Meet This Spring’s “It” Veggie
The low-calorie artichoke is having a bit of a moment right now. For starters, artichokes are showing up in inventive appetizers and small plates on menus across the country. They can beat out most vegetables when it comes to antioxidant and fiber levels. And according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the artichoke has the ability to lower cholesterol and its polyphenols are natural agents to fight cancer. So don’t be intimidated by cooking these spiky veggies — with just a little know-how (see below), and some practice, you’ll be a pro at getting them on your dinner table.
HOW TO PREPARE: Look for artichokes that are heavy, firm, and have tightly packed leaves. After washing them, steam them for about 30 to 40 minutes until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. (You can eat the small fleshy parts of the petals, which are super healthy.) Once you arrive at the “heart,” slice off the surrounding skin and chop off the stem.
RECIPES TO TRY: Like other veggies, for the healthiest option you’ll want to avoid frying them and/or adding any heavy sauces. For a tasty appetizer, try these grilled artichokes with a light citrus aioli. If you simply can’t resist using them in the popular spinach-and-artichoke dip, try swapping out the cream cheese and mayo for healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt or chickpeas. Finally, go with a citrus-and-smoky flavor in this simple oven recipe: After pruning the artichoke, wedge one peeled garlic clove into its center then drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, to taste. Wrap tightly, twice, in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for about 80 minutes.
PRO TIP: Artichokes do take awhile to bake — sometimes over an hour, depending on size — but they can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days post-oven. (Just make sure to wrap them in aluminum foil.)
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