Artichokes: Where do I begin? As a child I was absolutely terrified by them and as an adult I’m still a little bit unsure of their distinct texture, taste and shape. When I order a salad at a restaurant and it comes with artichokes, I usually manage to eat about half before throwing in the towel. However, I think the problem here is two-fold: 1) I didn’t realize how good they were for you, and 2) I’ve never actually cooked them myself. However, all of that’s about to change.
Health benefits: It’s no surprise that artichokes are a staple in the Mediterranean diet as they’re loaded with vitamins C and K, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese.
Like many other fruits and veggies, artichokes are also high in fiber – nearly 10 grams in one medium choke. Each serving also contains approximately 3-4 grams of protein and less than one gram of fat for a satisfying, healthful indulgence. One of the tricks to getting the most nutrients out of your artichoke is eating the whole vegetable. If you opt only for the hearts, you will inevitably miss out on some of the vitamins and minerals. However, with that being said, the hearts are still worth devouring as they’re no doubt a healthy, low-calorie food.
Nutritional statistics: 1 cup contains approximately 76 calories, 1 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 8 g of dietary fiber, 1 g sugar and 5 g protein.
Cooking methods: Artichokes can be prepared a number of ways, the most popular of which being marinated over salads or stirred into dips, like the one you’ll find below. But they can also be steamed, roasted, pureed into sauces and added to soups, among many other uses. Because the nutrients in artichokes are spread throughout the vegetable, it’s best if you can eat the whole thing as opposed to just the hearts. Try a few of the recipes below for a great start on exploring this nutrient-dense veggie.
Roasted Baby Artichokes from I Talk to Food
Fear the artichoke no more and give these delicious and healthy recipes a try. While you’re at it, venture into the world of more peculiar ingredients with our “How to Cook“ series as your trusty guide. Happy (adventurous) cooking.
November 12th, 2012