Exotic Mushroom Basket from Diamond Organics

Mushrooms have become an increasingly popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Hispanic-Americans generally favor two varieties: “white mushrooms” (most likely button mushrooms) and portabellas, according to a report commissioned by the Dublin, California-based Mushroom Council.

It’s no surprise, then, that Ruth Bass, author of “Mushrooms Love Herbs,” chose to use portabellas in her unique recipe for Mushroom Salsa with Cilantro. Often spelled “portobellos,” they have a hearty taste and meaty texture, which is one of the reasons they’re replacing beef patties in burgers at many restaurants.

You should have no trouble finding organic portabellas at your local natural or whole foods store. Click here to find a farmer’s market in your area. You may also want to treat yourself or a loved one this holiday season to the 2-lb. Organic Exotic Mushroom Basket from Diamond Organics, which includes portabellas.

Bass’s salsa recipe combines portabellas and tomatoes for a new twist on the classic recipe.

“Salsa is everywhere,” she notes. “Sometimes it’s fiery hot, sometimes it’s mild, and it nearly always includes tomatoes. For a new taste sensation, try it with mushrooms, parsley and cilantro.”

Mushroom Salsa with Cilantro

Makes about 2 cups

1 large (4- to 5-inch diameter) portabella mushroom
2 ripe tomatoes
4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small onion, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded and minced

  1. Remove the stem from the mushroom, then clean and chop the cap.
  2. Dice the tomatoes and combine in a medium-sized bowl with the mushroom. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, lime and lemon juices, onion and jalapeño pepper.
  3. Let stand at room temperature for at least an hour so that the flavors will blend. Stir well and serve with tortilla chips.

Interestingly, one of the main debates among professional and amateur chefs is how to clean mushrooms. Should you go over them with a dry mushroom brush, or should you wash them in water?


Mushroom brush

“Cleaniks can’t face cooking a mushroom that hasn’t been washed, so they get them all wet and then have to towel them off,” writes Bass. “Purists say you never wash a mushroom; you just brush it with a mushroom brush.”

Luckily, there’s a compromise, she tells Organic Authority: “Simply wipe them with a dampened paper towel.”

See Amazing Organic Herbal Salads in our just-published Winter Edition for more recipes from Bass.

Note: This recipe is featured in “Mushrooms Love Herbs.” Copyright © 1996 by Storey Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission from Storey Publishing.