It’s easy for artichokes to make their way into fatty foods, like mayonnaise or cream cheese-based dips, or end up plated alongside melted butter for dipping. But there are plenty of ways to prepare the spring vegetable without sabotaging its nutritional benefits. Artichokes contain 6 to 10 g of fiber, depending on their size. Plus, they deliver a handful of nutrients, including magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins K and C.
If you’re clueless about how to cook (or eat) the strange-looking superfood, we’ll walk you through how to buy, clean, and enjoy artichokes, and share three easy and delicious recipes: steamed artichokes with guiltless garlic sauce, lemon-garlic grilled artichokes, and creamy roasted red pepper pasta.
How to Purchase:
- When artichokes are at their peak, they are colorful, crisp, and their leaves are tightly packed.
- Double-check the stem for freshness. If it’s blackened, that’s an indicator that the artichoke has been stored for a while and may taste bitter.
- If there are a few brown or soft spots, they can be removed during preparation.
How to Prepare:
- If there are small thorns on the ends of the leaves, use kitchen scissors to remove them.
- Remove about ¾” from the tip of the artichoke and any excess stem. Rinse the artichoke.
How to Eat:
- Pull away each leaf from a cooked artichoke. Draw the leaf through your teeth to scrape off the pulpy or “meaty” portion, and then discard the tough portion of the leaf.
- Once you have eaten all the leaves, you’ll get to the choke of the artichoke—that’s the fuzzy part that covers the artichoke heart. Scrape away the fuzzy stuff to get to the heart, and then cut it into pieces.
STEAMED ARTICHOKES WITH GUILTLESS GARLIC SAUCE
- 1 artichoke
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp lemon juice (or 2 to 3 slices of lemon)
- Guiltless Garlic Sauce (see below)
- Fill a large pot with a few inches of water. Add the garlic and lemon juice.
- Place a steaming basket in the pot and place the artichoke in the steaming basket.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the leaves are easily removed.
- Serve warm or cold with Guiltless Garlic Sauce.
Nutrition (per artichoke): 60 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g protein, 4% DV vitamin A, 20% DV vitamin C, 6% DV calcium, 8% DV iron
GUILTLESS GARLIC SAUCE
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- For the best flavor, chill for 4 hours before serving. Serve with steamed artichoke hearts (above).
Makes: 1 cup
Nutrition (per ½ cup): 60 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 9 g protein, 0% DV vitamin A, 0% DV vitamin C, 10% DV calcium, 0% DV iron
LEMON-GARLIC GRILLED ARTICHOKES
- 2 lemons
- 4 artichokes
- 1 tsp of each: oregano, thyme, and rosemary
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp parsley
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fill a large pot with water. Add juice from 1 lemon and oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
- Prepare artichokes as instructed above (see "How to Prepare"). Place artichokes in pot and cover.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the stem is tender (not mushy). Drain the artichokes.
- Once cooled, slice artichokes in half length-wise and scoop out the choke.
- Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and parsley in a bowl and add the sliced artichokes.
- Grill over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until artichokes are lightly charred. Finish with sea salt and juice from the remaining lemon.
Nutrition (per serving): 80 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber,<1 g sugar, 5 g protein, 6% DV vitamin A, 45% DV vitamin C, 8% DV calcium, 15% DV iron
CREAMY ROASTED RED PEPPER PASTA
- 1 tbsp margarine
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 3 ounces whole-wheat penne or brown rice penne, cooked
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 8 black olives, chopped
- 12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, cooked 7 minutes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium sauce pan, melt margarine and whisk in flour. Add 2 cups of milk. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a boil. Then let it bubble for one minute more in order to thicken the sauce.
- Add roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichoke hearts to the sauce. Heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over cooked pasta.
Nutrition (per serving): 470 calories, 18 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 410 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 22 g protein, 25% DV vitamin A, 90% DV vitamin C, 10% DV calcium, 30% DV iron
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