Artichokes are one of the most underrated whole foods on the planet.
People sometimes complain that they require too much effort to cook or that they have a bitter taste.
But if you ever had doubts, it is time to take a second look.
For starters, artichokes are incredibly nutritious: they are very low in calories and fat, are a good source of iron and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
They can also be quite delicious when prepared the right way (like in the recipe we share later on!)
And of course, the most tender part of an artichoke is its center—the ‘heart,’ which has a buttery texture and a deep, earthy flavor.
This is a perfect time to get reacquainted with the humble artichoke because National Artichoke Hearts Day is March 16th!
Artichokes Facts That May Surprise You
Here are a few little-known facts about artichokes:
- An Artichoke Is a Flower: Artichokes are actually the flower buds of the artichoke plant, which is a species of thistle.
- California Has the Monopoly on Artichokes: Artichokes were brought to America in the19th century, and today almost 100 percent of all North America’s fresh artichokes come from the Golden State.
- Artichokes Were Featured in Mythology: It was said that the Greek god Zeus turned his mistresses Cynara into an artichoke after she tried to run away from Olympia.
- Artichokes Were Once Banned: Artichokes were actually outlawed for a week in New York City in the 1920s, in an effort to curb price gouging by the mafia. Thankfully the ban ended quickly, and people can now legally enjoy artichokes across the country.
How to Eat an Artichoke
Artichokes are quite versatile. Here are some ways they can be prepared:
- Grilled: This method brings out the light smoky flavor of the artichoke.
- Steamed: Steaming is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to enjoy them.
- Chopped: A chopped artichoke heart can be added to your favorite salad, dip, stew or pasta.
- Braised: Braise an artichoke in the oven with other vegetables for a tasty side dish.
- Stuffed: Artichokes can be packed with veggies or used as a stuffing themselves.
Of course, you can always add a bit of cooked artichoke to virtually anything, from pizza and pasta dishes to plant-based ‘omelets’ and even salsa.
Or, if you are looking for a new artichoke recipe, give Dreena Burton’s Bliss in a Dish (Chickpea and Artichoke One-Pot Wonder) a try. It combines some of the most delicious plant-based foods all in one hot, hearty meal!
In honor of National Artichoke Hearts Day, get cooking and rediscover the awesome taste of the artichoke.