Herbal Recipes

Lion's Mane Marinara

Cognitive Supportive Foods + Digestive Supportive Herbs

Though mushrooms are grown year-round, fall and spring are the times of year that they grow in the wild, making them a seasonal food during this transitional time of year. Mushrooms thrive in the cool, damp days of fall and early winter, and grow in moist magical places throughout the forests and hills in our area.

All mushrooms (including the lion's mane featured here) are high in vitamin d and beta-glucan polysaccharides, both of which are thought to be supportive of our immune systems. While immune-boosting power is one of the many wonders of mushrooms, lion's mane has its own special suite of medicinal benefits, making it the star ingredient in this savory, chilly-season dish. Use up the last of summer's tomatoes to make a sauce from scratch - and you have a vitamin c and vitamin d rich sauce that boasts the magical cognitive benefits of lion's mane as well.

This sauce also features circulatory stimulating spices (such as rosemary) and carminative antimicrobials (rosemary, oregano, thyme) for digestive and gentle circulatory support as an added bonus.

Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits

Used as a nervous system supportive herb, lion's mane is a go-to herbal for brain and nervous system support. Research suggests that lion's mane is not only helpful in the regeneration of nerve cells, but in the possible enhancement of memory and neurological connections. A wonderful herb for brain and nervous system health, it also happens to be quite tasty as a food, and its hearty nature holds up well in heavy sauces like this marinara. This sauce also features shitake, another one of my favorite culinary/immune-boosting mushrooms.

Lion's Mane Marinara Ingredients

1 cup mushrooms, sliced (lion's mane and shitake)

2 pints of canned tomatoes

2 TBL tomato paste

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 carrot, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced

2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, minced

1 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced

1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced

1-2 TBL olive oil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and Pepper To Taste

Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano (for serving)

Optional: 1/4 cup of red wine



Get your ingredients mise en place and heat ½ the oil over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet. You'll want to be sure to use a large enough skillet as to not crowd the mushrooms; when they are crowded they wilt/steam and do not brown. Add half the mushrooms to the pan, sauteeing until wilted. Add additional oil and the rest of the mushrooms. Continue to saute until the mushrooms begin to brown (can increase heat to med-high). Remove from heat and set aside. Return pan to stove and add 1 more TBL oil, along with carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, add onions and cook a few minutes more. Reduce heat back to medium-low and add the herbs and garlic, cooking for another minute. Return mushrooms to pan, along with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and 2-3 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 45-60 minutes (adding water if needed). Add wine and basil and cook another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. The sauce is best when cooled and refrigerated, and then used the next day but it can be used that same day.


Serve with fresh pasta (and meatballs if desired) and top with freshly grated parmesan when serving. Enjoy!

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Nzeako, B. C., et al. (2006). "Antimicrobial activities of clove and thyme extracts." Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J 6(1): 33-39.

Sakkas, H. and C. Papadopoulou (2017). "Antimicrobial Activity of Basil, Oregano, and Thyme Essential Oils." J Microbiol Biotechnol 27(3): 429-438.

Guggenheim, A. G., et al. (2014). "Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology." Integr Med (Encinitas) 13(1): 32-44.

Lai PL, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, Wong KH, David RP, Kuppusamy UR, Abdullah N, Malek SN. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30. PMID: 24266378.


Mori K, Obara Y, Moriya T, Inatomi S, Nakahata N. Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Biomed Res. 2011 Feb;32(1):67-72. doi: 10.2220/biomedres.32.67. PMID: 21383512.

Wong KH, Naidu M, David P, Abdulla MA, Abdullah N, Kuppusamy UR, Sabaratnam V. Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:580752. doi: 10.1093/ecam/neq062. Epub 2011 Aug 11. Erratum in: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Dec 16;2018:9820769. PMID: 21941586; PMCID: PMC3176599.

Note: The information is for educational, historical, and research purposes, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site should not be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern please seek out a qualified health care professional, and always consult your physician before adding herbal supplements into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication. Do not consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21 years old.

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