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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Is anyone else afraid of artichokes? We were absolutely in that camp, but we overcame our fears and now regret not doing so sooner! Artichokes are delicious, fiber-rich, and surprisingly simple to prepare if you learn a few strategies.

We’ll show you everything you need to know about artichokes, from how to choose and cut them to how to keep them from browning and how to consume them (with two excellent sauce options for dipping!). Only one pot and an artichoke stand between you and artichoke mastery! Let’s get this party started!

Artichokes: A Quick Guide + Health Benefits

Artichokes are gorgeous flower buds that grow on a thistle plant. They grow in warm, sunny, and temperate areas, such as California, the Mediterranean, and North Africa. They have a season from March to early summer, as well as a brief season in the fall.

Artichokes have been prized for their flavor and health benefits for generations. They’re rich in a form of fiber called inulin that feeds good gut bacteria. They also contain folate, vitamin K, magnesium, vitamin C, phosphorus, and phenolic compounds (which means they’re high in antioxidants). And in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, they were utilized as a digestive aid for liver and gallbladder health.

How to Prepare Artichokes

Artichokes can be grilled, roasted, boiled, or steamed, but we’ve found that steaming is the most straightforward and accessible option.

Choosing an Artichoke is the first step.

You’ll want to choose fresh artichokes once you’ve decided you’re ready to take on the mighty artichoke (it’s easier than it seems, we guarantee!). When selecting an artichoke, look for one with a tightly closed bloom, one that feels weighty, and one that is largely green with little browning or bruising.

Step 2: Get Ready

The top third of the artichoke (about 1 inch) should be cut off and discarded. Because it is difficult, it is recommended to use a large serrated knife (use a motion similar to what you would do to cut through a loaf of thick, rustic bread).

Step 3: Browning Prevention

Then, to keep the artichoke from browning, massage it with lemon.

Step 4: Prepare the artichokes by steaming them.

Bring a big saucepan of water to a boil with a few inches of water. Steam the artichokes for 25-35 minutes in a steamer basket over boiling water. Smaller artichokes will take ~25 minutes to cook and large ones will take ~35 minutes. To avoid burning the pot, you may need to add more water.

When the timer goes off, remove the artichokes to a platter and set them aside to cool somewhat. When the petals readily slide out when tugged, you’ll know they’re done cooking.

Sauces for Artichokes

Artichokes go perfectly with anything rich and citrusy. We selected two sauces to be our favorites after a lot of testing:

Lemon Dill Butter — this one is light and lemony and includes melted butter (vegan or dairy), lemon juice, garlic, dried dill, and salt.

Lemon Dill Yogurt Dip – similar to traditional mayo-based artichoke dips, but made lighter with coconut yogurt (dairy yogurt also works!). Lemon juice, garlic, dried dill, and salt are also included.

What is the Best Way to Eat an Artichoke?

Serve the artichokes with one or both of the sauces nearby on serving plates.

Starting with the artichokes’ outsides:

One petal at a time should be peeled away.

Dip it in your favorite sauce.

Scrape the slightly thicker bottom section of the petal where it was linked to the artichoke with your teeth.

Repeat with the rest of the petals (it’s difficult to chew)!

What happened to the heart of the artichoke?

You’ll eventually start picking petals that are pink and have little edible flesh. This indicates that you’re approaching the artichoke heart (the delicate center — so delicious!).

Then you’ll observe what appears to be a clump of hairy fibers. It’s known as the choke, and we don’t think the name is a coincidence (ahem, lesson learned). Choke is a fibrous, inedible substance.

We hope you find our artichoke tutorial useful! Artichokes are a type of vegetable that includes:

Tender

Nutty

Dip-able

Fiber-packed

Versatile

It & Surprisingly simple to make!

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke (2 Sauces!)

A simple, step-by-step approach to cooking (and eating!) an artichoke. Two delectable dipping sauces are available. As an appetizer or a side dish, this dish is fantastic!

Ingredients

ARTICHOKES
2 entire artichokes (any size — smaller artichokes cook faster / we used 320 g artichokes with stems attached)

1 medium lemon, half-sliced

BUTTER WITH LEMON AND DILL

2 tbsp vegan butter (or dairy butter if not vegan or dairy-free) melted

1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, crushed or minced

a quarter teaspoon of dried dill

1 teaspoon of sea salt

-OR- CREAMY LEMON DILL DIP

2 tbsp coconut yogurt (unsweetened) (we like Culina or CocoJune)

2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise if not vegan or egg-free)

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, crushed or minced

a quarter teaspoon of dried dill

1 teaspoon of sea salt

Instructions

TO Chop ARTICHOKE: Place the artichoke on its side on a cutting board and cut off the top third (one inch) with a large serrated knife, revealing the interior petals. Then, to make the artichoke sit flat on the cutting surface, chop off the stem all the way to the base.

TO STEAM ARTICHOKE, fill a big pot halfway with water and place a steamer basket insert over it. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, split a lemon in half and brush the lemon along the outside of the artichoke petals and flat top to prevent browning. Reduce the heat to medium and insert the artichoke(s) top side down in the steamer basket, covering with a lid once the water has reached a boil. Steam for 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of your artichokes), adding extra water every 15 minutes to prevent your pot from burning.

To prevent browning, place artichokes in a steamer basket and brush one side with lemon.

PREPARE THE SAUCE: While the artichokes are cooking, make your dipping sauce of choice (Lemon Dill Butter or Creamy Lemon Dill Dip). The Lemon Dill Butter is lighter and lemonier, while the Creamy Lemon-Dill Dip is a typical mayo-based dip lightened with coconut yogurt. To make either dip, combine all ingredients in a small mixing dish. To taste, adjust the tartness by adding additional lemon juice or salt.

Steamed artichokes with two sauce dishes for dipping

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR ARTICHOKE IS DONE: Transfer the artichokes to a cutting board or serving platter with tongs. To verify if they’re done, pull out a petal – it should pull straight out effortlessly. If not, return the artichoke to the steamer basket and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the petals easily slide out.

Pulling an artichoke flower from a steamed artichoke

HOW TO EAT ARTICHOKE: Place the artichoke on a serving plate when ready to eat. Pull each leaf/petal out one at a time, starting from the outside. The slightly thicker bottom section of the petal where it was joined is the edible component. Dip it into the sauce and, while holding the top of the petal, scrape out the small soft portion at the bottom with your teeth. The remaining petal should be discarded because it is tough to chew. Repeat this process until you have pink petals (there isn’t much edible flesh on them).

Around the heart of an artichoke, peeling the petals

ARTICHOKE HEART: The pink petals indicate that you’re getting close to the heart of the artichoke (the tender center). Remove and discard all of the petals until you reach a section with a lot of hairy fibers. To remove and discard the hair-like fibers known as the choke, use a spoon to go around the edge where the fibers meet the soft flesh and scoop in a circular motion. The heart is the remaining circular section, and it’s delicious, buttery, and soft. It can be sliced up and dipped in the sauce or spooned on top.

Using a spoon to remove the choke from an artichoke heart

Artichokes are best served warm and fresh as an appetizer or side, but leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Artichoke hearts on a plate sprinkled with lemon dill butter and lemon dill yogurt mayo dip

Notes

*You can make only 1 artichoke or as many as will fit in the steamer basket.

*Nutrition information is a preliminary approximation determined with large artichokes and with lemon dill butter for dipping.

dietary advice (1 of 2 servings)

1 artichoke with lemon dill sauce per serving

171 calories

18.4 g carbohydrates

5.5 g protein

10.3 g fat

8.1 g saturated fat

0.1 g polyunsaturated fat

0 g monounsaturated fat

0 g trans fat

0 mg cholesterol

254 mg sodium

622 mg potassium

8.8 g fiber

2 g sugar

Vitamin A: 32 IU

Vitamin C: 24 mg

Calcium: 77 mg

2.1 mg ironLEMON DILL BUTTER

2 tbsp vegan butter (or dairy butter if not vegan or dairy-free) melted

1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tiny garlic clove, smashed or minced

a quarter teaspoon of dried dill

1 teaspoon of sea salt

-OR- DIP IN CREAMY LEMON DILL

2 tbsp coconut yogurt (unsweetened) (we like Culina or CocoJune)

2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise if not vegan or egg-free)

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tiny garlic clove, smashed or minced

a quarter teaspoon of dried dill

1 teaspoon of sea salt

Instructions

TO Chop ARTICHOKE: Place the artichoke on its side on a cutting board and cut off the top third (one inch) with a large serrated knife, revealing the interior petals. Then, to make the artichoke sit flat on the cutting surface, chop off the stem all the way to the base.

TO STEAM ARTICHOKE, fill a big pot halfway with water and place a steamer basket insert over it. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, split a lemon in half and brush the lemon along the outside of the artichoke petals and flat top to prevent browning. Reduce the heat to medium and insert the artichoke(s) top side down in the steamer basket, covering with a lid once the water has reached a boil. Steam for 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of your artichokes), adding extra water every 15 minutes to prevent your pot from burning.

To prevent browning, place artichokes in a steamer basket and brush one side with lemon.

PREPARE THE SAUCE: While the artichokes are cooking, make your dipping sauce of choice (Lemon Dill Butter or Creamy Lemon-Dill Dip). The Lemon Dill Butter is lighter and lemonier, while the Creamy Lemon-Dill Dip is a typical mayo-based dip lightened with coconut yogurt. To make either dip, combine all ingredients in a small mixing dish. To taste, adjust the tartness by adding additional lemon juice or salt.

Steamed artichokes with two sauce dishes for dipping

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR ARTICHOKE IS DONE: Transfer the artichokes to a cutting board or serving platter with tongs. Pull out a petal to see whether they’re finished; it should come out straight. If not, return the artichoke to the steamer basket and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the petals easily slide out.

Pulling an artichoke flower from a steamed artichoke

HOW TO EAT ARTICHOKE: Place the artichoke on a serving plate when ready to eat. Pull each leaf/petal out one at a time, starting from the outside. The slightly thicker bottom section of the petal where it was joined is the edible component. Dip it into the sauce and, while holding the top of the petal, scrape out the small soft portion at the bottom with your teeth. The remaining petal should be discarded because it is tough to chew. Repeat this process until you have pink petals (there isn’t much edible flesh on them).

Around the heart of an artichoke, peeling the petals

ARTICHOKE HEART: The pink petals indicate that you’re getting close to the heart of the artichoke (the tender center). Remove and discard all of the petals until you reach a section with a lot of hairy fibers. To remove and discard the hair-like fibers known as the choke, use a spoon to go around the edge where the fibers meet the soft flesh and scoop in a circular motion. The heart is the remaining circular section, and it’s delicious, buttery, and soft. It can be sliced up and dipped in the sauce or spooned on top.

removing the choke from an artichoke heart with a spoon

Artichokes are best served warm and fresh as an appetizer or side, but leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Lemon dill butter and lemon dill yogurt mayo dip on a dish of artichoke hearts

Notes

*Make as few or as many artichokes as will fit in the steamer basket.

*Nutrition information is a preliminary estimate based on big artichokes and a dipping sauce of lemon dill butter.

dietary advice (1 of 2 servings)

1 artichoke with lemon dill sauce per serving

171 calories

18.4 g carbohydrates

5.5 g protein

10.3 g fat

8.1 g saturated fat

0.1 g polyunsaturated fat

0 g monounsaturated fat

0 g trans fat

0 mg cholesterol

254 mg sodium

622 mg potassium

8.8 g fiber

2 g sugar

32 IU Vitamin A

24 mg vitamin C

77 mg calcium

2.1 mg iron

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