This month, stock-up on fresh, in-season artichokes. They're a flavorful, vitamin-packed addition to everything from starters to mains.
At about only about $2, this hearty, all-purpose vegetable packs a big nutrtional punch: A medium artichoke has only 60 calories and is a good source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber.
Look for plump, glossy artichokes that have tight leaves and feel heavy. It’s best to eat them when they’re as fresh as possible,
but they’ll keep for a week refrigerated in a plastic bag.
1. Pull off tough outer leaves on stem and bottom.
2. Use a sharp knife to cut off the artichoke’s top third. Use kitchen shears to snip off any small, sharp thorns on ends of remaining leaves. Cut off the very bottom of stem; peel stem. Place artichoke in a bowl of cold water mixed with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice while you finish any remaining artichokes.
3. Boil or steam for 30 to 40 minutes, or microwave (in a covered bowl with a bit of water and lemon juice) for 6 to 7 minutes for one (about 2 minutes longer for two). When stem is tender when pierced, remove from heat.
Served with melted butter or a vinagrette, steamed artichokes make for a great appetizer. Simply pull off the leaves one at a time and scrape off the flesh with your teeth. When you get to the center, or choke, cut away the fuzzy parts surrounding the heart, then savor the heart with a fork. Or, pick up a jar of artichoke hearts and use the marinade as a salad dressing.
Cost per serving: $2.08
Full of nutrients and fiber from the artichoke hearts, this rich-tasting dish is surprisingly low in calories. For a pretty presentation, add ½ cup chopped fresh parsley before serving.
See recipe: Braised Chicken with Potatoes
Cost per serving: 47¢
This quick appetizer takes just 25 minutes to prepare and is a great use for day old bread. Simply drizzle bread slices with olive oil and rub with a garlic clove before popping them in the oven to toast.
See recipe: Artichoke-Arugula Crostini
Cost per serving: $1.51
The recipe for this one-dish meal makes a lot—enough for leftovers the next day. Pack the extra servings in a covered plastic container and tuck it in a lunch box for school or work.
See recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad
Cost per serving: $3.28
Rather than splurging for flatbread for this recipe, use whole grain tortillas—they are typically low in cost and full of fiber.
See recipe: Vegetable Flatbread Pizzas