Artichokes are actually are an edible variety of thistle, which is a flower! The large bud of the flower is harvested before it blooms and becomes inedible. Artichokes are made up of bracts, the thick leaf structures that form the blossoming flower bud, and a fleshy base. Even though the peak season for artichokes is in the late Spring through early Summer, they are available in most markets year round, which is great because they make a beautiful addition to holiday meals!
Artichokes are incredibly nutrient-rich and incorporating them into your diet can have a host of health benefits. Numerous research studies have shown that eating artichokes can ease digestive troubles, lower cholesterol, and promote liver and gallbladder health! The high concentrations of antioxidants in artichokes can also help boost the body’s immune response and ward of disease.
Not sure how to prepare your artichokes? Here are a few of my favorites ways to enjoy them!
Steamed – This is one of the most common ways to eat artichokes! Simply snip the spiny tips off of the outer leaves with a pair of scissors and cut off the top of the artichoke. Drop it in a large pot of boiling water, cover, and steam for 30 – 40 minutes. Pull the leaves off and dip them in your favorite creamy sauce! I love to mix veganaise with some lemon juice, fresh garlic, and Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend!
Grilled – Grilling artichokes adds a really delicious smoky flavor! For best results, I recommend steaming the artichokes first. Once they are steamed, cut them in half, scoop out the choke, which is the fuzzy section around the base, brush with olive oil and grill until char marks are visible.
Have a Heart – If you’re not quite ready to venture into the wild world of working with whole artichokes, you can always buy canned or frozen artichoke hearts. They still contain tons of nutrients are absolutely delicious mixed into green salads and quinoa salads!
Pureed – Artichoke hearts have a creamy texture that makes them ideal for creating rich and smooth green soups and dips.
Roasted – Artichoke hearts also make an incredible addition to mixed roasted vegetables. Simply chop up a variety of vegetables of your choice. I love to mix squash, peppers, onions and artichoke hearts with olive oil and Italian spices and roast in the oven on 475 F for 15 – 30 minutes or until tender.