What goes well with artichokes? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
First things first.
What Are Artichokes?
Artichokes are part of the sunflower plant family (also called Aster or Composite) along with chicory, dandelion, endive, Jerusalem artichoke, salsify, and sunflower.
They’re a teardrop-shaped, green pinecone-looking vegetable with overlapping leaves that are tough and inedible at the top but have edible flesh at the base that’s sweet and tender.
The leaves surround the ‘choke’, which is hairy and while not poisonous, will literally make you choke, so it should be cut out and discarded along with the delicate pink leaves on top of it.
(The choke can be removed before or after you cook the artichoke depending on which cooking method you choose.)
Underneath the choke is where the treasured artichoke heart is.
How to Cut
- Pull off any tough leaves near the stem and discard and trim off the bottom of the stem.
- Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the artichoke. You can also trim off the tip leaves since they’re a little prickly (but you don’t have to – they will soften when cooked).
- When to Buy. The peak season for artichokes is spring through autumn. Check out the seasonal produce guide to see what else is in season right now.
- What to Look For. Choose artichokes that are compact and heavy for their size. Their outer leaves should be thick, firm, and tightly closed. Avoid artichokes whose leaves have begun to open up and spread apart or have blackened or wilted leaves.
- Storage. Artichokes are best when they’re super fresh. If you can’t cook them right away, place them in a plastic or silicone resealable bag and sprinkle with a few drops of water and seal. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for no more than 5 days.
- Cooking techniques: bake, boil, braise, broil, deep-fry, grill, roast, sauté, steam, or stew. The hearts and base leaves can be eaten raw but cooking helps reduce their bitterness.
- No fresh artichokes? You can also buy marinated artichoke hearts in a jar or (plain) canned artichoke hearts in water.
What Ingredients Go Well With Artichokes?
Arugula, beets, bell peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions (sweet and yellow), potatoes, radicchio, shallots, and spinach.
Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and tomatoes.
Black truffles, coriander, pepper (black or white), red pepper flakes, saffron, and salt (especially kosher – this is the best brand).
Basil, bay leaf, chervil (also called French parsley), chives, coriander, mint, parsley (flat-leaf), rosemary, sage, tarragon (especially fresh), and thyme (esp. fresh).
Nuts & Seeds
Cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts.
Cane sugar (minuscule amount).
Anchovies, bacon, chicken, eggs, ham, pancetta, prosciutto, shellfish (crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, shrimp), and tuna.
Aioli, bread crumbs, broth (homemade chicken broth is best), capers, dijon mustard, dry sherry or white wine, farro, fava beans, mayonnaise (egg-free recipe here), olive oil, olives (esp black & Nicoise), pasta, pesto, piquillo peppers, rice, soy sauce (tamari or coconut aminos for soy-free option), tapenade, vinaigrette, and vinegar (balsamic, rice, sherry, white wine).
Popular Artichoke Flavor Pairings
- butter + garlic + lemon + parsley
- cream + parmesan + thyme
- garlic + lemon
- lemon + garlic + mint
- olive oil + garlic + lemon + thyme
- garlic + mint
- lemon + mint + yogurt
- lemon + onions
- mushroom + onions + sausage
- garlic + sage
Artichokes are a common ingredient in French, Italian, Mediterranean, Moroccan, and Spanish cuisines and are often used in dips, pasta, salads, soups, or appetizers.
Once you have an idea of what you want to make, it’ll help clarify what else you need from the other flavor pairing categories.
What to Make with Artichokes
- steamed whole artichokes with either lemon aioli or (dairy-free) melted garlic butter
- dairy-free risotto with olive oil, garlic, shallots, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh lemon juice, bacon (or capers), topped with bread crumbs for added texture (optional)
- pasta with pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, and topped with parmesan
- a cold pasta dish with a simple vinaigrette, toasted hazelnuts, roasted carrots, marinated artichoke hearts, and fresh basil or parsley