Mushrooms are a hugely versatile ingredient rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, contributing to a healthy diet. They come in a wide variety of types, each with its distinct flavor profile and texture.
While most people opt for conventional methods of cooking mushrooms, like sautéing, grilling, or baking, microwave cooking is a quick and energy-efficient alternative. However, to get the most out of this convenience, understanding how to cook mushrooms in the microwave the right way is a must. That’s just what we are going to take a closer look at here.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty of how to cook mushrooms in a microwave, you’ll need to decide just what you’ll be cooking! When it comes to mushrooms, variety truly is the spice of life. The type of mushroom you select will significantly affect the taste and texture of your dish.
Mushrooms abound in variety, each imparting unique tastes and textures to your dishes. Here are a few widely available in the UK:
Chestnut mushrooms: These are similar to white button mushrooms but have a more intense, earthy flavour that adds depth to any dish.
Portobello mushrooms: The mature version of the chestnut mushroom, they are great for grilling and stuffing due to their large cap size and meaty texture.
Shiitake mushrooms: These East Asian natives offer a distinctive umami flavour, excellent for stir-fries, soups, and noodle dishes.
Porcini mushrooms: Also known as ceps in the UK, porcinis are a gourmet choice for their rich, nutty flavour. They’re often found dried rather than fresh.
Oyster mushrooms: With their delicate flavour and velvety texture, oyster mushrooms add a subtle touch to many dishes.
Chanterelles: With a slightly peppery taste, these golden mushrooms are a treat in various dishes.
250g mushrooms of your choice
2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Garlic, parsley, or other herbs and spices
Clean your mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth or paper towel. Never soak them in water as they can become soggy, and who wants soggy mushrooms!
Slice your mushrooms if they are large, like Portobello or chestnut mushrooms. Smaller ones like button mushrooms can be left whole.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the mushrooms, olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper. Toss well to ensure all the mushrooms are evenly coated.
Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plate. If using cling film, make sure to pierce it in a few places for venting.
Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Stir the mushrooms, then microwave for another 2-3 minutes or until they’re cooked to your liking.
Carefully remove the bowl (it’ll be hot), and let the mushrooms stand for a minute or two. Then, they’re ready to be served!
Microwave cooking your mushrooms offers several advantages:
Speed: Microwaving is quicker than conventional cooking methods, saving you time.
Efficiency: It uses less energy than an oven or stovetop, making it an eco-friendly option.
Nutrient retention: Microwaving can help retain more vitamins and minerals as the cooking time is shorter.
However, there are also some disadvantages:
Texture: Microwaving may not provide the same texture as other cooking methods. For example, you won’t get the same caramelisation as you would when sautéing mushrooms.
Taste: The quick cooking process might not allow flavours to develop fully, as they would with slow roasting or simmering.
Uneven cooking: Depending on your microwave’s power, mushrooms might cook unevenly, requiring occasional stirring.
In conclusion, while microwaving mushrooms might not be the traditional method, it’s a handy option for those moments when you’re short on time or lack access to other cooking methods.
Want to get a little more creative with your microwaved mushrooms? Here are some simple yet delicious microwave mushroom recipes that you can whip up in no time:
250g chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice them.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the mushrooms, butter, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss well to ensure even coating.
Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plate. If using cling film, puncture it in a few places for venting.
Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Stir the mushrooms and then microwave for another 2-3 minutes or until they’re tender.
Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave (it will be hot), let the mushrooms stand for a minute or two. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
1 cup Arborio rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (chestnut, shiitake, or your favourite variety)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the Arborio rice, vegetable stock, chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, and dry white wine.
Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 10 minutes.
Stir the mixture, then return it to the microwave. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave (it will be hot). Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Allow the risotto to stand for a few minutes before serving, as it will continue to thicken.
4 large Portobello mushrooms
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the Portobello mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and scrape out the gills to provide more room for stuffing.
In a separate bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create the stuffing.
Stuff each mushroom cap evenly with the cheese and spinach mixture.
Arrange the stuffed mushrooms in a microwave-safe dish, leaving a bit of space between each mushroom to ensure even cooking.
Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe cling film. Remember to puncture a few holes if using cling film to allow steam to escape.
Microwave on high for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the cheese is bubbly.
Allow the mushrooms to stand for a minute or two before serving.
These recipes showcase how versatile and convenient microwaving mushrooms can be, perfect for those who want to enjoy tasty meals without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Yes, virtually all types of mushrooms can be cooked in the microwave. However, larger varieties like Portobello should be sliced or chopped into smaller pieces for even cooking. Always ensure that your mushrooms are cleaned before cooking.
Generally, you do not need to add water when microwaving mushrooms. Mushrooms have a high water content, and they release this moisture when they are cooked. However, if your mushrooms are particularly dry or you want to create a sort of broth, a small amount of water can be added.
Yes, microwaving mushrooms is safe. It’s a quick and efficient way to cook them, and it can help retain more of their nutritional content due to the shorter cooking time.
If your mushrooms are coming out rubbery, it might be because they’re being overcooked. Try reducing the microwave cooking time and ensure they’re in a single layer in the dish to cook more evenly.
The taste of microwaved mushrooms should be very similar to those cooked using other methods. However, microwaving may not allow for the same depth of flavour that you get from methods like sautéing or grilling, which can caramelize the mushrooms and bring out more complex flavours.
Yes, you can reheat microwaved mushrooms, but be careful not to overcook them, as they can become tough and lose their flavour. To reheat, microwave them on a lower power setting until just warmed through.