Meatless Monday-Roasted Artichokes & Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

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Who says size doesn’t matter? I mean, this IS the age of supersizing. Picture thick caramelized slices of fennel and quartered artichokes, shallots and garlic, topped with a large dollop of savory Lemon Parsley Pesto.  I’ve made this dish several times and each time I’ve made the slices and wedges bigger and each time it came out better. When roasted, fennel gets sweet and delicate while artichokes deepen in flavor and richness.  Roasted garlic is creamy, and mellow enough to eat whole (yep) and caramelized shallots are melt in the mouth delicious.  These veggies are all good on their own but when combined with the pesto, made with parsley and pistachioes, divine…

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According to legend, the artichoke was created when the smitten Greek god Zeus turned his object of affection into a thistle after being rejected.  Hmmn,  anyone else wonder about the back story?   Despite this thorny beginning, artichokes are beloved and loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In fact they are number 7 on the USDA list of top 20 antioxidant-rich foods. Artichokes can be intimidating due to their spiny leaves and hairy center, which must be removed before eating.  The easiest way to prepare them is to boil or steam them whole which requires little to no preparation.  However, if you are up for five or so minutes of prep work, roasting artichokes has a huge payoff in additional flavor and character.

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Runners take note.  Fennel also has a colorful Greek history which involves you.  The ancient Greeks knew fennel by the name “marathron”, which grew in the field where one of the great ancient battles was fought and which was subsequently named the Battle of Marathon. Fennel, which was prized, was also awarded to Pheidippides, the runner who delivered the news of the Persian invasion to Sparta. Nowadays, we can’t think of marathons with thinking of running.  Fennel is an interesting plant in that every part of it is edible, from the bulb to the stalk, leaves and even the seeds, which are a popular flavoring. Fennel is wonderful raw in salads with it’s slight but distinctive anise flavor, but when roasted it becomes something entirely different but equally delicious. Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate. In addition, fennel is a good source of calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, and niacin.

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TIPS: To save time, don’t trim the pointy artichoke leaves, which is not necessary. Chefs usually do it to get rid of the sharp points on the leaves and to make it look prettier but it’s more about presentation than taste.  The artichoke stem is edible and delicious when scooped up with lemon parsley pesto, so unless you are cooking a whole artichoke and want it to stand up, don’t remove the whole stem. In preparing the fennel, keep the stem end intact so the slices stay together.  This pesto can be made with virtually any dark leafy green; kale, arugula, spinach, basil…on and on.  You can also substitute other nuts, like walnuts or pine nuts for pistachios.

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ROASTED ARTICHOKES AND FENNEL

2 fennel bulbs
2 whole artichokes
3-4 shallots (or one small red onion, cut into wedges)
8 cloves garlic (about one half bulb)
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbsn olive oil (or olive oil spray)
1 Tbsn fresh herbs (thyme/oregano/parsley) or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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LEMON PARSLEY PESTO

1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cups parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesan
1 lemon, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

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  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and oil large baking sheet. Trim fennel stems and slice each bulb lengthwise into 4 or 5 thick slices.

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  • Place fennel slices on baking sheet.

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  • Peel garlic and shallots and slice in half or quarter if large and arrange evenly in baking dish.

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  • Trim sharp artichoke leaves with kitchen shears or a sharp knife (optional).

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  • Slice artichokes in half and scoop out inner purple leaves and choke (use a melon baller if you have one)

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  • Cut each artichoke  half in half lengthwise and place in baking dish cut side up.  Spray or brush with olive oil and a drizzle of lemon juice. Spray or brush everything with olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice.  Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.

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  • Turn the artichokes over and brush the tops with olive oil

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  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 and roast the vegetables on the lowest rack for about 30 minutes, turning halfway. Vegetables should be caramelized on both sides.

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  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pesto.  Place pistachios in a food processor or blender and pulse until evenly ground.  Add the parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice and pulse until blended.  While the blade is going, pour olive oil in a steady stream.  Taste and add salt, if necessary. Pour pesto into a small serving bowl.

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  • Place warm roasted vegetables on a serving platter and serve with pesto or serve on individual plates

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Roasted Artichokes and Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20160206_194131 

2 fennel bulbs
2 whole artichokes
3-4 shallots (or one small red onion)
8 cloves garlic (about one half bulb)
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbsn olive oil (or olive oil spray)
1 Tbsn fresh herbs (thyme/oregano/parsley) or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

LEMON PARSLEY PESTO

1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cups parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesan
1 lemon, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and oil large baking sheet. Trim fennel stems and slice each bulb lengthwise into 4 or 5 thick slices.
  • Place fennel slices on baking sheet.
  • Trim sharp artichoke leaves with kitchen shears or a sharp knife (optional).
  • Slice artichokes in half and scoop out inner purple leaves and choke (use a melon baller if you have one)
  • Cut each half in half lengthwise and place in baking dish cut side up.  Spray or brush with olive oil and a drizzle of lemon juice.
  • Peel garlic and shallots and slice in half or quarter if large and arrange evenly in baking dish.
  • Spray or brush everything with olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice.  Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Turn the artichokes over and brush the tops with olive oil
  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 and roast the vegetables on the lowest rack for about 30 minutes, turning halfway. Vegetables should be caramelized on both sides.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pesto.  Place pistachios in a food processor or blender and pulse until evenly ground.  Add the parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice and pulse until blended.  While the blade is going, pour olive oil in a steady stream.  Taste and add salt, if necessary.
  • Pour pesto into a small serving bowl.
  • Place warm roasted vegetables on a serving platter and serve with pesto

 

9 thoughts on “Meatless Monday-Roasted Artichokes & Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

  1. Reblogged this on goodmotherdiet and commented:

    Happy 2017! I have to confess that I haven’t spent much time creating new recipes over the holidays so I have decided to share a favorite seasonal goodie from last year. If you love artichokes and fennel, then you won’t be disappointed. When roasted, fennel gets sweet and delicate while artichokes deepen in flavor and richness. Roasted garlic is creamy, and mellow enough to eat whole (yep) and caramelized shallots are melt in the mouth delicious. These veggies are all good on their own but when combined with the yummy pesto, made with parsley and pistachios, divine…J

    Like

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