Mushrooms are an often overlooked and under-appreciated food. Traditional and alternative medicine practitioners have embraced mushrooms for their medicinal properties and deliciousness. Mushrooms are low in calories and fat, and contain modest amounts of fiber and are loaded with nutrients. One of the most interesting properties of mushrooms are their non-nutritive plant substances—polysaccharides, indoles, polyphenols, and carotenoids in which cell and animal studies have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects.
Mushrooms are one of my favorite ingredients because of their versatility and ability to create savory rich flavors called umami. This flavor profile is due to the presence of an amino acid called glutamate, which is also found in meats, fish, and cheese.
Considered a vegetable, mushrooms are actually neither plant nor animal. They are a type of fungus that contains a substance called ergosterol, similar in structure to cholesterol in animals. The texture and flavors of mushrooms make them a good substitute for meat, or a delicious and nutritious addition to your favorite recipes.
This recipe can be made vegan by substituting a high quality vegan cream cheese, such as Miyokos brand.
Hearts Of Palm Pasta With Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 24 oz Palmini or other brand of hearts of palm pasta
- 1 lb Fresh mushrooms cleaned, trimmed and sliced
- 5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 8 oz Cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 tbsp Dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 cup Chopped parsley
Prepare hearts of palm pasta by draining and rinsing well.
Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel, trim ends and thinly slice.
In a large skillet heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt.
Sauté until mushrooms release their liquid and begin to brown. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Add pieces of cream cheese to mushroom mixture, gently stirring to melt cream cheese.
Stir hearts of palm pasta into cream cheese mushroom mixture and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Gently combine.
Plate 4 servings of pasta and top each with chopped parsley.