Though they're good any time of year, there's something about the uniquely earthy flavor and meaty texture of mushrooms that makes us crave them most when it's chilly out. Soft and melting in a stew, or satisfyingly firm to bite into when roasted, plump mushrooms supply the heartiness we're looking for in winter and fall dishes, without all the heaviness of meat. It's true that they aren't universally beloved, but we'd be willing to bet that if more people knew of mushrooms' properties and how best to cook them, a lot of the haters would be drawn into the fold.
If you're doubtful, check out our Mushroom Shopping Guide so you can be sure of starting with the best varieties for your purposes. Then dig into the 20 recipes below, for dishes like pressure cooker risotto and gooey baked pasta, a terrific po' boy with fried shiitakes in place of oysters, and simple sides of mushrooms roasted, grilled, or stir-fried.
Easy Roasted Mushrooms
Mushrooms don't get much simpler than this: quartered; tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper; and roasted in a moderately hot oven. The trick to making sure the mushrooms end up meaty, not slimy, is to drain off their liquid 15 minutes into cooking. Don't waste it, though—reserve it to use as an umami-rich vegan seasoning sauce, like Worcestershire or fish sauce, in a future dish.
Roasted Oyster Mushroom and Watercress Salad
Searing in a hot skillet is another way to produce deliciously browned and tender mushrooms quickly. Here, we toss the cooked mushrooms—oysters or creminis work well—with plump, peppery watercress leaves, Parmesan cheese, and a tarragon vinaigrette. You'll wilt the greens if you add hot mushrooms to them immediately, so spread the 'shrooms out on a baking sheet to cool first.
Roasted Potato and Shallot Salad With Marinated Mushrooms and Kale
Once these seared shiitakes come out of the pan, we soak them in a scallion vinaigrette and a little extra white wine vinegar, giving the mushrooms a pleasant tartness. That helps to brighten up this robust cool-weather salad, which combines the mushrooms with sweet caramelized shallots, baby Russian kale, and roasted potatoes.
Warm Kale and Caramelized Mushroom Salad
Mushrooms will brown on the stovetop in just a few minutes, but cook them longer and they'll end up nicely caramelized, with a richer flavor—and if you're careful not to crowd the pan, they'll crisp up a bit, too. Here, we sear a variety of mushrooms for a mix of flavors and textures, along with thinly sliced shallots, then combine them with baby kale and a nutty sherry vinegar dressing. For a creamy finishing touch, try topping the salad with goat cheese.
We're right smack in the middle of the holiday season, which means it's time to dig up the recipes for beautiful centerpiece roasts. That may inspire thoughts of prime rib, leg of lamb, or roast turkey. But we see no reason why vegetarians and vegans shouldn't enjoy their own centerpiece, complete with the meaty texture provided by plant-based ingredients like mushrooms, beans, and nuts. That's how this vegan take on old-school beef Wellington was born, with all those and more (including a smoky vegan mushroom "bacon") rolled up in phyllo dough to form a stunning roast. It's quite a project, but the rewards are as pretty to look at as they are delicious.
Pizza With Mushrooms, Mozzarella, and Truffle
"Mushroom pizza" too often means nothing more than an ordinary pizza scattered with bland, insipid little slices of canned mushrooms. But it doesn't have to be that way. We top this pie with a flavorful mushroom duxelles (a roughly puréed mixture of mushrooms, sautéed and seasoned), along with assorted fresh mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. Want a triple dose of fungi? Drizzle a little truffle oil over the top, but be sure to use only the good stuff.
Fried Shiitake Po' Boys With New Orleans-Style Remoulade
Fried oysters are among the most classic stuffings for a New Orleans po' boy, which rarely admits entry to any vegetables other than lettuce and tomato. But you'll be amazed at how well shiitakes, dredged in cornmeal and deep-fried until crisp and browned, can stand in for those oysters. We finish the sandwiches by loading the mushrooms onto soft baguettes with the requisite shredded iceberg and sliced tomato, along with a tangy homemade remoulade.
Pressure Cooker Mushroom Risotto
Rumors fly about how painstaking and time-consuming it is to make risotto at home, leading many cooks to avoid it. The truth is, while even traditional stovetop risotto isn't all that difficult, it's downright foolproof when you make it in a pressure cooker. We incorporate mushrooms into this risotto three ways—in the form of dried porcini, sautéed mixed fresh mushrooms, and stock infused with mushroom trimmings—for truly deep mushroom flavor.
Mushroom and Gruyère Eggs en Cocotte
Eggs en cocotte, or individual eggs baked in small ramekins, may sound impossibly chichi for home cooking, but in reality, it's an easy, elegant brunch dish that takes just a bit of intuition. The dish takes well to all sorts of add-ins, but this version incorporates a mushroom duxelles and melted Gruyère. We add just a drizzle of heavy cream to each ramekin to make the dish rich enough for a special occasion.
Made with a combination of dried porcinis, fresh mushrooms—we like a mix of cremini, shiitake, oyster, and hen-of-the-woods—canned whole tomatoes, and aromatics, this hearty vegetarian ragù is just as thick, rich, and comforting as any meat-based one. You can't go wrong serving it on top of plain pasta or polenta, but our favorite use is layering it in this polenta lasagna.
Soy-Braised Fall Mushrooms With Chestnuts
The key to making this Asian-inspired seasonal mushroom dish is finding the absolute best mushrooms you can get. Whether they're enokis, shiitakes, chanterelles, or plain buttons, buy whatever looks particularly good at your farmers market. The dish itself is simple: Blanch the mushrooms, along with a handful of peeled fresh chestnuts, then cook them quickly in a wok with ginger, garlic, scallions, and soy sauce.
Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms With Bacon and Teriyaki Glaze
Grilled mushrooms, usually skewered whole, are a traditional side in Japanese yakitori restaurants. Here, we add flavor by alternating sliced king oysters with slices of bacon, so the mushrooms absorb the flavorful rendered bacon fat. Reassembling the mushrooms on the skewers makes for a fun presentation, too.
Skirt Steak With Mushroom-Cream Pan Sauce
Restaurants produce thick, silky pan sauces by using high-gelatin chicken stock and very hot burners, but re-creating that consistency at home is a tricky business. Using powdered gelatin is one option, but cream is what we've chosen for this easy weeknight recipe. It's a useful emulsifier, helping this mushroom pan sauce get nice and rich before it's served with medium-rare skirt steak.
Shrimp and Gruyère Cheese Grits With Bacon and Mushrooms
You may not need to add any fanciful trimmings to shrimp and grits, but crispy diced bacon and seared mushrooms sure don't hurt. We add extra flavor by infusing a broth with mushroom trimmings and shrimp shells, then using it to slow-cook the grits. The amount of liquid called for here may seem excessive, but trust us—it produces supremely smooth and creamy grits.
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Mornay and Mushroom Duxelles Burger With Crispy Shallots
Not for the faint of heart, this loaded burger takes its topping inspiration from traditionally rich French cuisine. The burger rests on a thick layer of mushroom duxelles, then gets a slathering of creamy Mornay sauce. To add some crunch and reinforce the pungent onion flavor from the duxelles, we finish the burger with a generous sprinkling of fried shallots.
Chicken Cacciatore With Mushrooms, Tomato, and Onion
Chicken "cacciatore" (literally, chicken prepared "hunter-style") is a term that can refer to any one of a seemingly endless number of braises. This rustic version is made with cremini mushrooms, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Dredging the dark-meat chicken in flour before cooking is optional—the flour thickens the sauce, but it also adds a starchy flavor that some might find off-putting.
Stir-Fried Chicken With Mushrooms and Oyster Sauce
You can't get much easier or more weeknight-appropriate than a stir-fry made with chicken breast. Here, a combination of fresh and rehydrated dried wood ear mushrooms is stir-fried with sliced chicken in a simple sauce of sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, water, and cornstarch. The only real trick here? We water-velvet the chicken before cooking, resulting in an extra-silky and tender consistency.
Easy Stir-Fried Beef With Mushrooms and Butter
Pairing soy sauce and butter isn't especially common in the West, nor especially traditional anywhere, but it's nevertheless become extremely popular in parts of East Asia. It's not hard to see why—the salty and savory character of the soy sauce makes it a great foil for the richness of butter. One easy way to combine the two is this stir-fry of marinated flank steak and mushrooms; we add the soy sauce and butter after cooking the main ingredients, then let them emulsify into a creamy sauce.
Skillet Pasta With Mushrooms, Pancetta, and Wilted Greens
One-pot pasta dishes like this one are a regular feature in our weeknight menus. This one starts with browning pancetta and shiitake mushrooms together and setting that mixture aside, then cooking fusilli in vegetable stock in the same pot. When the pasta is nearly done, stir in a couple of big handfuls of winter greens, plus the reserved pancetta and shiitakes. A splash of lemon juice, a grating of Parmesan, and you're ready to eat.
Crispy Baked Pasta With Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce
As the temperatures drop and I start to spend more of my evenings cozy indoors, my mind automatically turns to gooey, rib-sticking baked pasta dishes. It takes just one skillet to make this one, which combines Italian sausage with a whole pound of earthy mushrooms, sturdy pasta, and a rich Parmesan cream sauce. A tablespoon of soy sauce is just enough to amplify the savoriness of the mushrooms, and a topping of panko bread crumbs adds a satisfying crunch.