If you’re simply steaming your artichokes, you are doing it wrong. I don’t mean to get all judgy, but seriously, you’re missing out on something really good. I say this because artichokes are one of the most delectable veggies out there, but when they aren’t prepared and cooked the right way, they can be tasteless and bland. They are one of those vegetables that need to be infused with flavor, and if you get it right, your tastebuds will rejoice.
Besides being delicious, artichokes are packed with nutrition. Rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, artichokes help protect against cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. They also promote liver and digestive health.
Just in case you’ve never eaten an artichoke, here’s a little tip: it takes a little extra work, but it is well worth it. Once cooked, just peel off the leaves one by one and scrape off the “meaty” part of the leaf with your teeth. As you get closer to the center, the leaves will become smaller and more tender, with the very central leaves usually being completely soft and edible. It takes a little bit of patience, but you will be rewarded when you get to the heart of the artichoke: it packs a punch of flavor is the part that you can eat completely. That being said, don’t skip over eating the fleshy part of those leaves, because that is where the majority of the nutrients are.
Okay, so we know how healthy artichokes are and how to eat them, but how do we prepare them to make sure they are delicious too? My favorite way is the way my mom makes them…they are flavorful and juicy. I promise this recipe — which is Paleo, AIP, and Whole30 friendly — will not disappoint:
- 4 large artichokes or 8-12 small artichokes
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, plus extra to drizzle towards the end
- unrefined, mineral sea salt and ground black pepper to taste (omit black pepper for strict AIP)
Pull off browned leaves, trim stems, and chop tops of artichokes to create a flat top. Rinse clean.
Very carefully, pull back leaves to create some space and stuff garlic and parsley in between the leaves where desired (use a small utensil if you need to). Make sure to stuff some down the center of the artichoke (the more garlic and parsley you use, the more flavorful it will be).
Place in large stock pot with artichokes standing up. Fill water in pot to almost the top of the artichokes. The tops of the artichokes should be peeking out of the water.
Drizzle tops of artichokes with EVOO or avocado oil (allowing it to seep in between leaves) and season with salt and pepper. Add some salt to the water, too.
Bring water to a boil, then simmer with lid on for at least 1½ hours (for small artichokes, cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour). Tilt lid/partially cover for the last 20 minutes of your cooking time. (If you are making small artichokes and you find that most of your water is evaporating, you can add some water along the way.)
To test if they are ready after this time, pull off an outer leaf, cool, and taste it for tenderness. If the “meat” on the leaf is easily scraped off with your teeth, the artichokes are ready.
Remove from heat momentarily and drain most of the water. Drizzle some extra EVOO (or avocado oil) and add additional salt and pepper. Return to heat, cover, and simmer for at least 5 more minutes.
Serve and enjoy! (Note: As I work through eating the leaves, I usually sprinkle a little extra salt as I go along, because the seasoning doesn’t usually get to enough of the insides.)
Remember to be very careful when handling raw artichokes. The leaves can be very sharp.