Is there any food more versatile than portobello mushrooms? You can grill them, roast them, pop them in a salad, or make them the centerpiece of your evening meal. They’re the undoubted stars of the fungus world! But what does portobello mushrooms’ nutrition look like?

If you’ve fallen in love with these humble ’shrooms; if you dream of them sitting on your plate, glistening sexily with grill lines emblazoned upon them; or if you find yourself whispering “Agaricus bisporus” as you fall asleep, there’s good news: You may well be getting health benefits for your buck.

We’ve got all the deets on your tasty friend the portobello, including tips, recipes, and just how many health benefits you can expect to get. (Spoiler: It’s pretty awesome!)

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To quote Jennifer Aniston’s shampoo ads: Here comes the science bit!

If you’re looking for the raw data on just what you’re consuming when you chomp down on one portobello ’shroom, chances are you’re going to be pretty pleased by what you see:

NutrientAmount
calories18.5
water78 g
carbs3.25 g
protein1.77 g
sugar2.1 g
fiber1.09 g
fat 0.294 g
potassium306 mg
selenium15.6 µg (28 percent of Daily Value)
niacin3.77 mg (24 percent of Daily Value)
vitamin D8.4 IU

So aside from that low calorie count and all those shiny vitamins and minerals, why else should you be putting portobello mushrooms on your shopping list?

The overwhelming answer is because they (and indeed all mushrooms) contain antioxidants, which help combat free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable atoms that ping around in your body looking for similarly unstable friends. They clump together and start causing mischief and damage. This process is called oxidative stress, and it can lead to all sorts of health conditions you really don’t want, like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Antioxidants may help to ward off oxidative stress — and that makes them, and their mushroom hosts, your new BFFs!

Here are some other ways that noshing on portobello mushrooms might help you out:

  • Preventing cancer. Some research suggests those antioxidants we mentioned could be pretty useful in reducing the risk of cancer. The research is nothing super-concrete yet — more studies are necessary — but the signs are pretty promising.
  • Providing amino acids. These building blocks of proteins play a pretty crucial role in your body. They can give you energy, might help out your immune system, and may even help keep you in a good mood. The really good news? Mushrooms are chock-full of amino acids, so you get all that goodness along with your tasty meal!
  • Boosting your fiber intake. Mushrooms are a good source of fiber, and getting enough fiber is pretty awesome for your body. It helps prevent conditions like diabetes while possibly helping keep your heart healthy. It can even aid in warding off depression. And yeah, it stops you from getting constipated too.

Add to that the vitamin D, iron, potassium, and folic acid (important during pregnancy) in portobello mushrooms and, well, why wouldn’t you eat them?

A portobellissimo meat substitute

Even if you overlook all that science info, it’s easy to see why portobellos are a great choice for those looking to sub out some or all of the animal products in their diets.

All mushrooms are versatile ingredients, but portobellos take the crown in that regard. Sure, you can slice ’em and dice ’em as you would any ’shroom, but the secret weapons in portobellos’ arsenal are their size and flavor.

They have a dense, almost meaty texture and are bursting with a smoky earthiness that goes perfectly with other veggies. So if you’re looking to go meat-free or just cut down on your meat intake, portobello mushrooms make a fantastic meat substitute. They’re becoming increasingly valued for their use as a functional food (i.e. a food that provides health benefits beyond providing nutrients).

You can grill them like steaks to enjoy that roasted flavor while keeping that meat-like texture between your teeth (crunchy veggies get tiresome after a while, right?). They’re also big enough to stuff with cheese or noodles and transform into your main meal.

Fungi are pretty tenacious by nature, and you’ll find that the same goes for your portobello mushrooms: Treat them well, store them in the right way, and prepare to be rewarded with a fresh-tasting ’shroom every time!

Storage

Portobello mushrooms can last about a week in the fridge before they start to go south (look out in case they start to turn slimy or smelly or show signs of mold).

You may be able to extend their life a bit by your choice of packaging. If they came packed in plastic, great! Leave them in there, and they’ll happily do their own thing until you need them.

But if you’re selecting your own, store them in a paper bag or paper towel rather than a plastic bag. Mushrooms kept in a plastic bag will get sweatier than a teenage boy at a screening of a “Fast and Furious” sequel, and that will speed up the decay process. Ew, no.

Prep

Now that you’ve safely stored those cute little mushies, it’s time to brutally chop them up and eat them!

Debate rages in the mushroom community (they’re super fun guys) as to whether they need to be washed before you eat them, but a quick rinse certainly isn’t gonna harm their flavor. Be sure to thoroughly pat them dry with a paper towel.

It’s also up to you whether to scrape out the gills (the brown frilly bits underneath the cap). There doesn’t seem to be any health-related need to kill the gills, but they can discolor other ingredients during cooking.

If you’re going for prime Insta aesthetics, you might want to de-gill-ify your ’shroomies. It also gives you a little more room if you’re stuffing them. Simply remove the gills with a spoon.

Cooking

As for cooking portobello mushrooms, you have a world of choice. As flexible as an Olympic gymnast (you can even use one as a discus), they lend themselves to basically every method of cooking.

There are the ol’ mushroom favorites, like hacking them to pieces and slinging them into a stir-fry or omelet. But for the real portobello experience, you’ll probably want to grill them. Their size makes them a great option for this method, and grilling really brings out that meat-like texture. Nom.

Your ’shrooms are prepped to perfection — now what?

Well, be prepared to marvel at just how much you can do with these low calorie beauties. There really is an option for every meal!

If you’re looking for a healthy, nutrient-infused alternative to meat, you really can’t go wrong with portobello mushrooms. Incredibly versatile and containing only 18.5 calories each, they make an ideal veggie alternative.

Grill them, roast them, stuff them, or sauté them — foodies are already singing their praises and using them in a variety of ways. And when you take a look at portobello mushroom nutrition, it’s easy to see why.

Hop on board the ’shroom train (no, not *that* one). And get yourself involved with some tasty, healthy meals!