Make better food choices on World Health Day – and every day

Vegan lentil and mushroom stew on butterbean mash

OUR planet, our health. That’s the overarching theme of World Health Day on 7 April. Something we need to consider as we make our food choices is the ability of plants to protect and refresh the earth as they grow.

Mushrooms, extraordinarily, are able to restore soil and many eco-scientists proclaim mushrooms as one of the answers to climate change, with commercially grown mushrooms by SA farmers, being a highly sustainable crop.

Nutritionists worldwide also agree that mushrooms and plants are among the most nutritious foods you can eat. As for hunger, we all know that not all kilojoules are created equal, and comparing meat calories with vegetable calories does not equate. Vegetables and mushrooms particularly are packed with fibre, which fills you up and keeps you fuller for longer, while generally lowering your calorie intake overall.

So if, on this World Health Day, we can keep humans and the planet healthier by simply switching to mushrooms instead of meat or simply just adding more mushrooms (and less meat) to our diet, we can assist in fostering the movement to create societies focused on well-being.


Serves 4-6


  • 1 Tbsp olive or neutral oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 50g yellow curry paste (1 sachet)
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 250ml fish stock
  • A small handful of lime leaves
  • 700g firm white boneless fish fillets, cut into large pieces
  • 250g white button mushrooms, sliced 
  • 150g fine green beans, trimmed
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • Sliced chilli, to serve
  • Lime wedges, to serve


  • Heat oil in large saucepan and fry the onion until tender. Add curry paste. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. 
  • Add coconut milk, fish stock and lime leaves. Simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. 
  • Reduce heat to low and add the mushrooms, green beans and tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 
  • Gently add the fish and cook for about 5 minutes. Add lime juice. Stir gently to combine but be careful not to break up the delicate fish. 
  • Serve curry with steamed basmati rice / cauliflower rice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander and chilli.


Serves 6-8


  • 750g mushrooms (portabello, portabellini or button) 
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup fruit chutney 
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Topping:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 3-5 bay leaves 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 


  • Preheat oven to 180˚C. 
  • Cut mushrooms into smaller pieces if necessary and then place into the bowl of a food processor. Process in batches until finely chopped. 
  • In a large frying pan (or oven safe cast iron / buffet casserole) heat a drizzle of olive oil. Fry mushrooms until completely dry and turning golden brown. Fry in batches if necessary. Set aside in a bowl. 
  • To the same pan add the beef mince and fry until beginning to brown. Add the onion, garlic, curry powder and turmeric. Cook until tender and fragrant. 
  • Add the cooked mushrooms back into the mince mixture. 
  • Add in vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chutney and raisins. Adjust seasoning. 
  • Level out filling in oven safe dish or transfer to an oven safe dish. 
  • Whisk together topping ingredients and season. 
  • Gently pour egg custard onto the top of the mushroom and mince filling. Scatter with bay leaves and bake for 45-60 minutes until set and deeply golden brown. 
  • Serve with sambals and yellow rice. 

South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association

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