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!