I love artichokes, but I rarely cook them because the way I learned to eat them involves dipping each leaf into garlic butter. Look at the number of leaves on the average artichoke, and you’ll realize that an incorrigible dip-scooper like myself could take in an awful lot of fat along with the artichoke. [Dip-scooper, noun: One who inserts the dipped food into the dip in such as manner as to assure that the dip forms a mound or pool upon said food, resulting in an unsuitably high dip to food ratio.]
Stuffed artichokes pose their own dietary hazards. Most recipes call for breadcrumbs saturated with olive oil and, often, meat and cheese. When I came across a recipe for artichokes stuffed with millet in Rebecca Wood’s The Splendid Grain (the photo is on the cover), I knew I wanted to try to make a lighter, vegan version. The recipe called for anchovies, which I always substitute with olives, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. I decided to just skip the oil and see what happens.
I played with the recipe a bit more, so my version came out much different than the original. But the artichokes cooked up just fine without the oil, and the stuffing flavored the heart nicely. The leaves, which you scrape with your teeth as you work your way in toward the heart, seemed a little lacking to an inveterate dip-scooper like me, but an easy, healthy solution is to drizzle the leaves with a little low-fat vinaigrette after cooking or add a squeeze of lemon juice as needed.
I find it easier to cook double the amount of millet and save some for later use. Millet swells more than any other grain, and 1/4 cup will yield 1 cup cooked.
1/4 cup (50 g) uncooked millet
1 cup (250 ml) hot vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 large artichokes
1 tablespoon (12 g) kalamata olives pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon (2 g) fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable broth
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 garlic clove, crushed
2 bay leaves
Toast the millet in a small saucepan. When the first grain pops, carefully add the hot vegetable broth. Stir in the salt and oregano, turn down heat to very low, and cover tightly. Cook until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for at least 5 minutes.
While the millet is cooking, prepare the artichokes. Cut off the top 1/2 to 1-inch with a sharp knife. Cut off enough of the stem so that the artichoke will sit upright. (The stem is edible; peel it and cook it along with the artichokes for an added bonus.) Remove any damaged leaves at the bottom, and cut off the sharp tops of each leaf with kitchen shears.
Use your thumbs to open up the artichoke so that you can see the purple-topped leaves:
Pull out the purple leaves (careful, they’re sharp!) Use a serrated spoon to scrape the fuzzy choke off of the artichoke heart:
After you’ve scraped out as much as you can, rinse the artichoke well and either rub it with lemon juice or dip it in a combination of lemon and water to keep the cut edges from becoming brown.
Once the millet is cooked, mix it with the kalamata olives, parsley, pepper, and chopped garlic. Stuff half into each of the artichokes.
Place the artichokes upright in a pressure cooker or heavy saucepan (try to find one that they can fit into snugly, so that they’re less likely to fall over during cooking). Place a lemon slice over the stuffing in each artichoke. Pour the broth carefully into the pan (try not to splash the stuffing) and carefully add enough water to reach about 1 1/2-inches up the artichokes. Add the remaining lemon slices, the crushed garlic, and the bay leaves to the water.
If you’re pressure cooking, seal the cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes for larger artichokes, 10-12 minutes for smaller. Remove from heat and release pressure using a quick-release method.
If you’re not using a pressure cooker, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
For both methods: Test the doneness by pulling at one inside leaf; if it comes out easily, the artichokes are done. If not, return to heat, cover, and cook for a few more minutes.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the artichokes. Serve hot or at room temperature, with lemon slices.
Serving size: 1/2 of a recipe (17.5 ounces).
Percent daily values are based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Though MyPoints are calculated using a formula similar to Weight Watchers Points TM, this site has no affiliation with Weight Watchers and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.
More info on artichokes: