Artichoke is one of those vegetable that lots of people are intimidated by. It looks kind of funny and can be a bit of a challenge to prepare if you’re unfamiliar with it. However, these are incredibly healthy vegetables that are packed with vitamins B, C, and K, and they’re also rich in antioxidants and fiber.
In many places, artichokes are in season in the spring and fall, and you can even buy frozen artichoke hearts in the off-seasons to use in pastas and casseroles. There are lots of different ways to incorporate artichokes into your diet and reap their health benefits without a lot of hassle or fuss.
Here are some recipe ideas to try next time you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen!
One of the easiest ways to eat an artichoke is to simply steam it You can do this quickly in the microwave, in a steamer, or even in a slow cooker.
Here’s an easy steamed artichoke recipe to try:
- 4 medium artichokes (about 12 ounces each)
- 1 lemon, halved crosswise
- Coarse salt
- Hollandaise (store-bought or homemade)
- Butter, melted (optional)
- Prepare artichokes for steaming: Snap off tough outer leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut off top 1/3 of artichoke. Snip remaining sharp or spiky tips using kitchen shears. Trim stem so artichoke stands upright. Rub cut surfaces with lemon to prevent discoloration. Repeat with remaining artichokes and lemon.
- Set a steamer basket in a large pot; add enough water so it reaches just below the basket. Squeeze lemon juice into water and add 1 tablespoon salt; bring to a boil. Place artichokes in steamer basket, stem-side up. Cover pot, and steam until heart is tender when pierced with a tip of a paring knife, and inner leaves pull out easily, 25 to 35 minutes; add more water to pot, if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature with Hollandaise or melted butter, if desired.
Everyone loves a good grill-out session when the weather is nice, so why not add a few artichokes to your picnic or backyard barbecue?
Grilling artichokes gives them a smoky flavor that’s quite delicious. The Kitchn provides these helpful tips for grilling artichokes.
- Trim the artichoke as you would for any recipe, removing the toughest, outermost leaves, trimming the top, and snipping off the spiky ends of each leaf.
- Steam or boil the artichokes until tender. Again, follow any recipe for cooking artichokes that we mentioned above.
- Drain the artichokes and cut them in half, lengthwise.
Scoop out the choke, which will be exposed and visible once you slice open the artichoke.
- Brush the cut surface with olive oil and grill it (a grill pan will work fine, too) just until you get some char marks.
- Drizzle with a vinaigrette or herbed, melted butter.
To add a little something extra to your artichoke dish, consider stuffing it with something else you enjoy eating. Vegetables, cheese, and breadcrumbs are popular options for stuffing.
Here’s a tasty stuffed artichoke recipe that’s pretty straightforward.
- 6 whole artichokes
- 3 slices Italian bread, cubed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Snip the pointed tips of artichoke leaves, and cut off the stems. Wash and drain. Holding artichoke firmly by base, firmly rap the top of it on a hard surface; this will open it so it can be stuffed.
- In a medium bowl combine bread cubes, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, oregano, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, salt and pepper; mix well.
- Press about 1/2 cup of stuffing into each artichoke. Tightly pack stuffed artichokes together in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to reach half way up artichokes and add 3 tablespoons oil.
- Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until leaves pull out easily.
Artichokes in Herbal Medicine
In addition to these preparation methods, artichokes have also been used in herbal medicine since ancient times. They are native to the Mediterranean area and were used in Greece for thousands of years to aid digestion, protect the liver, and as an antioxidant. There are many different reasons that health professionals still today recommend supplementing the diet with artichokes for herbal remedies.
Supplement with Artichoke Capsules
And if artichokes aren’t in season, not available in your area, or you simply don’t like the taste of them, there is another great option for getting the artichoke’s health benefits.
But however you decide to eat it, artichoke is a powerful vegetable worth trying. So give it a second chance!