Why mushrooms are the only meat substitute worth considering

Never have meat-free recipe searches been so high. Whether you’re choosing veggies over meat for a lifestyle, ethical or even a health choice, discovering a tasty alternative is key to making it work. But the question is, can these dishes really satisfy your hunger in the way that juicy steak or a rich Bolognese can?

The short answer is that not all meat substitutes are created equal. 

RELATED: Why mushies are so good for you: Mush-Boom Nutrition

RELATED: Delicious eat-free meals: Mush-Boom vegetarian recipes

Living meat-free: More than you imagined

It’s official: More and more Australians are opting for plant-based diets. 

According to Roy Morgan, “nearly 2.5 million Australians (12.1% of the population) now have diets of which the food is all, or almost all, vegetarian; up from under 2.2 million (11.2%) four years ago in 2014.”

While the reasons for this shift are complex, what we know is that Australians’ average intake of red meat is around 25 per cent higher than recommendations made by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. 

The important shift that needs to be made is to simply make more room on the plate for vegetables and mushrooms, as well as wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Reducing the amount of processed foods consumed such as sausages, salami and bacon is also key.

A balanced diet is important. And mushrooms are the perfect partner in making a shift to reducing meat consumption.

Why mushrooms are mightier (and meatier) than the alternatives

How do you bring a meat-free meal to life? It’s as easy as switching meat for a plant-based alternative. But which one?

“Mushrooms can take on different flavours really well, so it’s easy to swap them for meat in your favourite dishes,” says Gregori Molinaro, head chef at vegan restaurant Bad Hombres. “When mushrooms are prepared and cooked correctly, they can have a meat-like texture.”

We put mushrooms to the test. The contenders: Tofu, cheese and green veggies.

  1. The tofu steak versus the mushroom steak

Tofu is a good source of all nine essential amino acids, but lacks the flavour punch of mushrooms. Mushrooms are lower in calories, saturated fat and higher in fiber than tofu. Plus, their texture is just right for the task at hand. Winner: mushrooms.

  1. BBQ halloumi versus mushroom kabob

Cheese is often pointed to as a great source of protein, essential for giving you that full tummy feeling. But when compared to mushrooms, the fat content, sodium and calorie count of haloumi is off the charts! Winner: mushrooms.

  1. Green veggies versus mushroom salad

Look, we’re not going to tell you not to eat your greens, but try levelling up your veggie salad by tossing in some raw sliced mushrooms: the humble mushroom packs more B2, B3, B5, Zinc and antioxidants than potatoes, carrots, onions, zucchini… even broccoli. Winner: mushrooms.

Chef Gregori Molinaro’s mushroom cooking tips

Now that we know mushrooms are the meat-free warrior you need in your shopping trolley, here’s how to cook with them:

  • Mushrooms are versatile! “They can be steamed, fried, boiled, baked or confit,” says Gregori. 
  • Think mushrooms can only be enjoyed hot? “Mushrooms can be prepared in cold dishes like ceviche and even in patty burgers, they also contrast flavour and texture when combined with everyday recipes like salad.” 
  • Next time burger night is on the menu, “marinate portobello mushrooms in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, then grill them as you would a burger. Serve with caramelised onions and you have a great alternative to a classic meat burger that everyone can enjoy.” 
  • “Personally, I like to prepare mushrooms separately from other items and add them to the recipe when they are cooked, as this highlights the flavour of the mushrooms best,” shares Gregori.

Ready for your next meat-free meal?

Of course you are. Here’s some inspiration to excite your taste buds for every Meat-free Monday and beyond.

We reckon your Mush-Boom dish is going to blow us away. Share it with us on Instagram @mushboom.official or Facebook on mushboom.official.

Can mushrooms pass the 15-minute dinner challenge?

When you’re short on time, hungry (starving, even!) and just want a quick and tasty meal, it’s way too easy to turn to the same ‘ol dishes: a bit of toast at breakfast, a standard sanga, meat and three veg. Apart from being a bit boring – it doesn’t actually even save you time!

When the hungry hoards are screaming or your own belly is rumbling, that quick win in the recipe arsenal is key. The dish you don’t have to think about, that you can whip up in a 15-minute break between Zoom meetings. 

When the hungry hoards are screaming or your own belly is rumbling, that quick win in the recipe arsenal is key. The dish you don’t have to think about, that you can whip up in a 15-minute break between Zoom meetings. 

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There’s only one ingredient that can deliver amazing taste and high nutrition in less than that and it’s almost certainly missing from your repertoire. We set mushrooms the challenge: can they go from fridge to table in less than 15 minutes? 

Fastest dish by an Aussie mile

Whether you’re a whiz in the kitchen or still mastering the craft of cooking, you’ll find mushrooms so easy to work with. Mushrooms have the power to save you precious minutes – sometimes even hours. But can these meals be created in fewer than 15 minutes?

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“Mushrooms can be really quick to cook with. If you’re short on time — and a lot of us are — that convenience is key. You don’t have to sacrifice flavour,” says Emile Avramides, chef and owner at Clove Lane, a modern bistro in Sydney’s east.

When you compare the cooking times of vegetables more traditionally considered ‘convenient’, the difference becomes clear. 

  • To saute potatoes, you’re looking at 20 minutes minimum, including pre-boiling. Mushrooms take half that. 
  • To roast root vegetables like carrots will take at least 30 minutes; mushrooms just 15. 
  • Steaming greens like broccoli takes eight minutes, while a large mushroom like a Portobello takes about five. Smaller varietals, only three!
  • Adding vegetables to salads almost always involves at least one cooking method per ingredient, while mushrooms can be enjoyed raw. 

For all of these cooking techniques, the mushrooms need no preparation, meaning they are the only one that consistently passes the 15-minute dinner challenge!

Mix it up – don’t rely on boring old staples. Change up the repertoire and reach for the mushies – they are simple to cook, taste great and can even be eaten raw

The hidden awesomeness of mushrooms

There’s little point in passing the 15-minute dinner challenge if there isn’t a health benefit, too. Our nutritional testing by National Measurement Institute Independent Nutritional review, confirms that as part of a balanced diet, mushrooms make a fantastic health choice.

Here are the top reasons why mushrooms are just so good for you:

  • Mushrooms are low in kilojoules, but high in nutrients.
  • Packed with vitamin B2, B3 and B5, mushrooms can help maintain energy and wellbeing.
  • Mushrooms are a good source of selenium — an important antioxidant.
  • They are naturally low in sodium – perfect for those managing their blood pressure. 
  • Mushrooms are naturally packed with flavour! 

Mushrooms are also very versatile and work in so many different dishes across different times of the day, as well as in different cuisines and cross cultures – they’re a quick and healthy eating win, no matter where in the world you go!

Australia, it’s time to send in the mushrooms

Feeling inspired? Now it’s your turn! Try your hand at one of these delicious recipes, which we’ve tested and created in 15 minutes or less:

We want to see your finished product. Share your quick Mush-Boom dish with us on social media. Find us on Instagram @mushboom.official or Facebook on @mushboom.official.

New voice for mushrooms to help grow industry blasts off with kabob inferno

In November, Costa launched Mush-Boom, a consumer-facing advocacy brand created to encourage Australians to eat more mushrooms. But throw away any thoughts of ribbon-cuttings or toothpick taste-testers in the supermarket aisle. This is no typical brand launch. 

With this launch, you’ll literally feel the boom. Enter, the Shish-kaBoom mushroom kabob, the spiciest thing to throw on your barbecue this summer. A tear-jerker, heart-pumper, sweat-inducer of a shish-kabob that will have you reaching for the milk, yoghurt, heck, anything you can get your hands on, within seconds of it hitting your mouth. 

With its scorching mix of sriracha, chilli and ground pepper, this skewered mushroom bad boy is set to blow your mind, mouth, and perhaps a little bit of dignity. Insert mind blown emoji here! 

Costa created the recipe specifically for the launch of Mush-Boom and for those game enough to try it, it’s likely to leave a lasting impression. Check out the recipe (if you dare). Shish-Kaboom Mushroom Kabob

Two and a half years in the making, the Mush-Boom brand hits media, supermarkets and independent grocers across the country with said spicy recipe, launch campaign, quirky logo and playful personality. The brand focuses on highlighting the versatility of each mushroom type, backed by a website loaded with recipes, information and inspiration dedicated to rescuing your meals from boring.

“Costa represents up to 45 per cent of the Australian mushroom market, so if we don’t become the ambassador for the mushrooms we grow who will,” says Costa Group Marketing and Innovation Manager – Mushroom Category, Elisa Siliato.

Ms Siliato says the past decade has seen a plateau in buying behaviour.

“Our research looked into barriers to buying mushrooms and a big theme that emerged was lack of education and know how with mushrooms,” she says.  

“With Mush-Boom, we’re going to show everyone just how delicious they are, how versatile they can be, and highlight how incredibly good for you they are.” 

The Mush-Boom campaign centres around adding ‘boom’ to your food — and not just the incredibly spicy kind! Mush-Boom is about rescuing meals from boring with taste, nutrition and fun. 

And as we move into summer, Costa is calling on Australians to make room for mushrooms on the menu. 

“Especially on the barbie this summer — they have such a huge role to play in levelling up nutrition at breakfast, lunch or dinner,” says Ms Siliato.

“This is a seriously underrated food, and a bit of education for consumers, encouraging them to eat more, will not only make a difference to our health and wellbeing, but it will make sure we have a mushroom industry for years to come.

“This is the beginning of the mushie movement. Here comes the boom!”

For more information, contact the team at Mush-Boom.

End the mushroom war! It’s easier than you think to get your kids to enjoy the awesome flavour of mushrooms

Jodie Fairweather @bondi_mumma

When it comes to getting the healthy stuff into the mouths of fussy eaters, it feels as though the war is never won.

As a mum, I’ve worked hard to create delicious recipes that not only bring my family together after a big day, but also serve up the necessary veggies that my kids need to stay healthy and happy – including Vitamin D and B packed mushrooms, the often unheralded superstars of the weekly shop.

It’s no secret that my Maltese heritage and culture is all about homemade cooking, flavour and kitchen creations. Growing up, cooking in the kitchen with my mum and nanna had such a positive impact on my life, so much so that I always try to pass these much-loved family traditions onto my kids.

I’d tried everything from zucchini to carrots, kale to pumpkin. That was until my eldest son, Hugo, added tasty little white cup mushrooms to his weekend breakfast cook-up, and hasn’t looked back since.

Send in the mushrooms!

As soon as I mention the “V” word (“vegetables”), the kids decide that they’re no longer hungry. Let’s be real, the two fussy eaters of the family go to battle when I ask them to eat a single pea, so getting them to stomach a high-protein veggie (actually, a fungus – but don’t say that in front of the kids!) was set to be a challenge.

That was until Hugo became the Masterchef in the kitchen on weekends and introduced his tasty brekkie cook up, with the starring ingredient – yep, you guessed it – mushrooms!

Tossed in a pan with garlic, lemon, and fresh thyme, Hugo’s mushroom dish is served on toast with goat’s cheese, alongside scrambled eggs. It’s SO tasty. This awesome mushy dish has become a weekly event in our home and is something that Hugo looks forward to dishing up after a big week at school. And, it was a game changer.

Ready to try cooking super tasty meals with mushrooms?

Recipe: Chipotle mushroom tacos

Recipe: Delicious meat-free meals

“Every weekend, we’re now seeing Hugo not only cook the mushrooms, but eat them, too! Yum!”


How to bring the mushroom-boom

I’ve been slipping in mushrooms to my veggie-packed Bolognese sauce, sausage rolls and slow-cooked lambs shanks for a while now, which my kids are none the wiser about.

Blitzing around eight veg – carrot, celery, zucchini, onion, garlic and a handful of spinach and mushrooms – means that it’s packed with flavour.

No one’s noticed, which I confidently call a complete success, and I feel comfortable knowing that my fussy eaters are getting enough vitamin B and D in their diets.

Week after week, the kids have been eating their mushrooms, and the stress of giving the kids food that tastes great and is actually good for them has been lifted.

“Making sure that mushrooms are on the menu, even if the kids don’t realise it, means that their developing palettes will soon be open to sampling mushies in all their amazing varieties – Portobellos here we come!”


Mushrooms: The key ingredient in family faves

The world is truly your mushroom! There’s no task too big or too small when it comes to incorporating these guys into your everyday cooking. Here’s some of the best (and easiest) dishes to add them to:

  1. Veggie-packed bolognese: Create your own version using any mushrooms and veggies you have in the fridge – large flat white or brown mushrooms, Swiss for some extra flavour – the key is to chop them finely or blitz up in your blender. You can even now get mushroom mince pre-prepared at some supermarkets, if you don’t own a blender. An easy win with fussy eaters.
  1. Slow cooked wonders: try adding your fave brown mushrooms to that staple stroganoff recipe – just phase down the meat, and up the mushies. It adds a delicious flavour to your meal (and the kids won’t notice).
  2. Mushroom stir fry: A meat-free Monday winner: try replacing your traditional beef with protein-packed mushrooms and tofu. Delicious, and healthy. 4. And of course, Hugo’s big breakfast: Create your own version, but include mushies on the side! Hugo’s confidence in cooking has skyrocketed because he has discovered fresh ingredients that he not only loves to cook with, but eat too! 

“Seeing my son shine in the kitchen while cooking with quality ingredients that are as tasty as they are healthy is something I’m so proud of.”


The summer of mushrooms

So, with the sunny days of summer finally here, I’ve decided to take a leaf out of Hugo’s book and start using this deliciously healthy, uniquely tasty ingredient as inspiration in more of my family’s meals.

And, if that doesn’t work, I’ll sneak them into some Bolognese sauce and pretend it never happened.

Follow Jodie Fairweather on Instagram @bondi_mumma

Mushrooms should be a part of every meal. Discover the pros and more pros of eating mushrooms.

LUKE HINES @lukehinesonline

Dropping a bombshell like this doesn’t come lightly. Yep, I said it, blow up your next meal, heck every next meal, and take your health to the next level with Mush-Boom mushrooms! 

There’s a whole bunch of reasons why mushrooms need to be in your trolley at every shop. Let’s start with the most important one.

That mushroom taste, texture and flavour… Boom!

First off, they TASTE amazing. And let’s be honest, when it comes to food it’s ALL about the taste. And if you’re one of those coriander cursing, decaf drinking, mushroom hatin’ mofos, you’re clearly not doing mushrooms right. And you CLEARLY haven’t tried my Mushroom nuggets, but we will get to those shortly.

Ya see, the thing with mushrooms, it’s not how big they are, it’s how you use them. So be brave, add herbs, add spice, add texture, add crunch. Like anything in life, if it’s not enjoyable, you’re not going to look forward to doing it, or in this case, eating it.

First off, they TASTE amazing. And let’s be honest, when it comes to food it’s ALL about the taste. And if you’re one of those coriander cursing, decaf drinking, mushroom hatin’ mofos, you’re clearly not doing mushrooms right. And you CLEARLY haven’t tried my Mushroom nuggets, but we will get to those shortly. Ya see, the thing with mushrooms, it’s not how big they are, it’s how you use them. So be brave, add herbs, add spice, add texture, add crunch. Like anything in life, if it’s not enjoyable, you’re not going to look forward to doing it, or in this case, eating it.

Experiment with mushrooms until you find the ultimate flavour combination that will have you sliding into their DMs and coming back for more (yes, mushrooms are on Instagram now).

LUKE HINES @lukehinesonline

Fact: mushrooms are good for you

As a cook, flavour is obviously king, but it would be remiss of me not to put my Functional Nutritionist hat on for a second *puts hat on* and talk about the incredible health benefits of mushies. Put frankly, we are what we eat, and mushrooms are unlike anything else we eat, meaning they’re even more important than ever to get into our meals. Mushrooms contain such a unique blend of vitamins, minerals and good bacteria that they almost deserve to be their own food group.

Here’s my favourite stand-out nutritional benefits of mushrooms to whet your palate:

  • Antioxidants: Aunty who?! Antioxidants fight against free radical damage and environmental stress, which can lead to aging. So put the Botox down and eat a mushroom.
  • B Vitamins: These are actually some of my favourite vitamins because they are responsible for promoting epic heart health, optimal digestion and supporting your nervous system.
  • Potassium: Ya know how everyone harps on about bananas being the queens of potassium? Well move over B1 and B2 because 2/3 cup of cooked Portobellos has as much potassium as a medium banana, which helps support muscle and nerve function.
  • Good Bacteria: yes, let’s leave the bad bacteria for that kitchen dish cloth that really needs a good wash, and focus on the good bacteria in mushrooms. These beneficial bacteria support a healthy gut microbiome, which is responsible for supporting overall health, in particular our immune system.

Other healthy mushroom recipes to try:

“If these mighty mushroom stats don’t convince you to make mushrooms a part of your every day, the fact that they are ‘Versatile AF’ (AF stand for As Fungi!), should be reason enough!”

LUKE HINES @lukehinesonline

Mushroom Newbies 101

Mushrooms make an incredible addition to every meal of the day; think mushrooms on toast for breakfast, grilled mushroom salad for lunch, or mushroom steaks for dinner.

If you’re only just new to all this and dipping your toe into the water with mushrooms, the perfect way to get started is by utilising them as part of Meat Free Monday each week. Maybe it’s using mushroom mince instead of beef mince and making some epic tacos or nachos. They make the ultimate meat replacement due to their incredible texture and taste, which brings me to my favourite way to enjoy mushrooms…

Mushroom Nuggets

This recipe will convince even the toughest mushroom critic, and get the whole family over the line. They’re golden brown, crunchy, crispy, light and delicious. Bring these out at your next summer gathering and everyone will think you’re a really Fun-gi… I mean, FUN GUY!

Mushroom nuggets with barbecue sauce


100 g (1 cup) almond meal

2 teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

750 ml (3 cups) coconut cream

120 g (1 cup) arrowroot or tapioca flour

400g loose cup or brown mushrooms, whole

Coconut, avocado or macadamia oil or oil spray, for coating

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Easy barbecue sauce

3 tablespoons hulled tahini

75 g tomato paste

1 teaspoon maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

11⁄2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

11⁄2 teaspoons molasses

3 drops liquid smoke, or to taste, optional

sea salt, to taste

1⁄2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)

3 tablespoons filtered water, plus extra if needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Mix the almond meal, chilli powder, garlic powder, paprika and ground spices in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix together the coconut cream and arrowroot or tapioca flour to make a thick batter. In batches, dunk the mushrooms in the coconut cream batter to coat evenly, then toss it in the almond meal mixture. Transfer to a prepared tray and repeat with the rest of the florets.
  3. When all the mushies are ready, drizzle or give them a gentle spray with oil. Bake for 25–30 minutes, turning halfway and drizzling or re-spraying with oil if you wish, until golden brown and crisp.
  4. Meanwhile, for the barbecue sauce, blitz together all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender until really smooth. If the sauce is a little thick, add an extra splash of water.
  5. Remove the crispy mushroom nuggets from the oven and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with barbecue sauce.

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