SAN JOSÉ, Calif. – Blending finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat enhances flavor and nutrition, according to a new study from the Culinary Institute of America and Univ. of California-Davis. The study, which explored the flavor-enhancing properties of mushrooms, was published in the Journal of Food Science.

The study provides the basis for how mushrooms and meat can combine for healthier alternatives to iconic American dishes. A traditional ground meat recipe, the study relays, prepared with 50 percent mushrooms and 50 percent meat can reduce calorie intake, while adding nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, b-vitamins and antioxidants; enhance the overall flavor, because of double the impact of umami; and maintain flavor while reducing sodium intake by 25 percent.

"Mushrooms have really come into their own as a solution to changing dietary patterns, earning their place on the plate with their nutrient quality, flavor impacts and incredible functionality across the menu," said Greg Drescher, study co-author and vice president of strategic initiatives and industry leadership at The Culinary Institute of America.

Blending finely chopped mushrooms and ground meat together allows consumers to enjoy healthier alternative versions of well-liked recipes such as burgers, tacos, meatballs, meatloaf and pasta sauces without sacrificing taste. Blendability is served on menus from fine-dining establishments to street festivals and Ivy League to elementary school cafeterias, the researchers pointed out.

The Mushroom Council consists of fresh market producers or importers who average more than 500,000 lbs. of mushrooms produced or imported annually. The mushroom program is authorized by the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1990 and is administered by the Mushroom Council under the supervision of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.