This Plant-Based Food Is Surprisingly High in Vitamin D—Here Are 5 Ways To Use It

When I think about foods that are high in vitamin D, "Got milk?" is the first phrase that pops into my mind. The "sunshine vitamin" has a reputation for entering your body through both food or beverages and the time you spend outdoors. And this week on Well+Good’s series You Versus Food, host and registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, teaches us that the vitamin D in mushrooms (yes, really!) proves just as powerful as classic milk when it comes to harnessing the mood-boosting power of the D.

Beckerman says that vitamin D has a laundry list of benefits: It promotes good bone health, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, aids with pregnancy and menstrual complications, and even boosts your body's immune response. Add on the fact that vitamin D also acts as a mood stabilizer, and you're going to want to make sure you get your fill. "Although evidence is still limited, researchers believe that getting the right amount of vitamin D may help to reduce seasonal depression and anxiety, seeing as individuals with these disorders often have less vitamin D," says Beckerman.

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So how much vitamin D should you really be eating? And, what's the 'shroom equivalent? "The average person should aim to get about 600 micrograms of vitamin D per day. Researchers have found that five to 30 minutes of sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. two times a week is all you need for sufficient levels of vitamin D synthesis," says Beckerman. Just one-quarter cup of white mushrooms accounts for a not-insufficient 46 percent of your daily intake.

Not quite sure how to eat all those mushrooms? We've rounded up five ideas below to get you started on your vitamin D journey.

1. Make yourself some vegetarian bolognese

On a recent episode of Well+Good's Cook With Us, guest Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, whipped up a vegetarian take on classic, beefy bolognese using—you guessed it!—mushrooms. The vitamin D-packed veggie is almost a perfect substitute for rich, gamey beef—so eat up.

2. Make mushroom chips in the air fryer or oven

I'll tell you a secret: Anything can be metamorphosed into a chip these days. Mushrooms are no exception, and this particular recipe just asks you to cut and season them before tossing in your air fryer.

3. Combine them with garlic for a "Swiss Army knife" sauce

Imagine a sauce that you can throw on top of anything (pasta, chicken, eggs, and more) for a dish that tastes gourmet, but is actually about as complicated as boxed mac and cheese. That's what you get with blogger Hurry The Food Up's creamy garlic mushrooms.

4. Pickle them

Pickled mushrooms are one of those rare ingredients that you may try out of curiosity and end up in love with for topping off salads or soups. Damn Delicious' easy marinated mushrooms are peppered with spices that may make them the most flavorful mushroom you've tried yet.

5. Cook them into vegan mushroom pot pie

Anything can taste even better when put into a pie crust. Anything—including mushrooms. This vegan version chicken pocket pie pulls in celery, onions, and carrots for a mirepoix blend that pairs decadently with the vitamin D-boosting mushrooms.

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