Buttery Baked Artichokes
Have you ever bought fresh artichokes? Most people steer away from buying fresh artichokes due to their unapproachable demeanor and questionable preparation. Artichokes have an intimidating presence with sharp leaves that encompass a delicate “heart” inside. If you build up the courage to discover this delicate “heart” you will be pleased to find it is easy to prepare this adventurous vegetable!
You might be more familiar with marinated artichoke hearts that come in a jar or have been added to a pizza. Artichoke hearts can be found in cans, jars, and frozen which make them a great item to have in your pantry. They can be easily added to your meals to boost the nutrient content. The best way to enjoy fresh artichokes is by baking them in butter, lemon, and garlic. Buttery baked artichokes make an exciting flavorful side dish or snack!
Continue reading to learn how to enjoy this fierce vegetable and why you should consume them during pregnancy!
Benefits of Artichokes
Artichokes contain powerful antioxidants which boost your immune system and protect against cancer.
The following vitamins and minerals are found in artichokes:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Artichokes have a rich fiber content. Fiber is not digestible so it helps to keep contents moving through your digestive tract. Increasing your fiber intake can help alleviate constipation and diarrhea. The fiber content of artichokes serves as a prebiotic for the beneficial bacteria of the large intestine to feed on (1).
Blood Sugar Control
Artichokes are a great food choice to keep blood sugar levels under control, especially for those with diabetes. The fiber in artichokes slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream which helps avoid a spike in blood sugar.
Liver & Gallbladder Support
Artichokes contain chemical components that protect and regenerate the liver (2). One of the chemical components, cynarin, promotes the flow of bile to and from the liver. Easily flowing bile is important for maintaining gallbladder function and for the digestion of fats.
The insoluble fiber present in artichokes can increase the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and zinc. The increase of mineral absorption enhances bone strength which is especially important for children and adolescents (3)(4).
How Artichokes Support Pregnancy
Artichokes are a powerful food to add to your diet during pregnancy due to its richness in vitamins, minerals, and fiber!
- Alleviates constipation
- Increases beneficial bacteria in the digestive system
- Regulates blood sugar, making it a great food if dealing with gestational diabetes
- Supports detoxification in the liver
- Helps to digest fatty acids which are necessary for building your baby’s brain!
- Boosts your immune system
- Source of folate which helps protect against birth defects
- Increases the absorption of minerals
- Enhances bone formation and strength
How to Prepare Artichokes
Wash – Fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water and a dash of vinegar. Dunk and swish artichokes in the mixture – if not organic let soak then rinse.
- You can also use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap instead of vinegar. This is a great soap to use to wash your produce, especially if it is not organic.
Trim – Using a large sharp knife cut off the top inch. Cut off the stem leaving a quarter inch.
Prep – Slice artichoke in half long ways. Using a spoon, scoop out the hairy center of the heart along with the delicate thin leaves surrounding it. Rub cut edges with lemon to avoid browning.
How to Eat Artichokes
Once your artichokes are cooked peel off the leaves one by one and scrape off the “meaty” part of the leaf by bitting down on it and pulling it through your teeth. Once all of the leaves are removed you have reached the heart! This is the best part of the artichoke – especially when dunked in butter!
- 4 small Artichokes
- 1 Lemon
- 2-4 cloves Garlic more or less depending on your taste preference
- 2 Tbs Butter (grass-fed) melted
- 1 Tbs Basil
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 375F.
Wash artichokes. Dunk and swish artichokes in water with a dash of vinegar.
Trim artichokes. Cut off the top inch and the stem, leaving a quarter inch.
Prepare artichokes. Slice in half, rub with lemon to avoid browning. Use a spoon to scoop out the delicate leaf layer and the hair surrounding the heart. Rub with lemon juice.
Place artichoke halves cut side up in a baking dish. Squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over the artichoke halves.
Roughly chop garlic and divvy up into each artichoke heart then pour melted butter over the garlic.
Sprinkle each half with sea salt, black pepper, and basil.
Drizzle olive oil over the artichokes.
Flip artichoke halves over so leafy side is up.
Bake at 375F for 10 minutes uncovered then cover with lid or foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Artichokes are done cooking when a fork can easily poke into the stem.
Once you remove artichokes from the pan pour off the liquid into a small dish to use for dipping.
If you can’t find fresh artichokes you can still obtain the health benefits from buying them canned or jarred. They can be added to most dishes, especially salads, pizza, or pasta.
The next time you see artichokes at the store I challenge you to get adventurous and give this recipe a try!!
Information in this post was gathered from The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray.