Artichoke Heart Dip
When I was a kid we ate artichokes dipped in mayo. Nothing fancy. We each got a whole artichoke and we dipped then scraped it all off with our teeth. That’s the simple way to do artichokes. And you could do that here too. Just steam the artichokes, dip the leaves, then when you get down to the heart, scrape out the choke and dip it too. But, I liked the idea of dipping the artichoke leaves into a dip that contains the heart. It feels a little bit like eating an egg and some chicken in the same dish. Kinda wrong, but maybe really right.
The artichokes that I had didn’t take long to steam. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes once the water came to a boil. It could take longer depending on their size.
While the artichokes steam, the dip comes together quickly. It’s a combination of things like chickpeas, fresh parsley, and olive oil. I used some ricotta and Greek yogurt for creaminess, but if you want this to be a vegan dish, try using silken tofu instead.
The cooked artichokes hop into an ice bath. This stops the cooking and cools them down so they don’t burn the fingers.
The artichoke leaves are removed and saved for later.
The fuzzy choke is removed and the hearts and stems are chopped up (be sure to discard any tough leaves that may be left on there). They’re added to the dip and stirred in. You could blend them if you want, but I like the added texture that the chunks of tender artichoke bring.
I ate this for lunch today: carrot sticks, artichokes, and a few slices of homemade bread. Other raw veggies like snap peas, green beans, fava beans, bell peppers, celery, fennel, mushrooms, and tomatoes (ok, not a vegetable, but close enough) could be fabulous too.
Perfect for lunch, snack, or an appetizer at your next dinner party.
- 10-12 medium sized artichokes, stems trimmed, bottom 2-4 rows of leaves removed
- 5 oz. ricotta cheese or soft (silken) tofu
- 1/2 C Greek yogurt or soft (silken) tofu
- 2 T carrot greens (just the tops, no stems) (optional)
- 1/2 C chickpeas
- 1/4 C fresh parsley
- 1 stalk green garlic, roughly chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 2-3 T lemon juice
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- good pinch cayenne
- ice water
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- carrots, sliced, for serving
- Place artichokes in a steamer basket in a pot with 1 1/2 -2" water. Cover and bring it to a boil then simmer and steam for 15-20 minutes (or until tender and stems pierce easily with a sharp knife).
- Blend (with a hand blender or in a food processor, regular blender could work too) ricotta or tofu through cayenne. Blend for about 1 minute, or until it's as smooth as you'd like it. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Chill it in the fridge until you need it.
- When artichokes are tender, remove them from the pot and plunge into ice water that has the juice of half a lemon mixed in. When they're cool enough to handle, pull off most of the leaves (stop when you get to the small ones) and set them aside for later. Slice off the tougher top part off the leaves (you can save the tender bottom part for dipping) and slice through the top of the heart. Scrape out the choke (the fuzzy center) in the heart (and if there's any on the leaves scrape that, if you're going to eat them). Once each heart is done, return it to the lemon water. Once all hearts are done, chop up and stir in to the ricotta mixture (or you can blend it in if you prefer). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve dip with carrots and artichoke leaves for dipping.