Shiitake. An amazing mushroom that’s much more that it’s umami flavor. This unassuming mushroom is a pharmacological powerhouse, exerting many of its beneficial effects in the immune system. From cancer-fighting chemicals, to natural killer cell activation and tumor reduction, this shroom has got it going on. Learn more in our What the Shiitake blog post. For now, let’s eat!
2 cups chopped winter greens—kale, collards, escarole, chard
1 shallot or ½ small onion
2-4 cloves garlic (or to taste)
1 tsp mild to hot red pepper flakes (optional)
Wheat free tamari, coconut aminos, or pink Himalayan salt
Rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
Toasted sesame oil
In large sauce pan heat 1/2 cup vegetable broth over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and broccoli and cover with a lid for a couple minutes until it softens just a bit (you can also use a steamer and LIGHTLY steam). Set aside.
In a separate sauté pan, heat the coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot/onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and ginger, and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is just softening and fragrant. Add the mushrooms and sliced red bell peppers and sprinkle with tamari, aminos, and a dash of whatever acid you choose. Sauté for another 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms are soft.
Add cauliflower and broccoli to the pan with any remaining vegetable broth. Stir until combined.
Add greens and stir until they are wilted. Finish with tamari or aminos and sesame oil to taste (do not heat the sesame oil—it’s just there for flavor!).
Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or my favorite, sliced rounds of cooked—but firm—sweet potato.
Next day delight! Leftover stir fry can be gently reheated and then covered in bone or veggie broth for an instant Immune Star Soup. Add a dollop of miso—I use chickpea miso, since I can’t have soy—for extra depth of flavor.
When the shiitake hits the fan….
About 2% of the population has a pronounced skin reaction to consuming raw or undercooked shiitakes (or to receiving IV lentinan) which has been termed “Shiitake Dermatitis.” This “flagellate dermatitis” is a particularly vicious skin eruption that leaves the sufferer looking like they’re been pummeled or whipped. This response is not mediated through normal allergy channels in the body, but actually a toxic reaction. If you suspect you’ve had this reaction before, read more about it on the fabulous North American Mycological Society website, and avoid eating undercooked shiitakes! Mushroom guru Paul Stamets suggests cooking them for 15 minutes.