You might find mushrooms in your garden salad, but are they actually vegetables?
The Short Answer
No, mushrooms are not vegetables.
The Long Answer
Mushrooms are typically served alongside vegetables and have been a part of human diets for centuries. But while we might treat a mushroom the same as we would a vegetable, botanically speaking they are not the same thing.
Mushrooms are actually a form of fungi, lacking the defining characteristics that make a vegetable a vegetable. Those include leaves, roots, seeds and a need for light. Mushrooms have none of these things. However, in a confusing twist, the United States Department of Agriculture does consider mushrooms to be a part of the vegetable family. Their reasoning is that mushrooms provide many of the same nutritional attributes as vegetables.
So, once again on ITTF (this happened before when we investigated tomatoes), we find ourselves questioning science vs. society. Botany states unequivocally that mushrooms are not vegetables. The laws of the United States say that they are. It all boils down to how you want to look at it. Are the laws of nature more important than the laws of man? Philosophical debate aside, I am ruling on behalf of Is This That Food that mushrooms are NOT vegetables.
Looking for ways to highlight mushrooms? Air Fryer Mushrooms and Marinated Portobellos offer a great base for any meal. They can also be used to make a delicious Mushroom Gravy that you’ll want to pour over everything!