Artichokes are among the most unique and flavorful vegetables that you can find. They are, unfortunately, also quite difficult to incorporate into diets for some people, as they are usually served up with butter and other unhealthy seasonings.
If you’ve never cooked artichokes before because of the dietary concerns or because the vegetable itself is intimidating, read on for some excellent healthy ways to incorporate them into your diet. Artichokes are, in fact, full of essential nutrients and very healthy, provided that they’re prepared in the proper way. In all cases, you’ll need to know how to best select and prepare an artichoke. This involves cutting off certain parts of the vegetable that are chewy or inedible and selecting the leaves, hearts or other parts that are best to eat. Ask a grocer or an experienced chef for advice in this regard.
One of the best ways to prepare artichokes in a healthy manner and to also maintain the natural flavor of the vegetable is to steam them. Cut off the base of the artichoke and prepare the leaves for steaming. Then place the artichoke itself in a steamer over a pot of boiling water. Leave it for several minutes until the color of the leaves begins to change. Test the leaves to make sure that they have softened up to the degree that you prefer. You can then remove the artichoke from the steam using tongs or another tool so that you don’t burn yourself. They can be eaten plain or with a variety of seasonings (see below).
Another excellent way to prepare artichokes in a healthy manner is to grill them. They can be grilled over an open flame or, perhaps more likely, on a barbecue grill. This procedure works very similar to steaming; you’ll need to prepare the vegetable in the same manner, and continue to grill it until the leaves are adequately cooked. You can then remove the artichoke from the grill and take the leaves off one by one, eating off the fleshy pulp on the inside of each leaf in order to best gather the nutrients of the vegetable.
3. Healthy Seasoning Options
Many people shy away from artichokes as a healthy vegetable because they are so often eaten with butter. While the leaves can be dipped into butter before eating, there are a number of alternatives that are much healthier and equally delicious. For instance, try dipping the leaves in a lemon juice mixture for a tangy citrus flavor that has no sodium or fat. You can incorporate light salad dressings as dips as well; many people find that a light ranch dip is a good alternative to butter that provides fewer calories and fat. Experiment with other dip options to find one that works best for you.