Artichokes, once upon a time, were only available in the springtime. Now you can find artichokes available in your local grocery store year-round. Artichokes are really good for us to eat, low in calories, are easy to prepare, great hot or cold and are incredibly satisfying to eat…hence, I call them the “Awesome Artichoke.”
There are many health benefits to artichokes. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One medium artichoke provides 41% of the daily-recommended fiber we need. The vitamins in an artichoke include vitamin C, K and B complex. These are key in boosting our immune system, fighting off free radicals and ensuring healthy cells. Additionally, artichokes are a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. These are key in managing our blood pressure, heart rate and in producing healthy red blood cells. And if all this healthy goodness wasn’t enough, the calorie count in one medium artichoke, including the heart, is a mere 60 calories.
The easiest way to prepare an artichoke is to steam it in a pot for 45 minutes. I use a pasta pot and use the insert for the artichokes. I only fill the water up to the bottom of the basket. Trimming artichokes before you cook them makes them much easier and more pleasant to eat. The tips of each leaf often have a sharp thorn on them, by cutting across the top and then using scissors to cut the tips off the next several rows of leaves you avoid any pricking when eating.
Usually I buy extra artichokes so I can enjoy them cold for lunch the next day. Serving them hot with a warm broth concoction to dip the leaves and heart in is wonderful for a hot meal. When it is summer time or lunchtime and you want a “no-cook” meal, serving a cold artichoke with a cold mayonnaise-mustard sauce for dipping is truly delicious. See the recipes for the two dips below.
Artichokes provide a wonderful ritual at a meal. Since they are eaten one leaf at a time and there is a whole process of pulling the leaf, dipping the leaf in a sauce and then chewing off the meat at the bottom of the leaf, they allow you to spend time over a meal. Because it takes time to eat them and because they are high in fiber, just one artichoke can fill you up and make you feel completely satisfied at the end of the meal.
Hot Healthy Dipping Sauce for Artichokes
½ cup chicken broth, low-sodium
Juice from 1 lemon
Pinch of herbes de Provence
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat but do not boil.
2. Serve hot in custard cups or similar small bowls.
Serves: 2. Serving size: ¼ cup.
Cold Healthy Dipping Sauce for Artichokes
¼ cup nonfat mayonnaise
⅛ cup Dijon mustard
Pinch of pepper, freshly ground
Juice from ½ of 1 lemon
1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve cold.
Serves: 2. Serving size: about ¼ cup.
There is no doubt about it…awesome artichokes are a healthy, magically delicious, and satisfying super food.
Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!