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Believe It Or Not… Mushrooms Make Vitamin D

Mushrooms Make Vitamin D

Believe it or not…
Mushrooms make vitamin d from the sun, just like our bodies do!

Mushrooms and humans react the same way when exposed to the sun. Not only are mushrooms the only plant source of Vitamin D; they are also able to increase their natural Vitamin D content with exposure to the sun. Just like us and just as it happens in our bodies.

Exposed to the sun’s UV light, mushrooms convert their abundant ergosterol to ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) through the action of sunlight (much like our own skin), and they continue to do so even after they are harvested! Now that’s magic mushrooms for you!

Why does this matter in sunny South Africa?

More and more South Africans are becoming vitamin D deficient, even with our abundance of sunshine, because we no longer play or work outside and, when we are outside, we cover our skin with high factor sunscreens. Winter sun exposure is even less!

Why is vitamin D important to us?

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, important for building and keeping strong bones and preventing bone disorders and bone loss (osteoporosis).

A study conducted by the University of Sydney in July 2013 assessed the vitamin D levels generated when a serving of mushrooms (100g) is exposed to direct midday sunlight.

Button mushrooms had 10 mcg of vitamin D after 1 hour in the sun, while the bigger brown mushrooms took about 2 hours to reach 10 mcg of vitamin D, the daily amount recommended for active adults.

Over the past decade, sci­entists have found that it takes only a modest amount of UV from the sun or special UV lamps to produce significant levels of vitamin D in mushrooms. Just 15 minutes of direct sun­light can produce 200 to 800 IU in 3 ounces of mushrooms (the daily RDA is 600 to 800 IU), regardless of type or season.

But that’s not the only reason you should grab a punnet of mushrooms today…

Mushrooms make vitamin d, but they are also full of phytonutrient compounds like polysaccharide-glucans, sterols, and lectins, as well as fiber, protein, and nutrients like selenium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin, folate, niacin, vitamin B, and … vitamin D.

Natural sources of Vitamin D

Oily fish, eggs, and mushrooms are three natural food sources of vitamin D and mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D.

So amp up your vitamin D intake today with nature’s own vitamin D factories: fresh mushrooms. The bonus is that they are also low on calories, sodium, and fat whilst offering you great umami-rich flavour!

Moroccan Spiced Mushroom And Butternut Tartlets

This recipe is a great way to get in your daily dose of mushrooms. The Moroccan spices are excellent for expanding your family’s tastebuds.

Mushrooms Make Vitamin D

Moroccan Spiced Mushroom and Butternut Tartlets

Course Main Course
Servings 6


  • 1 tbsp olive oil (+1tsp)
  • 300 g butternut cubed
  • salt and black pepper milled
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger ground
  • 250 g button mushrooms quartered
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 100 g feta crumbled
  • 4 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup dukkah
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • cup smooth cream cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Place the butternut on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roas the butternut for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
  • While the butternut is in the oven heat the rest of the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the ginger and mushrooms and fry for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the feta cheese, fresh coriander and roasted butternut.
  • Cut each sheet of phyllo pastry into 9 squares and brush both sides lightly with olive oil.
  • Arrange 6 squares of pastry ina circular shape in a tartlet tin or muffin pan.
  • Bake the phyllo pastry cases in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
  • Spoon one tablespoon of cream cheese into the base of each tart and top with the mushroom mixture and a sprinkle of dukkah.
  • Return the tarts to the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


From Lexi's Lunch

You can check out some other mushrooms at…

Mushroom Pizza “Meatza”

Bacon, Feta and Spinach Stuffed Portabellos 

Mushroom and Artichoke Salad

Portabello Mushroom and Lemon Ricotta Puff Pastry Tart


Happy cooking!



DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association. The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association provided me with this recipe and associated images. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates, in any way. The fact is, I’m crazy about mushrooms, and want to shout it from the rooftops anyway. 


  1. Phillips KM, Rasor AS. A nutritionally meaningful increase in the vitamin D in retail mushrooms is attainable by exposure to sunlight prior to consumption. Nutrition & Food Sciences 2013; 3 (6):

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