Do NOT Be Afraid of This Vegetable - In Season NOW and Yummy!

April 7, 2010   17 Comments

A sure sign of that spring is here is the lovely strawberries, asparagus and artichokes that show up in the supermarkets. My store has them right at the entrance beckoning to me.


Artichokes are kinda scary looking - but are ridiculously easy to prepare and delicious. The artichoke is actually a thistle - remember Eeyore? He was a pal of Winnie The Pooh's who loved thistles. You can love thistles too!

Many restaurants prepare artichokes in a lot of olive oil turning them into 1000 calories. This, while tasty, is really unnecessary because they taste great with almost nothing on them. BUT, it is fun to dip them and this is how you will get kids to like them. Kids love dips.

What kind of dip should you use? A mayonnaise based sauce such as hollandaise is normal, but is going to kill you on the calories. I have included a lemon butter dip that is easy and low calorie (as long as you don't eat too much of it).

Okay, for those of you who have never prepped your own artichoke - here is a video: How to Prep Artichokes Video. I have also included written instructions.

To prep, you just need to cut off some leaves with a serrated knife. Below is an example from Amazon of a great serrated knife. If you don't have one - get one- because they are fabulous for cutting tomatoes, artichokes, strawberries, etc.

You can cook them ahead and then leave them in the fridge for when you need a snack. The artichokes photographed here are baby artichokes and were really delicious.

If you are already an artichoke lover check out Ocean Mist. The site has many recipes and advice about artichokes. They have an "Artichoke Aficionado" club - and they are giving away a CASE of artichokes to a new member every week.

Artichoke Recipe

(serves 2)
2 medium artichokes
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 of lemon
1 clove minced garlic

Prepare artichoke:
Cut stem off at base. Cut off top 1/3 of each artichoke. Place artichokes in microwave-safe bowl, base down, and add 1/2 inch of water to the bowl. Cover and microwave for 8 minutes (depending on your microwave). Let stand for 1-2 minutes before uncovering. Check to see if leaves easily detach from artichoke. If not, place artichokes back in microwave for another minute.

Prepare sauce:
Place butter in small bowl. Squeeze lemon into the bowl and add garlic. Microwave for 10 seconds until butter is melted.

To eat:
Rip leaf off of artichoke and dip in sauce. Place the leaf with the inside facing up (inside of leaf was facing inside of artichoke). Scrape sauce and artichoke with your teeth. When done with leaves eat the artichoke base - it is the best part!

How do you eat artichokes?

Want to read about snacks?
A Rare Find: A Packaged Food that is Healthy and Delicious!
How To Find Great Fruit and Veggies
Love Ice Cream? Try This 130 Calorie Makeover

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I think there is some artichoke phobia out there and hopefully you can dispel some of it. They are a great fiber source and a fun food to eat.

My mother-in-law makes these all the time and I love eating them when I'm over there. I don't know why I haven't made them myself! Thank you for the lesson in making them!

I LOVE artichokes, my favorite dip is just lemon juice with a little mashed up avocado in it, salt, pepper, and some cayenne pepper. I used to dip in lemon butter, which I loved also, but then tried the avocado and I like it better.

I've eaten artichokes all my life, but was brought up dipping them in melted butter. I'll have to give the dip a try.

I've never tried microwaving an artichoke... My mom used to cook them in the pressure cooker and I get them about once a year and boil them but it seems like a lot of work to me or a long wait I guess so I love this idea of microwaving them. My husband says he doesn't like them, he's not a big vegetable fan but my son and I are so I'll have to try this for sure! Great post!

That sounds tasty! I've never had an artichoke before but I keep meaning to try them.

I love artichoke. What an amazing snack. During many of my events I even introduce them to kids and they love them. Another great post, keep them going!

Plain yogurt makes a great artichoke dip, too. Just stir in a little lemon juice, maybe a bit of sugar and salt, some herbs (dill is yummy, or fresh parsley), and maybe a pinch of cayenne if you want a kick.

Thanks for posting this! I've had artichokes in salads before, but never like this. I can't wait to try it!

Thanks for the idea! I'm another "never tried an artichoke" person, but I did notice them when I was at the grocery store this afternoon.

I also love the commenter suggestion of making an avocado dip!

I just tried cooking one in the micro last week! Loved it but not sure if it was worth all the work. Canned in water is so much easier!!

Not sure why people think it's too much work to fix an artichoke. It's pretty easy and quick to prep and they don't take that long to cook. I had mine grilled tonight (you still have to cook first). Fantastic!

What about the hairy/thistley thing at the base after you've pulled all the leaves off?

That "hairy/thistley" part I always just scoop out with a fork or spoon and disgard with the leaves that are already eaten.

Artichokes are one of my favorites but the price right now is ridiculous! Our here are 2 for $5.00 and I would be so upset if they were nice ones, but they seem to be scabby and brown this year. I wonder where they are getting them?

I have grown up loving artichockes, eating them with melted butter. My mom and sister always boil them, but I think that takes too long for just me, so I steam mine in of all things, my cuisinart egg steamer, 2 times through the process and they come out perfectly, and no worry about over cooking.

Does anyone know how to cook articHokes in the oven? I don't like to use the micro.

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