Believe it or not, mushrooms make vitamin D from the sun, just like our bodies do. So, while we’re spending lots of time outdoors enjoying the sunshine we are also eating more mushrooms. Mushroom and artichoke salad is a great way to get in more mushrooms.Jump to Recipe
A funny story…
When Lexi was a toddler I could give her anything to taste and she would try it. She tried all kinds of exotic foods! This backfired on me though when she was 2 years old and had bad flu. She was feverish and struggling to eat and drink because of a blocked nose. She hadn’t eaten and I was getting worried. I asked her what she wanted to eat and promised to get her anything she wanted. Her answer… artichoke! That afternoon I dutifully went to the supermarket, paid a fortune for some marinated artichokes, and Lexi finally ate something.
Of course, artichokes were a great choice. They are packed with powerful nutrients. Artichokes have around 4 grams of protein — above average for plant-based foods. And to top it off, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables.
That’s why we think mushroom and artichoke salad is one of the best food combinations around.
Why vitamin D is important
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.
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 are 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 inlcude oily fish, eggs and mushrooms and mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D.
Mushroom and artichoke salad
Mushroom & Artichoke Salad
- 500 g white button mushrooms
- 60 ml apple cider vinegar
- 60 ml olive oil
- ¼ red onion finely diced
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- handful fresh coriander
- 200 g feta cheese
- 1 mediteranean cucumber
- 100 g radish
- 1 tin artichoke hearts
- 80 g mixed baby leaves
- handful pumpkin seeds
- Slice button mushrooms into quarters and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle the mushrooms with the vinegar, olive oil, chilli, oregano, and a good amount of salt and pepper.
- Roughly chop the coriander and add that long with the red onion to the bowl.
- Toss well and set aside.
- Using a mandolin (or a very sharp knife) slice ribbons of cucumber and thin rounds of radish.
- Drain the artichoke hearts.
- Add the cucumber ribbons, radish, and artichoke hearts to the large bowl of marinating mushrooms. Give everything else a gentle toss.
- Arrange baby leaves in a large, shallow salad bowl. Top with the dressed mushrooms and vegetable mix.
- Finally, crumble over the feta and finish with pumpkin seeds for crunch.
For the adults at the table, I recommend pairing this recipe with Cape Fynbos Gin.
50ml Cape Fynbos Gin
150ml pink tonic water
fresh sprigs of local fynbos (they’re easy to grow!)
Place the gin in the freezer for a few hours to cool before making your salad. Or… Fill a shaker with ice and quickly shake the gin over ice to cool. Pour into a coupe and top with a pink tonic. Garnish with fresh fynbos.
Perfect for a hot summer’s evening, this fresh summer mushroom and artichoke salad is well complemented by the floral bouquet of Cape Fynbos Gin. The earthy tones from the mushrooms and the mild lemony taste from the artichokes harmonise and add complexity to this Gin and Tonic. The Cape Fynbos Gin’s sweet smoothness works well with the acidity of the dressing, creating a sumptuous pairing.