Artichoke season is upon us! Artichokes have long been one of my favorite foods. With fond memories of spring weather and eating them with my family, navigating the succulent flavors of this prickly vegetable has led me to love this superfood. Native to the Mediterranean, artichokes are in full swing during the warm months and have a variety of health benefits.  They are well-known for detoxifying the body, particularly the liver and digestive system. They are also a well-known, plant-based aphrodisiac that can boost your sex drive and enhance your mood. Also full of vitamins C, K, and B vitamins, artichokes are extremely antioxidant rich and are a great source of dietary fiber.

Springtime is perfect for making fresh recipes with seasonal produce, with artichokes being one of the easiest and most delicious to use. At first, cooking with artichokes can be intimidating because they must be chosen and prepped properly to get the utmost flavors when cooking. Most often artichokes are boiled, making the leaves and hearts tender enough to eat. There are so many cooking options beyond boiling, however. With soft textures and lavish flavors, artichokes make a great addition to meals in a variety of ways as you will see.

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Give a little love and care to artichokes and try out one of these unique ways to incorporate them into any dish!

Grill

artichoke wraps

It’s time to get grilling with warm weather on the way, so why not incorporate artichokes into the mix? Grilling artichokes is super simple, but does require some prep time. To tenderize the artichokes, soak them in lemon water, and boil them for 15 minutes. Lemons will give a fresh taste to the hearts and will also help soften them. For a zesty meal, make these Grilled Artichoke and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps. With a light coating of garlic and olive oil, these wraps make a great, light dish. Grilled artichokes can top many dishes like salads or pastas, or they can simply be eaten alone. Try making a sauce to accompany your artichokes, like a creamy tahini dressing or these Funky Fresh Oil-Free Sauces.

Marinade

Artichoke-and-Olive-Pizza

A good marinade can go a long way. Artichoke hearts are ideal for marinading as they are naturally tender and absorbent to flavors. For a simple marinade, try using olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic. For a taste just how you like it, learn how to infuse olive oil with spices and herbs. You can use oil to marinade your artichoke hearts in a jar, and they will make great toppings for plant-based dishes like on this Kale and Artichoke Pizza. Marinated artichoke hearts are also nice with grain salads like this Pistachio Artichoke Pesto Quinoa or Artichoke Paella. Making a marinade has endless possibilities and flavor combinations. To turn those artichokes from bland to badass, check out these 10 ways to make awesome marinades for plant-based ingredients.

Fry

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Every now and then even plant-based eaters need some fried goodness. Skip the fish fry and get those artichokes sizzling! Frying plant-based ingredients like green beans, eggplant, and zucchini is all the rage these days, too. For a frying newbie, make sure to first learn how to properly fry food so your artichokes are not too oily, soggy, or flavorless.  Since most batter recipes call for milk and eggs, finding plant-based alternatives is essential. These Walnut Crusted Artichoke Hearts use non-dairy milk and lemon for the wet base, while walnuts highlight a crunchy, fried shell. For a lighter fried artichoke, try these Fried Artichokes Over Lemon Butter Pasta. Crispy without breading, these artichokes are a delicate addition to nearly any meal.

Purée

Spinach-Artichoke-Dip (1)

Blending up your artichokes is a scrumptious way to incorporate them into more of your dishes. Puréed artichokes hearts make a sharable dip as a snack or appetizer. This Healthy Vegan Artichoke Dip has high protein from chickpeas blended with luxurious flavors of artichokes. Artichokes are easy to blend into other sauces such as pesto or hummus and can be used to spread on a sandwich, on a pizza, or as a vegetable dip. This purée could also be used in addition to main courses such as this Baked Tofu or Lemon Seitan.

Conquer your fears of artichokes and get this spring vegetable cooking! With ultimate health benefits and tender, satisfying flavors, you can’t go wrong with artichokes whether you grill, marinade, fry, or purée them. Do you have a favorite way to incorporate artichokes in your dishes?

Lead Image Source: Seasonal Quinoa Pilaf, Artichokes, and Peas

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