NATIONAL ARTICHOKE HEARTS DAY

March 16th is National Artichoke Hearts Day.  According to the California Artichoke Advisory Board, artichokes are a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, folate and magnesium. The antioxidants in artichokes are very good for your liver and help promote healthy skin. Artichokes are also high in fiber, calcium and protein while low in calories.  For all of these reasons, along with being fat-free and cholesterol free, artichokes are truly a healthy and delicious food to celebrate!

  • The total antioxidant capacity of an artichoke flower head is one of the highest reported for vegetables.
  • The fleshy base of the artichoke is perhaps the most enjoyable edible part of this oddly-shaped vegetable. 
  •  You can find artichoke hearts that are packed in vinegar, oil or marinade and canned.
  • They make for a great low sodium snack and lend themselves well to other snacks like artichoke dip, as well as a pizza topping.
  • Toss them in the skillet for a savory sauté.
  • They might just turn into a healthy addiction!
  • California is known as the artichoke capital of the world.  They supply nearly 100% of North American fresh artichokes.

 

SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE LASAGNA

3 cups fresh baby spinach

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, well drained

6 tablespoons butter

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

12 oven-ready lasagna noodles

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine spinach and artichoke hearts in a food processor until smooth and creamy. (Or chop each separately with a knife until roughly chopped)
  3. Melt butter and garlic in a large pot over medium heat until just melted. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in spinach and artichokes.
  4. Spread 1 cup sauce in the bottom of prepared dish. Top with 4 noodles. Spread 2 cups sauce over noodles. Top with 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese. Layer 4 more noodles, top with 2 cups sauce, 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, and final 4 noodles. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. (Tip: Break noodles if necessary to fit the baking dish.)
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes until browned and bubbly. Let lasagna stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Adapted from Land O’Lakes.

GREEN CHILE & ARTICHOKE BREAD

yield 12 slices

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp garlic

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (4 oz can green chilies

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (half a brick)

1 small loaf ciabatta bread

Salt and pepper (optional)

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is completely melted, add garlic and saute about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat and add all ingredients except the bread. Stir just until combined. (You’re not melting the cheese at this point).
  2. Slice the ciabatta loaf lengthwise and place crust side down on a foil lined cookie sheet. Spoon mixture over the bread and spread equally on each side. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Place bread under the preheated broiler for about four to five minutes, or until cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Cool, slice, and serve immediately.