September 24, 2021
From cauliflower to lentils, there are quite a few veggie-based alternatives to carb-heavy pastas or greasy potato chips. But in the competitive world of healthy food replacements for just about anything you can’t (or don’t prefer to) eat, snack brand Cynara thinks that flavorful artichokes are the best of the bunch.
You may love eating prepared artichokes in pastas or salads, but fresh artichokes can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with cooking them (they are, after all, edible thistles). Artichokes are worth the effort, though—for both their high nutritional value and their unique flavor. We spoke to the folks at Cynara about the best, easiest ways to eat more artichokes (and why you should want to!)
Artichokes are thistle plants made up of many small flowers. While raw artichokes are coarse, tough, and nearly inedible, simply cooking or soaking the bud turns it soft and tender (and much easier to eat). Artichokes are served on tables all over the world because of their delicate, nutty flavor, but they’re also loaded with nutritional benefits. Here are just a few:
If you want to enjoy the benefits of this nutritionally dense, deliciously nutty veggie without all the hassle, Cynara makes it easy with their selection of fully prepared artichoke products.
Here are a few suggestions for using Cynara artichokes, plus a simple yet elegant recipe that makes the perfect side dish for tonight’s dinner.
Cooking en papillote (the French term for cooking in a pouch) is a healthy and versatile technique. Just because it’s French doesn’t mean it’s difficult, though—this recipe is deceptively easy, as everything cooks right in one convenient packet. This also infuses the artichokes and other ingredients with lots of flavor as they steam.
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 30 min
2 trays Cynara Artichoke Delights, Grilled Halves & Quarters in Oil, drained and oil reserved
1 bunch asparagus (10-12 spears), rinsed, patted dry, and trimmed
1 pink grapefruit, peeled and separated into 6 segments
1 small handful pitted black olives, halved
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup Bleu cheese, crumbled or diced
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon citrus zest (from orange, lemon, lime or a combination)
Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for serving
Cynara Artichoke Chyps, to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a skillet over medium heat, saute the artichoke halves and quarters until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil from the artichokes to the same pan. Add the asparagus and saute until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
Fold four sheets of parchment paper or aluminum foil in half and fold the edges back on themselves to create a sealed envelope (these are the papillotes). Divide the cooked artichokes and asparagus, grapefruit, olives, and thyme evenly among the four paillotes. Place the papillotes on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
While the papillotes are cooking, make the cheese sauce: Combine diced Bleu cheese, milk, and a pinch of ground pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 10-second increments, stirring and repeating until mixture is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
When papillotes are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Cut open each packet with scissors (be careful—the steam will be hot!). Sprinkle the contents with parsley, citrus zest, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the hot blue cheese cream drizzled on top or on the side.
Pro tip: Add Cynara Artichoke Chyps as a crunchy topping.
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