Steamed Artichokes with Two Vegan Dipping Sauces

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There is nothing more nostalgic for me than steaming artichokes and eating them one leaf at a time, just like when I was a kid, teethmarks and all.  It’s definitely the easiest way to cook them and it makes a fun appetizer or side dish, especially when you have delicious sauces to dip them in.   I grew up dipping artichokes in mayo or melted butter but why limit yourself? Picture whole steamed artichokes dipped in either Lemon Herb Butter or Garlic Parmesan Aioli (both vegan and delicious).  

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The artichokes in my garden are ripe, in fact one has flowered which is an incredible work of nature. They are actually just giant thistles.  I love them so much, that I always let one go to seed on purpose and sometimes they go to seed by accident when I’m out of town, although for obvious reasons, that didn’t happen last year… I have recently oven roasted, pan roasted and stuffed artichokes with great results. For the more adventurous artichoke lover, check out these recipes:

Meatless Monday-Roasted Artichokes & Fennel with Lemon Parsley Pesto

or 

Meatless Monday – Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Garlic, Parmesan & Quinoa

or 

Meatless Monday – Pan Seared Artichokes with Blackened Garlic

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Artichokes are great for scooping up yummy sauces but are they actually good for you?  The answer is Yes! Did you know that artichokes have more  antioxidants than cranberries or blueberries and more fiber than lima beans or prunes? They are also loaded with important vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Click through to read more about the amazing artichoke:   12 Unexpected Health Benefits of Artichokes .

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Those trying to limit or eliminate dairy from their diets should try a few fabulous new vegan products.  Miyoko’s Creamery has a vegan butter made from cultured cashew milk.  It is delicious and tastes just like real butter. It’s actually the only butter I buy now and comes in unsalted too. Miyoko also makes really delicious cheeses and is coming out with new types all the time. I really like the Double Cream Chive soft cheese and her Vegan Mozz works…

My favorite vegan mayonaise is Just Mayo from Hampton Creek which is so good that the mayo industry tried to shut them down. It’s egg free and made from pea protein but best of all it tastes just like the real thing.  I love promoting new products that are really good. I also like Vegenaise Mayo from Follow Your Heart which is easier to find.  

Another non-dairy staple is VioLife Just Like Parmesan. It comes in a wedge that you can freshly grate into dishes. It’s pretty darn good and I’m picky about cheese. Look for these products in your store.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

TIPS:  I like to cut the sharp tips off the ends of the leaves but you can skip this step if you are in a hurry or don’t want to go to the trouble.  You can also just throw them in a pan with plain water and they will turn out just fine.  A wide pan where the artichokes can fit in a single layer works better than a tall one.

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STEAMED ARTICHOKES

4 artichokes
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 lemon slices or 1 Tbsn lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil and add bay leaf, garli, lemons, salt and pepper.
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  • Cut the stems off each artichoke so they can sit upright. Trim the prickly thorn tips from each petal and cut the top half inch off of each one. Rinse them under cool water.
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  • Place them upside-down in the water, cover the pot and simmer on low for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily pierce the bottom.  While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
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  • Using tongs, remove the artichokes from water and allow to drain.  Place on a serving platter.
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  • Serve with dips and lots of napkins.
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LEMON HERB BUTTER

1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1 Tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, oregano or basil
1 Tbsn lemon juice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Taste and season with salt if desired. Serve warm.
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GARLIC PARMESAN AIOLI

1/2 cup vegan mayonaise or plain yogurt for a zip
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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4 artichokes
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 lemon slices or 1 Tbsn lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil and add bay leaf, garli, lemons, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the stems off each artichoke so they can sit upright. Trim the prickly thorn tips from each petal and cut the top half inch off of each one. Rinse them under cool water.
  • Place them upside-down in the water, cover the pot and simmer on low for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife can be easily pierce the bottom.
  • While the artichokes are simmering, prepare your dips.
  • Using tongs, remove the artichokes from water and allow to drain.  Place on a serving platter.
  • Serve with dips and lots of napkins.

LEMON HERB BUTTER

1/2 cup butter (or vegan butter), melted
1 Tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, oregano or basil
1 Tbsn lemon juice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Taste and season with salt if desired. Serve warm.

GARLIC PARMESAN AIOLI

1/2 cup mayonaise or plain yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Meatless Monday – Vegetable Paella (Vegan)

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Paella is a beautiful dish worthy of a party or gathering.  This one is loaded with fresh veggies instead of traditional Spanish ingredients, usually a combination of meats and seafood.  My veggie recipe retains the usual flavors, smoked paprica, saffron and Spanish rice but in lieu of the meats, I added artichoke, eggplant, mushrooms and fennel, and topped with roasted red peppers and capers.  Simply Delicious!

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Paella is not as hard as it’s reputation leads us to believe.  Its not like risotto which has to be constantly stirred and fussed over.  In fact, paella should be minimally disturbed after the first few minutes and if you have done it correctly, a golden crust will form on the bottom, called the socarrat, from the Spanish word “socarrar,” which means “to toast lightly,”. Once the paella is done, it can sit covered off the heat and wait until you’re ready to serve.  I used several canned items, partially as a shortcut and because some things are not in season right now.  I used fresh fennel and trumpet mushrooms (because they are available now) and fresh eggplant. I also used jarred capers, roasted red peppers and canned baby artichokes which are already fairly soft, so I added them in near the end.

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I love this combination of textures and flavors.  It turned out quite pretty and colorful.  You can substitute any vegetables that you like, just keep in mind how long they need to cook and plan accordingly.  I also used a vegan chorizo that I have had good luck with recently.  It’s made from vital wheat gluten so not gluten free but pretty tasty and combines nicely with the saffron and smoked paprika.  This ingredient is optional though.  I would like the dish either way. Some people don’t enjoy substitute meats for a variety of reasons but I like to promote those companies who are making their way into the vegan food industry. The more good products available, the better they get and the less meat people will eat.  Win win!

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TIPS:  I have a giant paella pan which was relatively inexpensive but for this recipe, I used a 12 inch cast iron pan.  It was fairly full but worked fine for the quantities.  You could use a pan a couple of inches larger and it should turn out well.  Don’t be tempted to use aromatic rices like jasmine or basmati as they don’t soak up the flavors properly and some of the long grained rices don’t have the proper texture.

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VEGETABLE PAELLA

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz vegan chorizo (optional)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 large bulb fennel, sliced
  • 14 oz can baby artichokes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms (crimini, shitake or trumpet)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups bomba, arborio or valencia rice
  • 1-2 Tbsn capers, drained
  • 1 roasted, marinated red pepper, cut into strips
  • fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)

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Vegetable Paella

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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VEGETABLE PAELLA

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz vegan chorizo (optional)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 large bulb fennel, sliced
  • 14 oz can baby artichokes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms (crimini, shitake or trumpet)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups arborio or valencia rice
  • 1-2 Tbsn capers, drained
  • 1 roasted, marinated red pepper, cut into strips
  • fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)