Head to many chain sit-down restaurants and you will almost always find a high calorie artichoke dip on the menu. But in its virgin form, the artichoke is a very healthy food.
One of its major health benefits, according Nutrition-And-You.com is that it is high in fiber and “helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad or 'LDL' cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines and help prevent colon cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.”
I can remember my grandmother steaming and braising artichokes and we would enjoy them leaf by leaf, being very careful not to get pricked by the “pinchies” on them. She would say in her old world way was that artichokes are very good for you.
In fact Livestrong.com agrees with my grandmother and also says they are more than just fiber.
“One medium artichoke qualifies as a good source (at least 10 percent of the daily value) or excellent source (at least 20 percent of the daily value) of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese. The beauty of nutrient-rich vegetables like the artichoke is that you get the nutrients and fiber without a lot of calories. The nutrients mentioned above are a bargain at fewer than 65 calories.”
If you in fact do not have time to pick, steam or braise, here are some healthier alternatives to enjoying artichokes at home and not at only as an unhealthy appetizer at a restaurant.
ARTICHOKE CHIP AND DIP
• 2 ounce jar of chopped artichokes
• 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (or substitute plain yogurt)
• 2 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
• ½ cup of cooked spinach
• 1 whole wheat tortilla
Cut tortilla into 8 small pieces. Toast.
Mix all other ingredients together and heat in microwave for about 1 minute.
Dip tortilla pieces into dip.
ROASTED PEPPER, OLIVE AND ARTICHOKE SALAD
• ¼ cup of pitted sliced black olives
• ¼ cup of jarred roasted peppers
• ¼ cup of jarred artichokes
• 1 cup of fresh spinach
Serve over spinach lettuce with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.