Mushrooms are having a moment. Fungus of all types are popping up on restaurant menus, and they’re playing more than a supporting role as a side dish. As some consumers cut down on their meat consumption, texturally rich mushrooms are providing a savory, umami alternative that vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can enjoy. But now, mushrooms aren’t just for meals. They’re also sprouting onto the snack scene, offering interesting, healthy alternatives to mushroom lovers during lunch breaks, road trips and beyond.
Some of these snacks are all about the flavor, and the mushrooms are highlighted for their unique flavor profiles. However, others focus more on the health benefits on mushrooms and cut down on the, well, mushroominess. Whether you’re already a fungus lover who’s looking for a delicious snack or you want to introduce mushrooms into your diet without having to eat a portobello burger, these snacks are guaranteed to get the job done.
Popadelics Mushroom Chips
If you’re like me and can’t stop yourself from finishing an entire bag of potato chips in one sitting, there’s a good chance you’re going to like Popadelics Mushroom Chips. These chips are made with shiitake mushroom caps, and they offer a delightful crunch that keeps you coming back for more. They’re certainly denser than a potato chip, but that’s part of the appeal: They feel substantial, and they really help curb the cravings.
There are a few different flavors to choose from. The Thai chili is my personal favorite, mostly because they really didn’t skimp on the heat. The truffle parm is perfect for those who want even more of that umami note that you already get from the mushroom itself. And how can you go wrong with rosemary and sea salt?
Mudwtr Mushroom Coffee
If mushrooms kind of gross you out but you know you should eat them because of the health benefits, then you may want to try Mudwtr Mushroom Coffee. It contains much less caffeine than your standard cup of joe, making it a friendlier option for those who tend to get the jitters. Turkey tail and reishi mushrooms play a lead role in this morning coffee blend, and rooibos chai, cinnamon and turmeric add an interesting, earthy flavor to the drink powder. For those trying to cut back on their caffeine intake, Mudwtr is a great way to get a boost of energy.
Country Archer Plant-Based Jerky
Jerky is one of my all-time favorite snacks: It’s savory, it’s filling, it’s easy to grab when you’re on the go. What’s not to love about it? But if you don’t eat meat (or you’re just trying to eat less of it), jerky may seem like it’s not an option. Luckily, there are more and more plant-based jerkies coming onto the market, and Country Archer Plant-Based Jerky is one of our all-time favorites. It all starts with king oyster mushrooms that are bathed in a mixture of coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar and a smattering of spices. This extra flavor just adds to the already complex flavor of the mushrooms, adding more umami to the equation.
There are three different flavors of mushroom jerky available from Country Archer, though my personal favorite is the spiced bacon. Barbecue lovers have to get their hands on the BBQ flavor, while the teriyaki offers enough saltiness and flavor to appeal to just about any palate.
Balanced Tiger Protein Bars
Here’s another solid option if you’re not too keen on experiencing the very specific texture of mushrooms: Balanced Tiger Protein Bars. These protein bars highlight functional mushrooms that purportedly help you feel your best. Chaga, lion’s mane, reishi and cordyceps all come in different bars and offer different health benefits, so you should get your hands on a starter pack if you want to get a taste of all this company has to offer. And don’t worry—these things definitely don’t taste like mushrooms. Flavors like vanilla chai, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate brownie and peanut butter chocolate make these bars appealing, even if you’re not usually into mushrooms.
Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.