The thing I love most about these healthy balsamic mushrooms is the depth of flavor they have for being such a simple recipe.
Mushrooms on their own are very umami. And then add several layers of flavor to them and you'll keep going back for bite after bite, especially when they're added to risotto or spaghetti squash pizza boats.
Not only are these balsamic mushrooms naturally gluten-free, but they're also dairy-free and vegan.
When it comes to mushrooms, it seems like you either love 'em or hate em'. I will say that how you cook and season them really does make all the difference. Keep reading to learn how to avoid soggy mushrooms with my helpful tips below.
Ingredients for Healthy Balsamic Mushrooms
This recipe uses just a few simple ingredients and takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish (including prep time).
Here's what you'll need:
- extra virgin olive oil. For cooking the mushrooms.
- shallots (optional). The shallots add a soft onion flavor and help to create depth.
- garlic. The fresh garlic adds little bursts of flavor.
- mushrooms. Cremini, baby portobellos, or wild mushroom varieties are best for both flavor and texture.
- balsamic vinegar. The vinegar makes it slightly sweet, yet bold and tangy.
- coconut aminos. This adds more umami flavor and a hint of salty-sweetness.
- dijon mustard. The mustard helps to cut through some of the sweetness from the coconut aminos and balsamic vinegar.
- thyme. The thyme adds some earthiness.
- salt and pepper.
Make It Your Way: Ingredient Substitutions
Please remember that recipes are meant to be used as guides.
How can you make these healthy balsamic mushrooms using what you already have? Here are some ideas…
- No thyme? ➝ Fresh or dried herbs that work well with mushrooms are basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley (flat-leaf), rosemary, sage, tarragon, or thyme.
- No balsamic vinegar? ➝ The next best thing to use is sherry vinegar for a similar flavor profile.
- No dijon mustard? ➝ Use whole grain mustard or leave it out completely.
- No coconut aminos? ➝ For a similar flavor, sub soy sauce or tamari (to keep it gluten-free). Because soy sauce is saltier than coconut aminos, don't add any salt.
Preparing the Mushrooms
WASHING THE MUSHROOMS
There's a huge debate about the best way to wash mushrooms. Some argue that the best way to clean the dirt off is to take a damp paper towel or cloth and delicately clean the dirt off.
The damp cloth people think that running mushrooms under water (as you would any other vegetable) will turn them into a sponge.
I've done both ways and haven't noticed much of a difference, so for the sake of time and patience, I run them under cold water while gently wiping the dirt off with my fingers. Easy peasy.
As for the sponginess, avoid soaking them in a bowl of water and you'll be good to go.
Let's not make cooking more complicated than it needs to be, shall we?
CUTTING THE MUSHROOMS
You can really slice the mushrooms to whatever thickness you desire. I prefer mine on the thinner side, but if you're all about the thick mushrooms, you do you!
Keep in mind, the thinner the mushrooms are, the less time they take to cook and the crispier they'll be.
COOKING THE MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms have a high water content. When you first add the mushrooms to the pan, it'll look like a large quantity. However, they cook down significantly so this is something to keep in mind if you're thinking of halving the recipe.
How to Make Balsamic Mushrooms
1. In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, cook until the mushrooms have cooked down (about 5 minutes).
2. While the mushrooms are cooking, stir together the balsamic vinegar, coconut aminos, dijon mustard, minced garlic, shallot (if using), and thyme.
3. Once the mushrooms have started to brown, and the water released from them has cooked off, add the sauce mixture and continue to stir occasionally.
4. Continue cooking the mushrooms until they've soaked up most of the sauce (about 5 minutes).
5. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Tips for Cooking the Best Mushrooms
As I previously mentioned, mushrooms have a very high water content, so to avoid getting soggy mushrooms, follow these easy tips.
- Once you've washed the dirt off, make sure to dry your mushrooms as much as possible. Extra moisture = sogginess.
- Cooking at a higher heat means the extra water that has released from the mushrooms will cook-off. Avoid cooking the mushrooms at low heat. Low and slow is not ideal for the best texture.
- Salt the mushrooms after they've cooked. Although typically in cooking, you should salt a dish throughout the cooking process, avoid cooking mushrooms this way. Salt helps release moisture, which is what we want to avoid.
How to Store & Freeze Mushrooms
These balsamic mushrooms last up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
If your mushrooms are about to go off and you need to use them up, cook them first before freezing.
The easiest way to freeze this recipe is to put the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet or tray until frozen and then move them to a freezer-safe container or reusable silicone bag.
Using the tray or pan initially prevents a solid brick of frozen mushrooms from forming. When ready to use, there's no need to thaw first, just add directly to your pan.
Healthy Recipes to Enjoy These Mushrooms With
These healthy sauteed balsamic mushrooms can be enjoyed as a side dish or scooped up with chips (so good), but when you're feeling a little fancier, here's what you can make with them...
- Spaghetti squash pizza boats
- Dairy-free pizza
- Creamy dairy-free risotto
- Italian pasta salad (dairy-free) or pasta with caramelized onions
- Healthy breakfast hash
- Topping for toast or grilled chicken
There are so many options!
Healthy Balsamic Mushrooms
- In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, cook until the mushrooms have cooked down (about 5 minutes).
- While the mushrooms are cooking, stir together the balsamic vinegar, coconut aminos, dijon mustard, minced garlic, shallot (if using), and thyme.
- Once the mushrooms have started to brown and the water released from them has cooked off, add the sauce mixture and continue to stir occasionally.
- Continue cooking the mushrooms until they've soaked up most of the sauce (about 5 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.