This complete guide to artichoke flavor pairings will help you figure out what flavors are most compatible with artichokes along with how to cook them, when they’re in season, and meal ideas to help get you started.
Knowing these flavor pairings means endless combination possibilities to keep your tastebuds happy, an opportunity to get creative and adventurous in the kitchen, and keep your meals exciting and varied.
What is Flavor Pairing?
Flavor pairing is matching foods together that have similar flavor profiles (or the same flavor compounds found in each ingredient).
These flavor pairings include produce, herbs, nuts and seeds, spices, sweeteners, grains, legumes, dried fruits, dairy/dairy-free items, proteins, and pantry items.
It’s easier to start experimenting in the kitchen when you know what flavors already pair well together.
How to Cook Artichokes
If you pick up an artichoke at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, you may feel intimidated by this globe-shaped green vegetable. There are several ways you can cook fresh artichokes to provide different textures.
Artichokes can be baked, boiled, braised, broiled, deep-fried, grilled, eaten raw, roasted, sautéed, steamed, and stewed.
Best Time of Year to Buy
Artichokes are in season from spring to early autumn. (If you want a larger overview of what’s in season throughout the year, this produce guide will help clarify).
Buying fresh artichokes in season means they’ll be at the lowest price point and have the best flavor. When they’re not in season you can buy (marinated) jarred or (plain) canned artichoke hearts.
I highly recommend buying a fresh artichoke when they’re in season though. Nothing really compares.
Produce Flavor Pairings for Artichokes
- Bell peppers
- Onions (sweet and yellow)
Spice Flavor Pairings for Artichokes
- Black truffles
- Pepper (Black or white)
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt (especially kosher – this is the best brand)
Herb and Artichoke Flavor Pairings
FRESH OR DRIED HERBS
- Bay leaf
- Chervil (also called French parsley)
- Parsley (flat-leaf)
- Tarragon (especially fresh)
- Thyme (fresh)
Nut & Artichoke Flavor Pairings
Sweeteners That Work Well with Artichokes
- Cane sugar (minuscule amount)
Grains That Pair Well with Artichokes
- Pasta (any kind)
Dairy-Free/Dairy Flavors That Pair Well with Artichokes
- Butter (I like Miyoko’s brand)
- Cheese (goat or parmesan – Violife is my favorite dairy-free brand)
- Cream (cashew or coconut cream is great)
- Hollandaise sauce
- Yogurt (coconut, almond milk, or oat milk yogurt)
Protein & Artichoke Flavor Pairings
- Shellfish (crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, shrimp)
Pantry Item Flavor Pairings for Artichokes
How to Get Started
The best way to start using this guide is by playing around with a couple of pairings. Keep it really simple until you feel more comfortable with this creative style of cooking.
Little by little, you can start to experiment with different flavor pairings, but just note that less is more, especially in cooking.
PRO TIP: You’re not limited to the flavor pairings above. You can experiment with other ingredients outside of these recommendations. This is simply just a guide for what already works really well together.
The more you get used to cooking this way, the more confident you’ll become in the kitchen, which will put your home cooking skills into overdrive.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOST FLAVORFUL MEAL(S) YOU’VE EVER HAD?
You could taste every ingredient without one flavor dominating the whole dish.
Typically, when you think back to some of the best meals you’ve had, the flavors were achieved with a few simple, yet balanced ingredients that complimented each other well.
EASY STEPS TO GET STARTED WITH FLAVOR PAIRINGS
Decide what you want to make.
Will it be a dessert or a savory dish? Since artichokes are a savory ingredient, they really don’t work in sweet dishes.
So, what kind of savory dish?
Will it be a dip, pasta, salad, a topping, served as an appetizer, in a soup, grilled with meat?
Knowing this will also help you decide how you’ll be cooking your artichokes.
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.
Don’t overcomplicate it.
Remember to keep it simple. A good rule of thumb is to pick one or two more ingredients from the produce list.
Continue through the categories and see what you’d like to add or leave out until you’re left with your chosen ingredients.
Now, all that’s left to do is grocery shop, cook, and enjoy the meal you just created.
FLAVOR PAIRING EXAMPLES
Steamed whole artichokes with either lemon aioli or (dairy-free) melted garlic butter to dip the leaves and artichoke heart in. (This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy artichokes – so simple and flavorful).
Instead of steaming them, you could also shallow fry or grill them for different flavor and textures.
Creamy dairy-free risotto, with olive oil, garlic, shallots, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh lemon juice, bacon (or capers) for some saltiness, topped with bread crumbs for added texture (optional), seasoned with salt and pepper
A simple pasta dish with pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, and topped with parmesan is also a great and easy yet flavorful meal.
- Add spinach to your pesto to bulk it up and add another vegetable from the produce list
- Instead of pesto sauce, whip up a simple vinaigrette to toss the noodles, add toasted hazelnuts, roasted carrots, marinated artichoke hearts, and top with fresh basil or parsley