Artichokes are one of those amazing veggies. I’ve often thought about the first time someone found them and how they discovered the secret delicious artichoke pith under all those layers of leaves. It’s such a unique veggie, and it tastes SO good – especially the heart. Am I right?
Artichokes are noted as one of the first medicinal plants – used by Greeks and Romans for digestive issues. Artichokes are full of antioxidants, they boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. Read more about them in this article by Food Matters: Why We Should All Be Eating More Artichokes. This article goes into great detail about health benefits.
Since not everyone has tried an artichoke before, I thought I’d give a breakdown of its parts so you know what is edible and what’s not. See the image below of the Anatomy of an Artichoke Cross Section to correspond with details written below.
Choke (Don’t eat this) – these are named quite well, as they just might make you choke if you ate them. They’re hair-like and fuzzy. Scrape these out of the artichoke using a spoon. They come off easily.
Thorns (Don’t eat these) – Sharp tiny spines at the tips of the artichoke. A lot of people will cut these off with kitchen scissors, or a sharp knife.
Outer Leaves – These are about half edible, actually. Near where the leaf attaches to the artichoke you will find some pith of the artichoke that is quite tasty. To eat it, you would pull the leaf off the artichoke and you will notice the tender lighter colored pith. Hold like a potato chip and put the tender pith side into your mouth and scrape the pith off with your teeth. It will easily come off of the tough leaf. There are many dip options out there. I love making a avocado garlic aioli (this recipe is vegan – there are many other recipes out the on the web too!).
Inner Leaves – As you get closer and closer to the center of the artichoke you’ll come upon more tender leaves. These are pretty edible in young artichoke hearts or quarters. In a regular sized artichoke you can just bite off the bottom part that connected closely to the artichoke. But as you come to the very center (choke) you might want to discard the leaves.
Heart – This is, I believe, everyones favorite part of an artichoke. I remember as a kid my parents trying to bribe me for my heart. I didn’t fall for it. I’ve loved artichoke hearts from the very moment I had my first. Once you’ve peeled off all the leaves and scraped off the choke you will have what looks like a concave round piece attached to a stem. The heart is the round concave piece that connects to the stem. It’s meaty and delicious. You can eat the whole thing. You can dip this in an aioli or eat as is. You will love it!
Stem – The stem can be eaten as well, especially if you’ve cooked it real good and it’s a big artichoke. I usually peel off the outer layer of the stem and eat the center.
A simple way to cook an artichoke is to just steam it until tender and dip in your choice of dip. But, there are many other healthy and delicious recipes for artichokes out there. Enjoy this easy recipe for roasted artichokes below. This recipe is okay for anyone following these diets: Paleo, Vegetarian, Gluten Free.
BREADED AND ROASTED ARTICHOKES
- Preheat oven’s broiler to high, and grease the baking sheet.
- Combine arrowroot powder, almond flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Beat the egg.
- Dip artichoke in the egg and dredge in the flour mixture. Coat with olive oil.
- Place artichoke in the baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes.
For more healthy side dish recipes, that are great for holiday gatherings or a simple family dinner – see our meal plans. We do the planning for you on a weekly basis!