I have to admit that artichokes are something that always sounded weird and a little frightening to me at first.
Before I was vegan, I had never had an actual artichoke. I had tried Spinach Artichoke dip at Moxie’s before, but it’s filled with cream cheese, and let’s be honest, most vegetables covered in cream cheese probably taste good anyway. So this was not a good indication for me whether I would like them or not!
The first time I ever had artichokes in their vegetable form was on one of Amy’s cheese-less pizzas and it was a new experience. I wasn’t sure I liked them at first.
I’ve tried marinated artichokes in oil and brine, and now steamed artichokes on their own and even in soup. I have to say I am a BIG fan of fresh made artichokes. The canned/jarred ones are seasoned a little too much and the ones in oil are just gross to me.
When you prepare them yourself they have this nice creamy taste (the artichoke heart) and you can do so many things with these delicious morsels it’s not even funny…
So in case you’ve never tried an artichoke or were seriously intimidated by these beastly looking vegetables I want to show you how to cut and prepare them yourself.
If you’re just doing one or two for a snack or for stuffed artichokes, it’s not that much work. I did 4 and it took a little longer. Mostly because I had to keep photographing every step!
I love how pretty the purple centre is.
How To Cut, Prepare and Cook An Artichoke
for Recipes or Making Stuffed Artichokes
Step 1: Using a very sharp knife, cut the top point off of the artichoke. Get about the first 2 inches. These tips are prickly and you’re not going to eat it anyway.
Step 2: Using a very sharp pair of scissors, cut off the pointy tips of each leaf all the way around on all the remaining tips. These are sharp and pokey and you don’t want them.
Step 3: Grasp the bottom of the artichoke in your hands and using your two thumbs, fan out the centre of the artichoke so that it is separated. The one on the right has been fanned out, the one on the left has not been.
Step 4: If you want to make stuffed artichokes you can pull out the inner leaves that are light green with purple tips (Being careful not to poke yourself of course.) Go slowly one or two leaves at a time. (If you don’t care and are just going to cook the whole thing to eat it petal by petal, you can skip this step. It will just take longer to cook)
This is what it looks like when you start pulling the inner petals out. The inside part can be a little sharp.
Step 5: (If you’re pulling out the centre petals) Get a spoon and start scraping out the fuzzy “choke” of the artichoke. Make sure you get all the way around the sides. Some artichokes are easier or harder to clean. I had 3 easy and 1 hard one.
Step 6: Now that your artichoke “heart” is revealed you want to dribble some fresh lemon or lime juice on it to keep it from oxidizing too badly and give it some flavour.
Step 7: Slice off the bottom stem from the artichoke close to the root. You can discard, or cut off the hard green exterior and steam the light green/white interior to use in your recipe.
Step 8: Steam or pressure cook your artichokes. Steam them for 20-30 minutes. Check on them after 15-20 minutes. It depends on the size of them and how hard they are as well. I pressure cooked mine. Because the inside choke was taken out they will cook MUCH faster than if you leave it in. So it’s up to you if you want to save on cooking time by doing this step or not. Pressure cook for 7-8 minutes just until tender. You don’t want your artichoke to fall apart.
What To Do With Steamed Artichokes?
When your artichokes are done you can let them cool and either fill them with dip or stuffing, or cut out the interior “hearts” to put on pizza, sandwiches, blend into soup etc. The leaves you can peel off one by one and put the inside portion into your mouth and scrape off the thin layer of tasty flesh. A lot of people like to dip these in mayo (I don’t do this) but you could make like a tahini or peanut dip or just eat them plain.
If you want to make a vegan spinach artichoke dip you can look for some Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese vegan cream cheese at Whole Foods or your local health food store. I haven’t made one yet, but I’m sure it would be good. I just try to stay away from the really fatty vegan dairy alternatives myself.
I used my artichokes for a Cream of Artichoke Soup that is in my Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm recipe ebook. It will be available soon, I’m just finishing writing the intro and doing the layout and metric conversions. I will let you know when it’s ready! None of the recipes in it are on the blog here, they are all secret so far…
Alternatively, if you have a recipe that calls for artichokes you can buy an 8 oz can of artichoke hearts in water or brine (skip the oily ones, even rinsing won’t get rid of the oil) or you can find frozen artichoke hearts at a lot of grocery stores.