Are Mushrooms Gluten Free? Answers and Recipes

  • Mushrooms are a common favorite, – among both meat eaters and non-meat eaters.
  • They are fleshy fungi in different varieties.
  • Inherently, mushrooms are gluten free.
  • But if they are grown on rye or wheat straw, they may have traces of gluten.

Are mushrooms gluten free? That’s the real question here. Sure, you could say it’s a vegetable so it must be gluten free right? Well, not so fast, read below to learn all there is about gluten free mushrooms and also a few recipes choices to try.

Everybody loves mushrooms. They are fleshy and flavorsome. People who have recently given up on meat but still miss the texture of chunky fat at every bite absolutely love them.

But you don’t really have to give up on meat to appreciate the beauty of different types of mushrooms. They bring their distinctive taste and texture to the plate. But are mushrooms gluten free? That’s the real question.

Since mushrooms are fungi and have no relationship with gluten-containing grains, they are supposed to be naturally gluten free.

However, the story doesn’t end here. The plot twist is that mushrooms can grow on straw, including rye and wheat straw. So, they may have tiny amounts of gluten.

The quantity may not be too much but can harm someone who is extremely sensitive. 

Are Mushrooms Gluten Free? What Are Mushrooms

are mushrooms gluten free
via nzherald

You’d think that mushrooms are nothing but fresh vegetables. After all, they aren’t grains, and gluten comes from grains, right? But, mushrooms farmed for consumption are often grown on straw.

It’s the easiest way to get started in this business. Even though mushrooms, as a fungus, are naturally free from gluten content, their growth on the straws of glutinous grains can change the game. 

So, even though there shouldn’t be a question about plain mushrooms being inherently gluten free, it’s the farming or growth technique that can add gluten content to them.

Unfortunately, this gluten content that comes from rye or wheat straws remains inside the mushroom. So, you will not be able to wash mushrooms gluten away.

Different mushroom varieties have been tested, and it has been found that the gluten content is around 5 ppm, which is way below the permitted limit, i.e., 20 ppm.

But if you’re severely sensitive, even a small amount of gluten can trigger reactions. The gluten content may be higher, too. Besides, many people have reported allergic reactions after consuming mushrooms. 

In addition, cross-contamination is also a possibility. So, if trace gluten makes you sick, then mushrooms grown on straws of wheat or rye grains may make you unwell.

Thus, even though mushrooms are not naturally glutinous, it’s the farming process can be problematic for you. It is a good idea to find out how the mushrooms have been grown before you buy them. 

Related: Does baked beans contain gluten | Is corned beef gluten free

Making Sure Mushrooms Don’t Hurt You

You must remember, though, that the traces of gluten in mushrooms is usually extremely small. Many people who are allergic to gluten enjoy this healthy and delicious veggie without any problem at all.

But it is difficult to say with surety how your body will react to the possible trace gluten in mushrooms. You can try to consume small amounts of mushrooms to see how it works for you.    

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To know if the mushrooms you’re about to buy have gluten or not, the best thing to do is to find out about their growth procedure.

Some mushrooms grow directly on the straw, while others may grow on wood. So, ask questions at the farmers’ market or the online store to know more. Also, make sure that you buy nothing but the freshest mushrooms for minimum gluten content.

Problematic Farming Of Mushrooms 

Whether the mushroom will have gluten content or not will depend on the farm and the farming process. So, to find out more about this, it’s a good idea to buy your mushrooms from the farmers’ market so that you can find out more about their growth process.   

Gluten gets introduced into the mushrooms based on the ingredients used in farming. As we mentioned before, straws of wheat or rye plants, as well as wheat bran, can be the key reason behind mushrooms becoming glutinous, when they are allowed to grow on the straws of such gluten grains. 

A few farms use the leftover pulp from making beer. This is called Brewer’s Grain. This is yet another reason why mushrooms can end up with traces of gluten.

One of these, or their combination, maybe in the farming process, along with other items like soy meal, corn cobs, gypsum, etc. 

These may be added to the soil that is then composted for the mushrooms to grow. That apart, hardwood sawdust and millets may also be used. Then there are some mushrooms that cannot be farmed on the straw at all. 

So, the concern here is that mushrooms can grow on the gluten-containing substrate. During their growth, some mushrooms do not really touch the gluten-bearing part of the substrate.

In fact, according to farmers, the part of mushrooms we eat may not grow directly on the substrate. 

In the case of certain mushrooms like crimini, white button, or portobello, they grow on a thick peat moss layer with limestone, which is applied on the top layer of the substrate to reserve water for the mushrooms. These mushrooms do not come in touch with the gluten layer at all.    

Some mushrooms, like the shiitake, grow on wooden blocks only. Then there are the wild mushrooms that grow on decaying matter through a natural process. So, in both of these cases, there’s no chance of the fungi developing gluten content in them. 

Some mushrooms are farmed in bags. In this process, the spores are put in a bag containing the substrate. This bag has holes in it, and the mushrooms start to grow out of these holes. That also means that they grow directly on the soil.    

All these details play their roles in making mushrooms glutinous. So, it’s essential for you to find out about the farming conditions of the mushrooms.

Unlike store-bought items that come with a label, fresh mushrooms’ gluten content can only be speculated based on freshness and farming conditions.

Will Washing Get Rid of the Gluten?

Mushrooms may contain gluten because of growing on gluten-bearing substrate, or because of cross-contamination, i.e., being handled in an environment that has gluten.

If it’s cross-contamination, then the gluten content can be washed off the mushrooms. 

However, if the mushrooms are farmed on glutinous soil or gluten grain straw, the gluten content will be infused in the mushrooms.

Read More:  Does Chicken Broth Have Gluten? Info and Recipe

So, you cannot be wash away this sticky protein from these fungi. If you’re super-sensitive to gluten, washing will definitely not help you.

Gluten Free Mushroom Recipes

Mushrooms are healthy and delicious, and to make sure that you get to enjoy them in a healthy way, here are a few delicious recipes that contain no gluten!

Gluten Free Mushroom Bolognese Sauce 

are mushrooms gluten free
Illustration only, results may look different

If you’re a fan of Italian food, then you’ll love this delicious recipe. It’s the traditional bolognese recipe – with vegetarian and gluten free twist!

Even non-vegetarians will love this mushroomy deliciousness. Check out the recipe!  

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Carrot (Small) – 1 piece
  • Celery stalk (small) – 1 piece
  • Onion (small) – 1 piece
  • Mushroom – 500 grams
  • Dry red wine – ½ cup
  • Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
  • Tomato puree – 2 ¼ cup
  • Salt – To taste
  • Pepper – To taste
  • Bay leaves – 2 pieces
  • Whole milk – ⅓ cup 

Instructions

  • Chop the carrot, onion, and celery finely. Make sure that they are not too small, or they’ll turn into a mush. 
  • Chop half the mushrooms into large chunks and the rest into fine pieces. Set them aside. 
  • Take a large pot and set it on medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic into it and put the chopped vegetables, except the mushrooms. 
  • Cook covered on low heat until the onion is transparent. 
  • Next, raise the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes.     
  • Set the heat to high and pour in the red wine. Cook till the alcohol is evaporated. You’ll be able to tell when you notice that the liquid has evaporated. 
  • Bring the heat down to medium and add the tomato puree and paste. Add salt, pepper, and bay leaves. 
  • Let the sauce cook until it starts to boil. Now bring the heat down to low and cook the sauce, covered. Don’t forget to stir it now and then. 
  • Let the sauce cook for around 30 minutes. Raise the heat slightly in the last 5 minutes and stir regularly.
  • Remove the bay leaves and pour the milk into the sauce. Stir it well and turn off the heat.     

Your mushroom bolognese sauce is ready. Serve it on gluten free pasta and enjoy with friends and family!

Gluten Free Barbecued Mushrooms and Feta 

via flickr

Who says barbecues are only for meat-lovers? Here’s your chance to cook the most delicious barbecued mushrooms. Who knows?

You might just never want to eat anything else, ever again1 Check out this incredible recipe using shitake and Swiss mushrooms!   

Ingredients:

  • Shiitake mushrooms – 300 gm
  • Swiss mushrooms – 200 grams
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic – 2 cloves (crushed)
  • Balsamic vinegar – ⅓ cup
  • Salad greens (mixed) – 150 grams
  • Parsley (flat leaves) – ½ cup
  • Feta (crumbled) – 75 grams  

Instructions:

  • Wash the mushrooms and pat the water off with kitchen towels. If they are large, cut them into halves. 
  • Take a bowl and put the mushrooms in it. Add olive oil, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, and garlic to the bowl and toss everything together.
  • Lightly grease your chargrill and heat it on high flame. When it turns hot, put the mushrooms and cook them for 3-4 minutes. Don’t forget to toss them now and then.
  • In a bowl, put the salad greens, along with the parsley leaves, and add the remaining balsamic vinegar. Toss the leaves to coat them in the balsamic vinegar. 
  • Place the leaves in separate plates and put the mushrooms. Top each plate with feta.   
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Your delicious mushroom is ready! You can make a whole meal of it, especially if you’re on a low-carb diet!  

Vegan Grain-Free Stuffed Mushrooms

Here’s a gourmet-style vegan recipe involving mushrooms, which is delicious. Everyone will love the textures and flavors created by the fleshy mushrooms, crunchy walnuts, creamy spinach, and chewy sun-dried tomatoes! Check it out!    

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms – 700 grams
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Parsley (fresh, roughly chopped) – ¼ cup
  • Bell pepper (small, chopped finely) – 1 piece  
  • Shallot (small, chopped finely) – 1 piece
  • Garlic – 2 cloves (minced finely)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (diced finely) – ¼ cup
  • Walnuts (chopped roughly) – ¾ cup
  • Baby spinach (chopped finely) – 1 cup 
  • Salt – To taste
  • Pepper – To taste

Instructions:

  • Start by preheating your oven to 375 F.
  • Then, pull the stems out from the bottom of the mushrooms. Dice the stems and set them aside. 
  • Now, brush the whole mushroom tops with some olive oil and place them upside down in a baking tray. Bake the mushrooms for 8-10 minutes.
  • Take a medium pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Now add a tablespoon of oil to it and start sauteing the shallots and garlic. 
  • Set aside a small amount of the bell peppers for garnishing and add the rest of it to the pan, along with the sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Continue to saute them for around 3 minutes, after which they will start to soften. 
  • Next, add the parsley, chopped walnuts, and chopped mushroom stems into the pan and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Now, put the baby spinach into the pan, and once they start to wilt, add salt and pepper.
  • By this time, the mushrooms should be cooked. So, take them out of the oven and remove the water that might have accumulated. 
  • Spoon some of the mixture that you cooked into each of the mushrooms. 
  • Now, bake the mushrooms with the fillings for another 10-12 minutes. 

The stuffed mushrooms are ready! Sprinkle the fresh bell peppers on the top and serve them warm!

Conclusion:

Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as proteins and good carbs. They help break down carbs, proteins, and fats. It’s a staple for non-meateaters on a diet.

Remember Katy Perry’s 14-day M-Diet in which one meal a day is replaced with a mushroom-rich meal to get into shape? 

Don’t forget that there’s a wide variety of mushrooms with different flavors and textures. Plus, even when mushrooms are farmed on gluten-bearing soil directly, the traces of gluten in them are usually too low to affect someone whose gluten allergy is low-level. It only affects those who are super-sensitive to gluten. 

So, it’s a good idea to find out the growth process and farming conditions of the mushrooms before buying them.

This will help you understand if the mushrooms have the chance of containing gluten. It’s best to buy fresh mushrooms from farmers’ markets where your queries can be answered directly.

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.