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If you’re wondering, “are mushrooms vegetables,” then let’s just start off with the fact that they aren’t.
And they are.
Let’s start with what the culinary and scientific world can agree on, before we delve into the topic.
As we’ll soon find out, from a scientific perspective, mushrooms are not a fruit or a vegetable, but a fungus. From a culinary perspective, many people consider mushrooms a vegetable.
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Are Mushrooms a Fruit?
Mushrooms are not a fruit.
There is no debate on this.
Fruits are seed-bearing structures, and mushrooms have no seeds and do not come from plants.
Are Mushrooms Legumes?
Unlike something like beans, mushrooms are not legumes.
Legumes are a family of plants which bear seeds that we eat (often coming in a pod, like peas).
Mushrooms are not harvested from plants and are not seeds.
Are Mushrooms Nutritious?
Mushrooms are very nutritious! That’s one area we can all agree on.
Not only do mushrooms contain riboflavin and thiamine, but they are also a great source of antioxidants and low in calories.
They are also low-carb, with practically no fat, and can be eaten as part of a vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, or keto diet.
Other nutrients like folate and niacin are other benefits of eating mushrooms.
Are Mushrooms Considered a Vegetable?
Here we go.
Are mushrooms a vegetable?
When it comes to the scientific answer, mushrooms are not a vegetable, but a fungi.
Mushrooms are not plants and are not part of a plant. This is a requirement, biologically, to be a vegetable.
Unlike plants, mushrooms do not produce seeds, but instead, spores.
Another way to think of it is that plants (fruits and vegetables) contain pigments called chlorophyll. Mushrooms do not contain any chlorophyll.
So if you ask a scientist or botanist, then no, mushrooms are not vegetables.
Who Considers Mushrooms Vegetables?
What if you ask a chef is a mushroom is a vegetable?
From a culinary perspective, mushrooms are typically savory like vegetables, rather than sweet like a fruit, and they are typically cooked in a similar manner to vegetables.
You may encounter chefs who will answer that mushrooms are a vegetable from their perspective. They are often served as a side dish in a meal that you would typically have a meat + a vegetable, like a steak and mushrooms.
And they’re not entirely without precedent.
If you ask the U.S Department of Agriculture, they actually list cultivated mushrooms as a vegetable under the crops list on their website.
So if you are currently in an argument about if mushrooms are vegetables, you’ve got a lot more to debate about when it comes to what the right answer is!