Want to try artichokes but don’t know where to start? Then, you are in the right place! Here we’ll show you the best way to clean and cook artichokes.
We’ll also give you some ideas for easy and delicious recipes with fresh and jarred artichoke hearts. Use the table of content below this picture to navigate through the page.
Table of Contents
Artichokes have a delicate and nutlike flavor, and the core, also known as the heart, is very tender and has a butter-like consistency.
Artichokes are made up of several parts, some you can eat, some not: the thorns, the petals (or leaves), the choke (the fuzzy part in the center), the stem, and the artichoke heart, the best part of the artichoke.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to clean and how to cook artichokes. We will also show you how to cook with marinated jarred artichoke hearts, which are a great alternative to fresh artichokes.
How to clean artichokes
1. Gloves, water, and lemon juice
When cleaning artichokes, we advise wearing gloves or rubbing your hands with lemon juice.
We do this because otherwise, our fingers will turn brown. This happens due to the high amount of antioxidants in artichokes, one of the highest in any vegetable.
Antioxidants react with oxygen and color your hands.
Also, to prevent the artichokes from turning brown, fill a bowl with cold water and lemon juice. This will slow down the oxidation, keeping your artichokes bright and green.
2. Thorns, outer petals, and stem
We want to remove the thorns, so go ahead and cut them off with a bread or serrated knife.
Rub the inside of the artichoke with lemon to prevent it from turning brown.
We also want to get rid of some thicker outer petals, which are way too hard to eat.
We prefer to remove most of the outer leaves until we get to the tender inner leaves, which are a light yellow color.
But you can keep more leaves if you prefer; trim them down with kitchen shears or kitchen scissors, then remove them once cooked.
Next, cut off the stem, or part of it, leave a couple of inches or about 5 cm and peel it with a paring knife or vegetable peeler, removing the woodier part on the outside.
At the same time, trim the bottom part of the artichoke.
3. Carve out the hairy choke
And finally, before cooking the artichoke, we’ve got to remove the choke, the fuzzy part in the center, especially if we serve them to kids.
The choke is not only very unpleasant to eat but can also be a little dangerous, as it’s made of tiny hair that can get stuck in your throat.
To remove the choke, gently open up the center of the artichoke with your thumbs, exposing the fuzzy part.
With a small knife, cut out the choke, then remove it with a teaspoon. With the choke, remove the small leaves attached to it, as they can be quite spiky.
Some like to remove the choke after the artichoke is cooked. You can do that by slicing the artichoke in half and removing the choke with a spoon.
We think it isn’t enjoyable to do that operation while eating. So we remove the choke before cooking the artichoke.
4. Put them in cold lemon water
Put the clean artichokes in the bowl with lemon water and cover them with a damp piece of kitchen paper to slow oxidation and keep them green and fresh.
If you want to get ahead and clean your artichoke in advance, you can keep them in a bowl with lemon water in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Also, if you don’t want to discard the outer leaves of the artichoke, we have a recipe on how to use artichoke scraps to make some delicious recipes like soup or mayonnaise.
Recipes with Fresh Artichokes
Steamed artichokes are probably the easiest artichoke recipe. To steam the artichokes in a steamer basket, you need a pot with a lid and a steamer basket.
Add about an inch of water (2.5 cm) to the pot, add some aromatics like mint or bay leaves if you like, place the steamer basket in, arrange the artichokes on the basket, face down, and cover with the lid.
Bring the pot to a simmer and steam until the artichokes are soft. It can take between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes.
To check if they are done, slide a small knife through the base of the artichoke. If it slides easily, the artichokes are steaming.
To serve them, take them out of the pot, place them on a plate, and add some freshly squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and black pepper.
Add some freshly chopped parsley or mint on top, a drizzle of olive oil, or serve them with vegan mayo or drizzled with chimichurri.
How to eat steamed artichokes
Depending on how well you cleaned them, you might still have some rough petals around the artichoke. If you do, then eat them one by one, like so.
Hold the petal with the tips of your thumb and index fingers, then put it in your mouth and scrape the flesh off with your teeth.
This is fun to do, and the leaves are packed with antioxidants like no other veggie, but it’s going to be messy, we warned you. You can use our vegan mayo as a dipping sauce or the petals if you like.
Then when you reach the softer petals, you can eat the artichoke with a knife and fork or with your hands.
We like to remove the petals from the heart and eat them first; they are super soft. Then all that’s left is the heart, which is a delicacy.
When cooked well, steamed artichokes melt in your mouth; they are creamy and with a mild flavor, slightly nutty, and somewhat sweet.
And because we cleaned out the choke before, you don’t have to worry about that, and you can eat the whole thing.
Another delicious way of serving steamed artichokes is to cut them open in half, arrange them on a plate, then season them with finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and a squeeze of lemon.
Check out our steamed artichokes recipe.
If you don’t have a steamer basket or want to try another, possibly more delicious way of eating artichokes, try braising them, which is cooking them with a bit of water in a medium to large pot that can fit them snuggly. This recipe is called “Carciofi alla Romana” in Italy, and it’s wonderful!
You can do it in a pot, instant pot, or pressure cooker (reducing the cooking time by about half).
To do that, clean the artichokes as we did before. Cut out all the tougher outer petals for this preparation.
Then, add a drizzle of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, and some mint leaves to a pot. Next, take your artichokes, season them with salt on the inside, and put them face-down into the pot.
Add water to cover about half the artichokes, put a lid on and simmer on medium to low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes.
To check if they are done, slide a small knife through the base of the artichoke. If it slides easily, the artichokes are done cooking.
Serve them on a plate with fresh parsley, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Cooked this way, they are delicious, and since they are all cleaned, you can eat them with a fork and knife without getting all messy.
They are a perfect starter or side dish; you can put them on a piece of toasted bread to make a delicious artichoke bruschetta. It’s crazy good!
Check out our braised artichokes recipe.
Artichokes are so versatile that they can even be cooked easily in a pan. To do that, clean the artichokes as we did before, cut the thorns, remove the rugged petals, and trim and peel the stem.
Then cut the artichokes in quarters. With a small knife, remove the choke, then put the artichokes in the bowl with cold lemon water.
To a non-stick pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, and some mint leaves with their stems, and toss in the artichokes.
Sautè on medium heat for about 3 minutes, then when the pan is hot, add ¼ cup of dry white wine. You can use vegetable broth if you prefer not to cook with wine.
Simmer without a lid for about 5 minutes; then the wine has evaporated completely; add a cup of water and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the artichokes are tender.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley or mint, and serve. They are great as a starter, or even better, to put in a chickpea frittata.
Check out our frittata recipe; it’s super simple, made with chickpea flour and water, then cooked for a few minutes on a pan, flipped, and served.
We are big-time artichoke frittata fans in our family. We often eat this as a main, since it’s fulfilling and nutritious. Or in a sandwich with a tiny bit of vegan mayo for a quick lunch on the go. It’s so so good!
Check out our pan-fried artichokes recipe.
Another great way to cook artichokes is to bake them in the oven with potatoes. I kid you not; they are so good we always eat the whole tray straight out of the oven!
First, peel and cut 3 to 4 medium potatoes into wedges and put them in a large pot with cold water. Set aside.
Then, clean the artichokes as we did before, cut them in quarters, remove the choke, and place them in cold lemon water to prevent them from turning brown.
Now preheat the oven to 430°F or 220°C, and bring the water with the potatoes to a boil.
Pre-cook the potatoes for 5 minutes. Then add the artichokes to the boiling water and boil with the potatoes for five more minutes.
Pre Cooking the potatoes and the artichokes will keep them soft and moist inside once baked.
Drain the potatoes and the artichokes and place them onto a baking tray. Season with a generous pinch of salt, black pepper, dried herbs and spices like rosemary, mint, and paprika, a drizzle of olive oil, and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic.
Toss everything together, then bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, till the potatoes and the artichokes are crispy and golden on the outside but fully cooked on the inside.
Serve as a side with freshly chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. You’ll love them!
Check out our roasted artichokes recipe.
Recipes with Jarred Artichoke Hearts
This 20-minute artichoke pasta is creamy, tangy, and packed with tender artichoke hearts. It’s an easy yet restaurant-worthy everyday meal that everyone will love.
Check out our artichoke pasta recipe.
This bright, fresh, Italian-inspired artichoke salad is a quick side dish and a healthy meal where arugula, tomatoes, artichokes, and olives marry a tasty Italian dressing.
Check out our artichoke salad recipe.
This creamy and crunchy artichoke pasta bake is our favorite pasta to date. Made with artichokes cooked in a pan, peas, and potatoes, it’s perfect as a delicious and fulfilling family dinner.
Check out our artichoke pasta bake recipe.
Enjoy artichoke pesto just like any other pesto; it’s super quick and easy to make at home. It’s excellent as a sauce with pasta, a spread on bruschetta, or pizza and veggies.
Check out our artichoke pesto recipe.
This vegan cream cheese is made with five simple ingredients, and it’s smooth, velvety, and perfect to use as a starter, dip, or spread in a sandwich. Make it with artichokes for a tangy and tasty condiment that you easily meal-prep for the week.
Check out our dairy-free cream cheese recipe.
Recipes with Artichoke Scraps
We make artichoke hummus with the scraps – leftover leaves and stems – of the artichokes. We first boiled the scraps in water, then extract the pulp with a rotary vegetable mill. Then in a blender, we mix the artichoke pulp with chickpea, tahini, lemon, mint, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a unique, creamy, nutritious, and delicious artichoke spread.
This artichoke cream is made with 100% pure pulp extracted from the artichokes’ boiled scraps (leaves and stems) with a rotary vegetable mill.
We only add a pinch of salt to this concentrate of flavor and nutrients. This is one of the most delicious and pure vegetable creams I have ever tasted. And it’s made from artichoke waste! Serve it as a main dish and make our no-knead focaccia for a complete dinner.
This is best served with deep-fried artichokes. We first make a standard vegan mayonnaise with two parts of vegetable oil (we like to mix olive oil and sunflower oil) and 1 part of soy milk. Add a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then mix it with the artichoke pulp extracted from the scraps of the artichokes with a rotary vegetable mill. Delicious!
How to choose which artichokes to buy?
When buying artichokes at the farmers market or grocery store, it’s good to make sure they are fresh as old artichokes tend to have a choke with more hair and rigid leaves, which means you’ll have to discard more of it.
An artichoke is fresh when it’s 1) heavy, 2) squeaky when you squeeze its head/leaves, 3) toned, not floppy, especially the stalk, and 4) it has a uniform color, with a few or no dark spots.
We are using purple artichokes here, but sometimes you can find green ones, also known as globe artichokes, depending on where you live. Both types are delicious.
Ingredients that go well with artichokes
When cleaning artichokes, lemon juice is essential to prevent them from turning brown, but it’s also delicious on top of them once they are cooked. It adds a fresh and acidic touch that enhances the sweet, nutty flavor of the artichokes.
Mint and flat-leaf parsley
Those two fresh herbs are a match made in heaven with artichokes. We use mint for cooking the artichokes and the Italian flat-leaf parsley to sprinkle on top once they are cooked.
Another excellent flavor match, best if good quality and extra virgin olive oil. You can use it for cooking the artichokes and for drizzling on top. It’s divine with them.
Fresh garlic complements its flavor perfectly.
Mayonnaise and butter
Artichokes are very low in fat, and from a mouthfeel perspective, they go well with fatty ingredients.
Aside from extra virgin olive oil, we love them with our vegan mayo as a dip and, in rare cases, with melted butter or dairy-free vegan butter.
Health benefits of artichokes
According to WebMD, artichokes are a superfood thanks to their high antioxidant content.
Several proven studies show that artichokes help with blood pressure control and hypertension, lower cholesterol, and improve liver function.
They contain few calories per serving, virtually no fat, low sodium, and a relatively good amount of protein at 4 grams per medium artichoke.
To top all of this off, they are packed with important nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, folate, and plenty of fiber.
Artichoke is among the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world. They are low in fat, high in fiber, and full of vitamins and minerals. You can find Vitamin C, K, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium in them.
Artichokes have a unique, bitter-sweet taste with earthy, olive, and nutty notes. They have a soft, tender, and buttery texture when cooked.
Artichoke scraps are full of flavor, flesh, and nutrition. The best way to use them is to boil them for 1 hour, then pass them through a rotary vegetable mill to extract the pulp and separate the inedible fiber. Then with the pulp juice, you can make soup, pasta, hummus, and many other recipes.
Are you looking for more delicious veggie-packed recipes? Then, you are in the right place! Check out our:
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- Lentil recipes: nutritious, wholesome, and delicious recipes with lentils.
- Soup recipes: tasty homemade soups, made simple, with fresh seasonal ingredients.
- Sweet potato recipes: get inspiration from our best everyday sweet potato recipes.
- Tofu recipes: tofu can be delicious if you know how to cook it. Learn how!
- Chickpea recipes: plenty of ideas to cook with chickpeas, from curries to muffins, stews, and soups.
- Eggplant recipes: a collection of our favorite recipes with eggplant.
For many more easy and healthy side dishes, check out our Sides Recipes Page!
How to Cook Artichokes (Steamed Artichokes)
- steamer basket
- 5 artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 2 leaves mint or bay leaves
- Fill up a large bowl with cold water, then squeeze the juice of a lemon in it. Set aside.With a serrated knife, cut off the top spiky ⅓ top part of the artichoke.Tip: when handling artichokes, brush your hands with lemon juice or wear gloves to prevent your finger from turning brown.
- Rub the cut part with lemon to prevent it from turning brown.
- Remove tough outer leaves.
- Trim the stem down to 2 inches (5 cm) and peel it.
- With your thumbs, loosen up the head of the artichoke, exposing the choke.
- With a knife or with a sturdy teaspoon, remove the choke – the fuzzy central part.
- Put each cleaned artichoke in the bowl with the lemon water to prevent discoloration and browning, and repeat till you clean all.
- To a large pot, add 1½ inches (3.5 cm) of water and the mint. Put the steamer basket into the pot, then arrange the artichokes on the steamer basket, head down.
- Cover the pot, bring to a simmer, and steam until tender. It can take 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your artichokes. Pierce with the tip of a pointy knife to check doneness. The blade should slide in easily.
- Drizzle with chimichurri and dip petals in vegan mayo.
- Or cut them in half lengthwise and simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh parsley, a pinch of salt, and black pepper.
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