Artichokes have a unique taste that works perfectly in today’s Health-e-Recipe for Black Bean and Artichoke Simmer. Cooked with black beans, tomatoes and garlic, tender artichoke hearts add a springtime tang to this dish, plus phytochemicals and vitamins.
A bit prickly at the tip of their leaves, fresh whole artichokes can be trimmed then steamed with their bottoms up for 30 minutes (or when a knife can pierce the bottom easily). Put them on a plate and eat the leaves by pulling them out, dipping the soft inner ends in low-fat vinaigrette dressing and scraping off the delicious part with your teeth. The tasty heart can be eaten last.
You can buy artichoke hearts canned or jarred in water instead of salty brine to keep sodium low, or look for them in the freezer section. Bake steamed hearts with a little olive oil and Parmesan sprinkled over the top in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until the Parmesan is golden-brown and the hearts are heated through. Another fabulous combo is artichoke hearts tossed with cooked chicken breast strips and sauteed mushrooms and onions, heated through. Or try the hearts on pizza and in salads. A garlicky vinaigrette or a cooling, creamy dill-laced dressing made with plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream.