What’s the deal with? Artichokes

Artichokes are a spring season vegetable that you should definitely add to your dinner table. They may seem a little intimidiating to cook with if you’ve never tried, but they really are worth getting to know. Artichokes were a staple in my house growing up – they are so versatile and fun to eat! If you love them but have never made them at home, here’s a how-to guide. Enjoy!

What is it? Artichokes are one of the oldest known foods and are actually the bud of a flowering plant. The bud contains the Heart, which is the meaty core of the artichoke, and a fuzzy center (or “choke”) surrounded by rows of edible petals, which protect the Heart. When you prepare an artichoke, you discard the center “choke” and eat the base of the petals, the center of the stem, and the entire artichoke Heart!

Why should you eat it? Artichokes are a true nutrition powerhouse. They have more antioxidants than both red wine and chocolate! Similar to fennel, artichokes contain a combination of the most powerful antioxidants quercetin and rutin (plus many more). In fact, they are one of the top ranked fresh vegetables you can eat, beating out both spinach and broccoli in studies. Artichokes are also rich in potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C and fiber.

How to prep it? Artichokes can be intimidating to prepare. After rinsing, the “top and tail” technique is the best way to prepare the artichoke for cooking. Click here to watch a step-by-step video! You can also buy just the hearts frozen from Trader Joe’s or the jarred variety at most grocery stores.

How to eat it?
Artichokes can serve as an appetizer, side dish or in the case of the Jumbo variety, a main entree.

Whole Artichokes
  • Easy baked artichoke (recipe here)
  • Cooled Artichokes can be filled with cold salmon, tuna, shrimp or chicken.
  • Brush with olive oil and grill until brown.
  • Stuff with Italian herb breadcrumbs and smoked Gouda cheese filling.
  • Serve as cold buffet dish.
  • Pour balsamic vinegar between the petals and finish on the grill.
Stems and Hearts
  • Slice Hearts and add to Asian sautés and stir-fries.
  • Slice and add as a tasty filling to your favorite omelet or quiche.
  • Use to create Artichoke dip, one of the world’s greatest appetizers!
Baby Artichokes
  • Quarter Baby Artichokes and add to baked pastas, fish and meat casseroles, stews, rice pilaf, and quiche.
  • Sprinkle with olive oil, garlic and pepper, and oven roast.

Click here for many more recipes and information about the Artichoke!

Danielle Omar, MS, RD
The Food Confidence Expert


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