Artichokes Star in Salads, Soups and Appetizers

Fresh, canned or frozen, artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables. A big fresh artichoke, steamed and served with lemon juice, stands on its own as a starter course. Far more often, I’ll just open a jar of marinated artichokes and use them to dress up a tossed salad. Here are some of my favorite recipes that feature artichokes.

Artichoke-Wild Rice Salad

1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked wild rice

2 6-ounce jars of marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 small sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped cilantro or flat parsley

1 teaspoon chile powder

pinch cayenne, to taste

1/4 rice vinegar

1/2 cup yogurt

Combine all ingredients and chill.

4-6 servings

Spinach-Artichoke Dip or Dressing

1 10-ounce bag baby spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can white beans, drained

1 bunch green onions, sliced (white part)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

pinch cayenne, to taste

juice of one lemon

2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped fine

Place all ingredients except the artichokes in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Put the puree in a serving bowl and stir in the chopped artichoke hearts. Serve it with your favorite vegetable dippers or use it to dress a tossed salad.

Yield: About 3 cups

Artichoke-Chick Pea Soup

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups bouillon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

pinch cayenne, or to taste

2 cups tomato sauce

2 16-ounce cans artichoke hearts

1 16-ounce can chick peas

1/2 cup chopped flat parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges

Bring the onions, garlic, bouillon, spices and tomato sauce to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the artichokes, chick peas and parsley and simmer 2-3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and ground pepper to taste.

4-6 servings

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