Food of the Month: Shiitake mushrooms


Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most flavorful mushrooms. They have a robust, earthy, slightly bitter flavor and a chewy texture. They come fresh or dried. I prefer to use the dried ones because the soaking water has a tremendous amount of flavor. The most important thing about cooking dried

Shiitake’s is that they have to cook for at least 15 minutes. If not cooked enough they are tough. You can use them in soups, stir fries, bean dishes, and cooked along with your grains.

All mushrooms have healing properties.  In nature, they have the ability to grow and find life from dead decaying things. They will do the same thing in your body. The power-packed shiitake’s are one of the most medicinal.  They contain the most active compound found in mushrooms called, “complex immunopotentiating polysaccharide.” This compound gives the shiitake anti-cancer effects, anti-tumor benefits, and can improve resistance to bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. These superior mushrooms also contain a substance called, “eritadenin,” which can quickly lower serum cholesterol levels and breaks down fats, cysts, and tumors.

Here are more wonderful things found in shiitake’s :

Numerous fatty acids, such as linoleic acid

Enzymes and Vitamins that do not appear in other plants

All 8 essential amino acids

High in leucine and lysine amino acids

Vitamins B1, B2, B12, D, niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium

Immune regulating effects | Helps protect the liver

Positive cardiovascular effects

In the following stuffing recipe, I cook the shiitake’s in with the brown rice. This imparts a tremendous amount of flavor into your dish.

To make stuffing it is important to use hearty, tasty bread, and there are many good quality breads to choose from.  Here are some tips when choosing bread for making stuffing.  Make sure there is no white flour listed in the ingredients. Bread made with whole grain flours is more flavorful, higher in fiber, and healthier.  If you have problems digesting flour, sprouted grain bread is a good choice. They give a rich, nutty flavor to the stuffing. Some people who have gluten sensitivities have no problem with sprouted grain breads.

This recipe is one I make every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is my family’s favorite and I hope it will become yours also!

Whole Grain Bread Stuffing

8 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 cup short grain brown rice

2 cups water

1 onion (diced)

3 celery (diced)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1 1/2 tsp. sage

1 1/2 tsp. thyme

1 1/2 tsp. marjoram

3 T. tamari

approx. 3/4 loaf of whole grain bread


Put in a pot the brown rice, shiitake’s, and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, put lid on and simmer for one hour. When done, remove shiitake’s and cut into thin slices. Cut around the stems and discard them.

(Stems are too tough to use.) Sauté the onions in toasted sesame oil, and add a dash of tamari until starting to brown. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl. Using the same pan, sauté the shiitake’s, then the celery in the same way. Sauté the garlic for only a minute. Add to the bowl. Pour some water in a shallow dish. Soak the bread slices in the water for a minute, and then break up with your hands. Put in bowl. Add to the bowl the cooked rice, spices, and tamari. Mix all together. Put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.


Val Wilson


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here