Artichoke Hearts for a Healthier St. Patrick’s Day

Last year in Italy we went to the synagogue in Rome. Behind it was a little shopping area with fresh food. Here I am with a table filled with globe artichokes!


I love (globe) artichokes any way they are prepared: steamed, baked, broiled or marinated (the hearts). Growing up I never ate an artichoke, so my love of this veggie came late in my life and I am certainly making up for that! Fortunately, artichokes are a health-promoting food. Here is some basic information about it from a new website for me: http://www.elements4health.com/the-heart-of-an-artichoke.html for more information on this fantastic food grown mainly in California. I plan to be in California in April, so maybe I will find new ways to eat their delicate leaves and hearts. Below is a direct quote from the website:

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables, originating from Ethiopia, with Italy currently being the world’s largest producer. It was valued in ancient Greece and Rome as a digestive aid, available only to the wealthy due to its scarcity.

It was the French and Spanish explorers who first brought artichokes to the shores of the United States, and today virtually all of the globe artichokes grown in the US are produced in Castroville, California.

Nutrients in Artichokes

Globe artichokes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, magnesium, and the trace mineral chromium. They are a very good source of Vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, and the trace mineral manganese. They are a good source of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, and potassium.

Today’s recipes use artichoke hearts, which I purchase in glass jars, not cans,because of my concern for BPA linings that are linked with cancer. (See my posting in Health Flashes from March 14th about the Environmental Working Group & BPAs.)

Artichoke & Basil dip or spread with toasted rice tortilla triangles

 

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, measuring cups, blender
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Categories: Vegan, Gluten-free, no sugar

Ingredients

one cup(packed) basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 six ounce jars artichoke hearts, drained (glass jars)
1/4 + 1 Tbl. olive oil
possibly 1/4 cup water (see directions)

Directions

1. Place everything in the blender or food processor except the extra tablespoon of olive oil and the water. Blend until smooth. 
2. If the dip is too thick for your liking, add the extra tablespoon of oil. If you want it to be more spreadable, add the water and blend again.

Yield: Approximately 1 1/4 cups, if using the water.

Variation: To make this into a pesto, use only one jar of artichoke hearts. The pesto will be greener. See photo below:

 

As an alternative to basil, you can use spinach for Artichoke Spinach Dip and use walnuts in place of pine nuts:

Ingredients

2 cups washed & tightly packed organic spinach
1/4 cup (soaked) walnut pieces (They blend & digest easier)
1 six ounce jar of artichoke hearts, drained
2 garlic cloves,minced
1/4 c. olive oil & 1/8 cup water (washed spinach has extra  water clinging to leaves)

Directions

Blend or process until smooth. If using a blender with a narrow base, you may need a little extra water. Use your judgment, depending on whether or not you want a spread (very thick), a dip (less thick), or a pesto (more pourable)

 


Globe artichokes are actually a thistle.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day ♥

 

 

3 thoughts on “Artichoke Hearts for a Healthier St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Please do send my website to all your friends! I love to share my findings & get responses like yours. Also, you can subscribe in the upper right hand corner of my HOme Page.
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