I’ve made a recent discovery: mushrooms can be a valuable source of dietary vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for so many systems in the body and is especially important for hormone health, in fact, vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin. Vitamin D is important to regulate insulin and thyroid hormones, its also been shown to help regulate irregular menstrual cycles. The best form of vitamin D comes directly from the sun (without sunscreen as this inhibits vitamin D absorption) I’ve not been very concerned about my vitamin D since I lived in the tropics for the past 10 years and we had warm weather and sunshine all the time. But since moving further south 18 months ago, I am starting to worry that I’m not getting enough vitamin D in winter. Although the days aren’t overly cold, its still cold enough for me to want to spend more time indoors, plus it can rain for days on end down here in the winter.
Most mushrooms are not a significant source of vitamin D, due to the way they are grown commercially, but allowing mushrooms to sit in the sun will help them absorb more vitamin D. In fact, when mushrooms are given enough sunlight, they can potentially provide 100% of the vitamin D you need in a day, at least that is what I have read online. I would say the level of vitamin D would vary a lot depending on various factors. I have actually seen a new type of mushroom at the supermarkets called “vitamin D mushrooms” these look identical to normal white mushrooms but have been grown in the sun. You can actually just place your mushrooms in the sun after you buy them, upside down any time from 10 am -3 pm to give them a little extra vitamin D. You can leave them in the sun for 30 min to an hour. I’m honestly not that sure how much this would do? but if you struggle with vitamin D I don’t see how it could hurt?
I love mushrooms, but my toddler does not. I’m not surprised at this as many kids reject the squishy mushroom texture. However, he absolutely loved these meatballs! they taste a lot like veggie patties which are a huge hit in our family. I added some smoked salt in this recipe which was delicious, but you can add smoked paprika instead to give a slightly smoky flavour. The mushroom balls use flax eggs instead of real eggs. I used to avoid recipes using flax eggs as I found it incredibly difficult to ground-up my flax seeds. I use the high setting on my Vitamix to grind flax seeds in large amounts now. I will do 2 cups at a time and store them in the freezer. This is the best option so that the flax seeds do not oxidize and therefore you can get all the nutrition out of them (tryptophan and ALA Omega 3) but it’s also great because they don’t actually freeze so you can use them straight away without waiting for them to defrost, it works exactly the same as fresh.
I’ve also tried my hand at making my first vegan gravy. I’ve actually never made any type of gravy before and to be honest I’m not sure I’ve eaten it before either? The gravy wasn’t a thing in my culture and I’ve always been a bit grossed out by it. This gravy did add a wonderful saltiness to the mushrooms balls though. We love to have these neat balls with mashed potatoes. But you can serve them with whatever you like, they would also work really nicely in a linguine pasta recipe.
|Vegan Mushroom Meatballs with Vegan Gravy|| |
- MUSHROOM BALLS:
- 1 red onion
- 1½ cups diced white mushrooms or mushrooms of choice
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free if necessary)
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 flax eggs (2 TBSP ground flax seeds mixed with 6 TBSP water)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp salt
- pinch pepper
- 1 tsp smoked salt/smoked paprika
- VEGAN GRAVY
- ⅛ cup vegan butter
- ⅛ cup wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ TBSP tamari
- ½ cup soy milk
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the mushroom balls, dice onion and mushrooms and cook in a pan until all the water has evaporated. Place mushroom and onion mixture in a food processor along with all the other mushroom ball ingredients. Blitz until the mixture sticks together. Roll into balls of desired size and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes at 200 C. You will know when they are ready when they look dry and slightly cracked on the tops.
- For the gravy: mix all the gravy ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together with a whisk. Heat over low heat on the stove until the mixture starts to thicken and look shiny.
- Serve gravy on top of mushroom balls with mashed potatoes or pasta