Sara Turnasella is my “virtual intern” who has been working behind the scenes doing research for my next book, Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating and Cooking for Health, Energy and Vitality. To give Sara a more public face, I asked her to write about her favorite spring vegetable. Here in California, artichokes might be a regular part of our diet but on the east coast where Sara lives, cooking them often seems more foreign. Please comment below if this helps you get a handle on cooking artichokes and why you might want to.
Introduction to Cooking Artichokes
by Sara Turnasella, Virtual Intern and future Registered Dietitian
Artichokes are so much more than just their hearts! The entire body is rich in vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. This prickly but delicious spring vegetable may be intimidating to some at first, but with some careful preparation, it can be a delightful and fun addition to any meal. The artichoke is also a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is known for its heart-healthy effects. Used for centuries as a treatment for gout, appetite stimulation, and as a breath freshener, the benefits of artichokes are numerous and make it an excellent addition to any diet. Here is a simple recipe to introduce anyone to this delicious thistle, Happy Spring!
Simply Steamed Artichokes
- 4 artichokes
- Half of 1 lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
-Add garlic, lemon juice, bay leaves, and salt and pepper into a pot with a couple inches of water. Simmer.
-Trim the spiky tips of the leaves and the top of the artichoke. Cut off the stem and tear off the base leaves.
-Place artichokes in a steamer basket and into the pot, and cover. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can simple place the artichokes in the pot upside down.
-Simmer for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by how easily the bottom leaves come off. They should feel tender and be plucked off with ease.
-You can use the broth that was simmering as a dipping sauce, or your own favorite sauce. Enjoy by eating the flesh off the leaves!
Note: Artichokes are perfect for pressure cooking as long as they aren’t too large. To see how I prepare and cook them, take a look at this video.
Sara Turnasella, from New York, says,
“I grew passionate about healthy eating and cooking after overcoming obesity as an adolescent. Embracing whole foods and a plant based diet has changed my life dramatically, and it is something that I truly enjoy sharing with others! More than anything, I love to learn about this ever-changing field of all things food-related. I’m a Certified Health Coach and a Dietetic Technician, Registered. I’m currently attending LIU Post where I am studying Nutrition Science, working towards becoming a Dietitian.”