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Ashton Keefe

One of the first spring vegetables, artichokes are low calorie, and one medium cooked contains a whopping 10 grams of fiber. But these mild-tasting green globes can be daunting and intimidating to prepare. Steaming is really super easy (learn how below), or you can buy artichoke hearts (packed in water, not oil) and enjoy them in any of the following recipes too.

1. Steamed Artichokes
Cut bottom and top off artichokes, and remove outer more fibrous leaves. Place in a pot, add 1 inch water, and bring to a boil. Cover and steam until fork tender, about 25 minutes. To eat, pull leaves from choke and pull leaves between teeth to remove the pulpy part at the bottom. Discard leaves. Once you reach the heart, discard the fuzzy choke and eat the remaining bottom part.

2. Artichoke Flatbread
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle 1 whole-wheat tortilla with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Top with 5 chopped artichoke hearts and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly. Serves 1.

3. Artichoke Salsa
Combine 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts, 1 chopped tomato, 1/2 chopped red onion, 1 diced jalapeno pepper, and 1 minced clove garlic. Season with salt to taste.

4. Grilled Baby Artichokes
Preheat grill. Split 5 baby artichokes lengthwise and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per sides until charred and crispy. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

RELATED: 12 Surprising Foods to Grill

5. Artichoke Cream Cheese
Mix 1 cup lowfat cream cheese with 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts.

6. Artichoke-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butterfly 2 chicken breasts. Blend 1 cup artichoke hearts, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and salt to taste in a food processor. Spread mixture on chicken and fold over breasts. Cook for 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serves 2.

7. Braised Artichokes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a casserole dish, toss juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 cup sliced roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup smashed green olives, and 5 artichokes hearts. Braise 40 to 45 minutes until tender. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

8. Artichoke Pasta
Cook 1 pound whole-wheat pasta until al dente. Toss with 1 cup artichoke hearts, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serves 4 to 6.

RELATED: 10 Healthy Pasta Alternatives

9. Artichoke Soup
Heat 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock. Blend with 2 cups artichoke hearts and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6.

10. Artichoke and Avocado Mash
Mash 1 avocado with 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts. Season with salt and spread on whole-wheat toast.

11. Artichoke Omelet
Whisk 1 egg and 2 egg whites, and season with salt. Cook into a omelet and stuff with 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts.

12. Lowfat Artichoke Dip
Combine 1 cup lowfat sour cream with 1/2 cup each chopped artichokes and steamed spinach, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Go to the next page for more recipes, including healthy stuffed artichokes.

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