Artichokes contain many health benefits like being rich in antioxidants and fiber. While you may crave that delicate, naturally buttery flavor, you may continue to pass by artichokes in the grocery store because the preparation seems intimidating. Be intimidated no longer with this recipe that makes prepping and creating a delicious stuffed artichoke a cinch.
4 globe artichokes
2 pieces pre-cooked chicken sausage (Italian flavored, or your favorite brand)
1 cup crimini mushrooms
1 cup prepared bruschetta topping*
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice of one lemon
* Look for fresh bruschetta topping in the fresh pasta section, or jarred near the marinara sauce and pasta section, of your grocery store
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. To prepare artichokes: Cut about one inch of the leaves from the top of the artichokes. Remove the tough small, leaves down by the steam. Cut off the stem, close to the artichoke body, to make a flat bottom. Starting at the outer layers and moving inwards, pull the leaves apart to loosen (so the artichoke looks like an open rose). Pull open the softer, lighter leaves at the center until you expose the fuzzy choke. Scoop out the choke with a melon baller or grapefruit spoon and discard.
3. To prepare the filling: Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Dice the chicken sausage and mushrooms very finely. Add to the pan and sauté about 6-8 minutes, until the chicken sausage and mushrooms are slightly browned. In a bowl, combine the chicken sausage and mushrooms with the prepared bruschetta topping and capers. Evenly divide the filling into the opened center of each artichoke. Use any excess topping to fill into the spaces between the leaves of the artichokes.
4. In a small baking dish (9×9 inch), add ½ cup hot water and the juice of the lemon. Set the artichokes directly on the liquid and cover with foil.
5. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.
6. Remove the artichokes from the pan and pour the liquid, left in the pan, over the artichokes or use it as a dipping sauce for the leaves. The inside of the artichokes (the hearts) will be completely edible, as well as parts of the outer leaves.
7. Make your own variations of this recipe by adding or substituting ingredients. For example, add brown rice to the filling for a more substantial snack.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes at Fitfoodbyjess.com or on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.
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