Svelte spring food: Artichokes

by Camille on May 15, 2011

I love spring: after relying on frozen produce or stuff that’s been shipped from Timbuktu (okay, technically Costa Rica and Mexico) all winter long, there’s suddenly there’s a whole variety of fresh, local fruit and veggies to choose from at the farmer’s market and grocery store. At the top of my list: Artichokes. (Apparently I’m not alone in this; the New York Times just ran a great story on how to cook them).

Turns out that these prickly veggies–most of which are grown in California—aren’t just delicious; they’re great for you, too. “The beauty of an artichoke is that it takes a while to eat, so it’s almost impossible to overindulge,” dietitian Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, told me when I interviewed her about spring foods for a recent iVillage story. Plus, one medium bulb contains just 64 calories and a whopping 10 grams of fiber, while half a cup of hearts has 45 calories and seven grams of fiber. And artichokes contain a cholesterol-lowering compound called cynarin.

The key to keeping artichokes lean, of course, is to skip the melted butter; Bazilian suggests dipping them in a yogurt-based dressing or vinaigrette. Do you love artichokes, too? Have a favorite artichoke recipe to share? If so, share it below!


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Lauren Slayton May 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

Love artichokes too though the stuffed variety I really adore isn’t exactly a “svelte” choice.

Jen May 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I love baby artichokes (easier to eat). My favorite way to prepare them is to tear off all the outside leaves, trim them, cut them in half, boil them in water for ~8-10 minutes, then sprinkle with a little olive oil and roast them at about 400 degrees for another 10 minutes or so. then sprinkle with a little lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables – when they’re not in season I rely on the jarred or canned variety and put them on pizza and salads. I also make a good side dish with roasted canned artichokes and chickpeas, tossed with olive oil, sesame seeds, and lemon juice. So many ways to eat them, I could go on all day!

Niv Mani May 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Preparing artichokes from scratch was one of those unforgettable experiences..Fell head over heels in love with its potential and absolutely idiotic, reflecting about the days I wasted not getting past the canned stuff!
They are definitely unheard of incorporated in Indian cuisine, but guess what? their texture & prep is similar to that of banana blossoms and they lend themselves wonderfully to Indian food.

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