If there’s a vegetable I don’t know enough about it’s artichokes. Maybe spirulina, or kale, or samphire. But artichokes are so hot right now. Probably because of the amazing artichoke-inspired dishes and all of the health benefits you can get from the lovely veggie.
So why should you include artichokes more often? Artichokes have a range of minerals, nutrients, and plant-based chemicals, all of which are important for a healthy liver and cancer prevention.
A 2004 USDA study on antioxidants in foods put artichokes within the top 10, and the fourth highest ranked vegetable. The only things above artichokes on the list are blueberries and beans. Yes, artichokes support a strong liver and help prevent against cancer, but they’ve also been seen to be highly effective against heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Artichokes and Cancer Prevention
Artichokes are high in polyphenol-type antioxidants, making them great breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia preventers. Research has shown that artichoke leaf extract has key antioxidants for inducing cell death (apoptosis) and slowing cancer cell growth.
Artichokes and Liver Health
Artichokes contain silymarin, a flavonoid known for optimizing liver cell function. In addition, artichokes increase bile production which is associated with cynarin – a beneficial compound for a healthy liver.
It’s not hard to get artichokes into your diet, you’ve just got to know where to put them. Here are a few ideas.
4 Awesome Artichoke Recipes
These are all vegan recipes. You can, of course, make any additions you see fit.
Kale and Artichoke Pizza
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
3 cups shredded kale, lightly steamed
2 large artichoke hearts (about half a can), rinsed, drained and finely chopped
3 tbsp Daiya havarti vegan cheese (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt. Whisk well to make sure there are no lumps.
- Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Spread the base with tomato sauce, then top with kale, artichokes and vegan cheese. Pop the pan back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Allow the pizza to cool for several minutes then cut into slices and serve.
Walnut-Crusted Artichoke Hearts
½ cup toasted walnut pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, chickpea flour, or fine cornmeal
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon very fine lemon zest, optional
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup nondairy milk
Neutral vegetable oil, for frying
1½ cups cooked frozen or canned artichoke hearts, well drained and quartered
Lemon wedges, to serve
- In a food processor, process the walnuts until finely ground.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and nondairy milk. Process until smooth and well blended.
- Transfer to a shallow bowl. (The batter will be thick)
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Dip the artichoke hearts in the batter, turning to coat all over, then add them to the hot pan, working in batches if needed.
- Cook until nicely browned on both sides, turning once.
Serve hot with lemon wedges, and enjoy!
1 piece whole wheat bread 1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 medium sized onion (about 2 cups), chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
¼ cup vegan mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine in a food processor: 1 piece of whole wheat bread and 1 tsp vegan butter. Pulse until crumbs form. Set aside in a bowl.
- In a food processor combine white beans, nutritional yeast, water, salt, basil, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet, combine olive oil and onions; heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. • Add garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes. Once garlic and onions are cooked and smelling delicious, add chopped artichokes and spinach. Stir and cook on medium heat until spinach wilts.
- Shut off heat and add contents of food processor to skillet. Stir well. Add 3/4 of the breadcrumbs and all the vegan mozzarella cheese to the mixture, stirring again. At this point you’ll have a thick, veggie filled, yellowish mixture that will smell cheesy and awesome. Try and resist! Its light years better after being cooked.
- Spread the rest of the bread crumbs on top of the mixture, then cover the cast iron pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until mixture is bubbly and melty and hot.
Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with tortilla or pita chips. Enjoy!
Artichoke and Pesto Pistachio Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Rinse quinoa and combine with water in a pot, uncovered. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer covered. Cook for 15 minutes. Let sit covered for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2 cups basil, packed
½ cup pistachios
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
A pinch of black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Leave slightly chunky.
½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup canned artichoke hearts, chopped
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
Basil leaves, for garnish
Drizzle of olive oil, for garnish
Stir ½ cup of your homemade pesto into the quinoa and add toppings. Enjoy!
Have A Heart
For more great artichoke recipes check here.