Veg intimidation: how to make amazing artichokes

Imma bout to show you the way to my heart.

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Artichokes are one of the first foods that the Pilot and I would make to go along with our dinners. When we first started dating, money was tight so instead of going out to eat, we’d share an ahi tuna steak and cook two artichoke hearts as our fancy dinner at home. The Pilot is kind of the artichoke king, and over time, he’s shared the method to cook them perfectly. They can seem like an intimidating veg -they’re covered in battle spears for goodness sake- but they’re a simply-prepared and nutrient-dense side.

Here’s the how-to:


-2 artichokes

-2 lemons

-1 bay leaf

-sea salt

-olive oil

-garlic (optional)

-dipping sauces (ideas to follow)

1. Cut off the top part of the ‘choke, and also about 1/2 inch to an inch off the stem. Pull off any outer leaves that look bruised or funky.

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Place the artichokes in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.

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2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add one halved lemon, one bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

3. Put the artichokes in the pot to boil, cover, and leave at a rolling boil for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size. Make sure that all parts of the artichoke are boiled, so that may mean a good stir from time to time. 

4. To check if the artichoke is done, remove from the boiling water and gently pierce the stem with a fork. If it easily goes through, you’re GTG. Any resistance, and the artichoke goes back in the pot for 5 minutes before checking again.

5. After the artichoke is fully cooked, you can stop here and get your dipping sauce ready. If you have the grill heated, you can take it to the extreme by removing the artichokes, gently patting them dry, and cutting in half before coating with a light brushing of olive oil or butter.

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Grill on high heat for about 5 minutes (until nicely charred) and sprinkle with sea salt.


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6. Dipping sauces:

-Melted butter with garlic and chives. The classic never dies.

-Goddess dressing <– to die for.

-Mayonaise and a squeeze of lemon. It sounds bizarre, but I went through a major mayonnaise thing when I was pregnant. It’s delicious.

-Sriracha yogurt lemon sauce: 1 container of plain yogurt, 1-2 teaspoons sriracha and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Hope you enjoy! <3

Artichoke fans: yay or nay? Fave dipping sauce?

Any vegetables you despise or have been wanting to try? I’ve never loved raw celery, but for some reason I suddenly don’t mind it in green juices.

Hope you have a great day!



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  1. Yes! Thank you! I have been wanting to give artichokes a go for awhile but am so intimidated on how to prepare them!

    I love kale and brussel sprouts as my other favorite veggies. I am looking forward to going to the farmer’s market this spring to see if I can dig up any new veggies to experiment with.

  2. I have 0 experience cooking or eating artichokes…. So this may seem like a silly question, but what part of the artichoke do you eat? Can you eat that entire thing after its cooked? Can you eat the outside? I am intimidated!

  3. Amber Schumann says:

    Artichoke FANATIC here. I am from the Northern California coast, so they are a staple in my diet. If you ever find yourself near Half Moon Bay (Pescadero, specifically), you have to stop in to Duarte’s Tavern for a bowl of their famous artichoke soup (literally famous–they made it onto Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dive’s for that and their cioppino).

    I just spent the weekend in Scottsdale for a wedding, and the hubby took me to Houstons. He said we would go there JUST for the grilled artichoke. HE WAS RIGHT. The absolute best grilled artichoke I have EVER HAD. I’m a melted butter dipper myself, but they had this AMAZING aioli that I wish I could figure out to replicate.

  4. I absolutely love artichokes! I remember asking my mom to make them for dinner all the time as a kid. We would steam the artichokes and dip them in melted garlic butter. They are so fun and elegant!!

  5. We always steam our artichokes. Cut off an inch from the top and even out the stem so the ‘choke can stand upright on it’s own. Place it in an inch of water in a pot, cover and steam for an hour. If I want to get fancy I’ll slice Romano cheese and stuff the leaves, top it with bread crumbs and a little olive oil then steam it. I’ll have to try boiling it or grilling it! Yum!

  6. GINA!

    Love this post. Artichokes are one of my favorites.

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and you are my inspiration to lose weight. I NEED YOUR HELP! I was looking for your weight loss journey for an hour or so on your blog and couldn’t find it. I thought maybe that would have some good advice.

    Where can I find your journey? Where can I find your tips/advice for weight loss?


    • I’d love to hear about this too!

      • I would also love to hear some of your tips.
        Especially since you are a certified weightloss specialist.

    • Fitnessista says:

      hey jane! thank you so much for reading πŸ™‚
      here is my weight loss story:
      i have to be careful writing about weight loss since there are many people who read my blog who are suffering or have suffered from eating disorders. it’s a tricky line to walk. however, in my book (out in december) i have full meal plans and workout plans that you can follow. did you do winter shape up? we’ll have another one in the summer, too πŸ™‚
      hope this helps a little!

      • Thank you very much Gina!
        It’s so nice of you to take the time to reply.
        I did do winter shape up and loved it! I’m looking forward to the summer session! πŸ™‚

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Perfect timing on this post! I just bought two artichokes over the weekend, and have yet to cook them. Your CA artichokes look better than the ones I can get in the northeast, though!

  8. love artichokes! you guys don’t remove the choke?! i don’t think it’s poisonous but i definitely couldn’t digest that haha. maybe it’s easier to eat after cooking? i usually remove it and the spurs pre cooking with a grapefruit spoon and steam them.

    • Fitnessista says:

      we do, but it’s the very last thing we do before eating the heart. we scrape all the leaves first and then use a spoon to scrape off the furry part in the middle

  9. I love artichokes and have been wanting to try making them. This is a huge help!

  10. The secret to artichokes: SUPER SUPER sharp knife to cut the tops off! :p

    These look fabulous – I will definitely be trying mayo + lemon!

    Also! I’m so excited about your book coming out!

    Question – that you may have answered previously – will there be a Kindle version available?

    And even so, would you recommend the print version due to the format/layout of the book? You know, some books that are better suited to print format vs. digital.

    • Fitnessista says:

      hi mila! thank you so much for your support πŸ™‚ it will be available on kindle. we’re still working on the layout, so i’ll let you know if it would be be better in the print or digital form. usually i prefer health books in the physical format since it’s easy to flip and reference certain things. i still haven’t gotten the hang of that with my kindle

  11. Thank you for this post! I’ve never even considered buying artichoke from the grocery store but I’m totally going to pick some up for next week.

  12. Mayo isn’t weird – but only with artichokes (OMG I hate mayonnaise but grew up dipping artichokes in it so that I can take.)

    Love your first picture on this post. It feels like a whole new type of fitnessista. Did you use the fancy camera for it?

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you!! i’m trying to change things up with the photography over here πŸ™‚ i used the dslr for it

  13. I’ve eaten artichokes on pizza but never tried cooking them on their own -thanks for making it look doable! I’d really like to start using kale. I’ve heard great things about it but my attempt at kale chips didn’t turn out like I’d hoped. I’d love to learn other (simple) ways to use it.

  14. I LOVE artichokes but have never tried cooking one. Thanks for the straightforward tutorial! I’ll give it a try…doesn’t seem too difficult at all!

  15. As a fellow artichoke lover, I feel the need to share this information…the stem is totally edible! It’s like a bonus artichoke heart (huzzah!). Just peel it to get the stringy outside off before you cook and it’s good to go. My mom grows artichokes, so we always cut really far down on the stem to take full advantage.

  16. I’ve tried to do artichoke as a side once and after “removing the top layer” had nothing left. I’m clueless and intimidated by them for sure. Thanks for posting!

  17. ooo, love your mani!

  18. Add some chili garlic sauce to your mayo for dipping. The spice takes it up to a whole other level! Similar to the sriracha version you mentioned.

  19. Gotta try this!

  20. I LOVE artichokes – thank you for this!

    PS – Those babies with the grill marks are some gorgeous looking ‘chokes! πŸ™‚

  21. Dang, those are great looking. I love artichokes but they don’t love me.

    I cook them in the rice cooker. I think I’ve mentioned that here before. So easy. Just put a couple inches of water in the bottom so they steam. I think they come less water-logged than boiling but I bet the grill takes care of that!

  22. I have never made my own artichokes because I’ve always been intimidated by the process. Thanks for breaking it down!

  23. I love artichoke hearts so much. There’s this restaurant close to where I used to live in Philly that made fried artichoke hearts with this peppercorn aioli with a squeeze of lemon juice over the chokes and it was highly addictive. I love the tanginess of that dish! I’m going to try your method this summer πŸ™‚

  24. Thanks for the recipe! I was literally just craving artichokes this weekend and unsure of how to prepare them! πŸ™‚

  25. I’ve never had artichokes like this before. I think I could totally do it and it looks so good!

  26. What exactly do artichokes taste like? Do they have a very “green veggie” like taste or is it more about what you put on them like garlic or sea salt?

    • Fitnessista says:

      they have a bit of a green veggie taste, but it’s really mild. they’re meaty and delicious πŸ™‚

  27. OMG. I’m SO glad you posted this because artichokes have majorly intimated me for YEARS, but last year I vowed to try my hand with them (and I didn’t). So, this year is my year, and I WILL tackle these (gentle) beasts! Thanks for the step by step. Hopefully I can turn my hubs into an artichoke king, as well πŸ˜‰

  28. this makes me want to try fresh artichokes.
    also, not sure if that is a dress or a shirt in that first picture, but I love it! love the spring colors and style.

  29. Every time I see the artichoke I get scared! haha. I think this helped though!! I am not a fan of cooked carrots, raw carrots I love, cooked not so much!

  30. This sounds ridic but how do you eat artichokes? What part of the leaves can you eat?

  31. thanks for the tips on the chokes!
    also- soy sauce PLUS mayo is incredible.
    sounds strange but highly addictive.

  32. connie harney says:

    Here we go with coincidences. . . Artichokes and avocados are 2 great delights that your files introduced me to when we first started seeing each other. He had lived in the San Diego area and was all about healthy eating. Love, your mil

  33. Ah I looove artichokes. My mom used to make them all the time when I was little but I don’t eat them very often now because yes, I WAS intimidated.

    Thanks for this awesome, easy tutorial. I’ll def be trying it soon!

    • Fitnessista says:

      not related at all, but are you coming to SD for anything any time soon? i’ll definitely hit you up when i’m in LA so we can grab a green juice πŸ™‚

  34. It’s fate! Just nabbed an artichoke at the international market over the weekend; they were only $1 each!

    One of my favorites dipping sauces is mayo mixed with sriracha – I use A LOOOT – and fresh lime juice. (A little squirt of honey can be a fun twist, too.) It’s fantastic with roasted sweet potato fries!

  35. Beautiful wedding rings!

  36. Thanks for the advice, I’ve always been way too intimidated to make artichokes!

  37. Shaina Anderson says:

    well this is happening this week πŸ™‚ looooove artichokes! I could just grill 3 and eat for dinner. done and done.

  38. Nicole Gardner says:

    YUM! I’ve always been too intimidated to cook artichokes. I will def be trying this recipe very sooon.

  39. Thanks so much for sharing! I really enjoy them, but never buy them or prepare them at home. Now I have a good, easy idea of what to do.

  40. Artichokes are one of my absolute favorite things to eat. My kids love them too! Usually I just steam mine for a half hour or so, but on occasion I’ll finish them on the grill. It makes them feel fancier.

  41. Gina, I know I’m a little late to the party on this, but oh my YUM! I had never tried artichokes before (didn’t know how to cook them); well we bought a couple AND just bought a grill, so the first things to go on it were organic chicken and artichokes a la Pilot and Fitnessista. My husband was quite skeptical but he declared he’d never had a better ‘choke! Thanks Gina!

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