce thyroid hormones and antioxidants. One cup of diced portabella mushrooms contains 16 micrograms of selenium and 0.25 milligrams of copper. These values represent 28 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for both minerals.
B Vitamins Support Metabolism
Your body doesn’t store niacin or vitamin B-6, so it’s essential to get a regular supply through your diet. Niacin helps metabolize food into energy and also synthesizes fatty acids. One cup of diced portobello mushrooms contains 0.13 milligrams, or 10 percent of your recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B6.
Store portabella mushrooms in the refrigerator and use them within 7 to 10 days. Clean them with a damp cloth or paper towel before use. Don’t rinse them because they’ll absorb too much water. You can use portobello mushrooms in place of any other type of mushroom you usually enjoy, but they’re substantial enough to be the centerpiece of a dish. Try using them as a meat substitute by grilling or broiling them and serve them like a hamburger.