Seasonal Eats: Mushrooms

standard February 6, 2017 Leave a response

With a wide assortment of varieties, mushrooms are a versatile veggie staple. From the standard white button to the uniquely shaped oyster or maitake, they all provide an array of nutrients and health benefits. Easily found year round, these hearty and flavorful fungi are perfect for winter meals, lending bulk, meatiness, and depth to casseroles, stews, and pasta.


One cup of sliced white button mushrooms contains 15 calories, 2 g carbohydrates, zero fat, and 2 g protein. Yup, its tiny, but there is a bit of protein in this little, overlooked vegetable. Over 5% DV of riboflavin, niacin, copper, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus can be found in this same single cup. Mushrooms also contain thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin D, folate, and iron.


Mushrooms are particularly rich in selenium and copper, compared to other vegetables, providing antioxidant properties and aiding in red blood cell production. This allows these fungi to be beneficial in providing immunity support to the body.

While low in calories and fat, mushrooms are dense and filling, allowing them to be a terrific addition to any weight management diet. Their high nutrient content also means that for little calories, they provide a lot of health benefits.

Mushrooms are also unique in that they are the only vegetable with a significant amount of vitamin D. Most of us get vitamin D through sun exposure, which can be difficult in the dreary winter months. Vitamin D works with calcium to strengthen bones, promote bone growth, aid in immunity protection, and support brain health.


Add some mushrooms to your winter menu with these hearty and flavorful dishes:

Mushrooms, raw. USDA Food and Nutrient Database.
Vitamin D. National Institute of Health.

Seasonal Eats: Cabbage

standard January 9, 2017 Leave a response

A cabbage may look like a boring, tasteless vegetable, but it is a hidden powerhouse in terms of nutrition and health benefits. It’s volume and cost also make it an ideal way to stretch a meal into two without compromising fullness. It adds crunch to slaw and stir fry. It cooks down well into soups and stews. And it can hold its weight raw in salads and sandwiches.


One heaping cup of cabbage contains only 22 calories, 5 grams carbohydrates, 1 g protein, and 0 fat. However, this single cup also packs in 54% DV vitamin C, 85% DV vitamin K, 9% DV dietary fiber, 10% DV folate, and 6% DV vitamin B6 and manganese. Cabbage also contains thiamin, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, and iron.


Cabbage comes in many varieties: the classic green or red variety, hearty savoy cabbage, light Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage or Bok choy. Regardless of which type you choose, they are all part of the Brassica family with broccoli, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts, and provide a variety of healthy benefits to our bodies.

The depth and variety of minerals contained in cabbage gives it the ability to aid in control of cell fluids, enzyme formation, blood cell growth and blood flow. This can benefit heart health and blood pressure.

Cabbage contains great antioxidant capability thanks to the high amounts of vitamins. Vitamin C helps prevent against inflammation and disease, while vitamin K benefits bone and brain health.


Give cabbage a second chance with one of these filling recipes:

Cabbage, raw. USDA Food and Nutrient Database.

Seasonal Eats: Peppers

standard December 5, 2016 Leave a response


In most of the US, peppers are a summer staple. Here in Texas, they seem to be a year round bounty. I’ve had multicolored shishito peppers in each of my CSA bushels for the past few months, almost without fail. So even though it’s December, let’s talk about peppers. And then make some smoky, cozy chili.



Most peppers are generically classified as either sweet or hot. Sweet peppers are mild, and can be slightly sweet, though the name is to mostly differentiate them from their spicy counterpart. Bell peppers, banana peppers, and pimentos are all considered sweet. Hot peppers include chilis, jalapenos, serrano peppers, habeneros, and thai peppers. Poblanos, Anaheim peppers, and shishito peppers are all somewhere in the middle, with mild heat characteristics.

Sweet peppers provide about 20 calories per 100 grams, with most of that energy being water and carbohydrates. Hot peppers have roughly 40 calories per 100 grams, with a higher carbohydrate to water ratio, due to a higher sugar content. Both varieties are high in vitamins and minerals, with greater than 5% DV of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C at over 130% DV for sweet peppers and a whopping 400% DV for hot peppers, per 100 grams. Hot peppers are also a significant source of iron, copper, folate, and magnesium.


Peppers contain capsaicin which aids in increasing metabolism by raising body temperature and expending energy. Hot peppers contain much more capsaicin than sweet peppers, so add some heat to your meals to get things going.

The incredibly high levels of vitamin C in peppers provide significant antioxidant power to the body. Vitamin C is also a key factor in collagen production, which gives structure to skin, bones, and blood vessels. Red bell peppers as well as hot peppers have the most concentrated amounts of vitamin C, so stock up on this ruby color.


Add some sweet and heat to your menu this week with these fun pepper recipes:


Peppers, hot chilis, green, raw. USDA Food and Nutrient Database.
Peppers, sweet, green, raw. USDA Food and Nutrient Database.