Tis the season of the artichoke, one of the most delicious and healthiest veggies out there. Check it out:
Click here for an artichoke 101 on selecting and preparing them. My rule of thumb is that the bigger the stem, the bigger the heart, which is the best part. You can steam, boil, grill, and roast artichokes. I usually steam them in the winter and grill them in the summer, like I did above. Recently I’ve run across these ideas to add artichoke to bigger dishes.
- 8 oz. your favorite pasta
- 1/2 c, plus 2 T olive oil
- 1 lb baby artichokes (or 1 14 oz. can/jar of artichoke hearts)
- 3 c baby spinach leaves, packed
- 1/2 c shelled pistachios
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1/4 c chopped scallions
- 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper
- 1 c baby peas (frozen is fine)
- 1 c chopped tomatoes
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain & set aside. Cut the stems from the artichokes, leaving about 1/2″ exposed (since they’re baby artichokes, you won’t have much to work with). Next, trim about 1/2″ off the top of the artichoke. Remove the first 2-3 layers of leaves and slice in half lengthwise. (If they’re bigger baby artichokes, cut into quarters.) There probably won’t be much of an actual choke, but if you do see some, remove gently with a paring knife. Once the artichokes have been prepped, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice so that they don’t become discolored.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. Let them cook for about 6-7 minutes, until browned and tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
3. When the artichokes have cooled some, combine them with the spinach, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, cheese & remaining olive oil in a blender (or immersion blender cup). Puree until completely smooth. Check for seasoning & adjust according to taste with some salt & pepper.
4. Add about 1/3 cup of pesto to the cooked pasta and mix well. Add the peas and tomatoes and fold in gently. If you like a lot of sauce, add a couple more tablespoons of pesto until you have the desired consistency. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve with a crisp salad and warm crusty bread, and enjoy!
Apparently they taste just like the heart, my favorite part! All you have to do is use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer before you cook it. You can steam, roast, boil, or sautee before adding to dishes and dips.
HEALTHY ARTICHOKE DIP
She also does this White Bean Salad with Artichokes that looks amazing.
- 5 medium artichokes, cooked (see methods in story at right), hearts removed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 lemon (2 teaspoons lemon zest and juice of one half)
- 1 bunch beet greens, chopped, about 8-9 ounces
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese (the former has better flavor and less calories, fat and carbs)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme and lemon zest. Sauté about 5 minutes until onion gets soft.
Add beet greens, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper flakes and salt. Mix well and heat until there is no more liquid in the pan from greens, about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix together Neufchatel, sour cream, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add artichoke-greens mixture.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and spread the mixture out evenly. Top with Parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. Heat broiler; broil 2-4 minutes until Parmesan melts and begins to brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.