All About Artichokes

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All About Artichokes

Artichokes have a meaty satisfying texture making a perfect addition to lots of soups and salads, like the minestrone soup below.

The flower bud of a large plant from the thistle family, a whole artichoke has large, petal-shaped leaves.

You can eat the cooked leaves by breaking them off one by one and using your teeth to scrape the tasty pulp from the base.

Once the leaves are gone, the inedible choke of the flower is left – as is the flavorful, tender heart.

When shopping for canned artichoke hearts, look for those packed in water rather than oil.

Recipe of the Day:  Minestrone with Artichokes

Artichokes are a nice addition to this surprisingly easy version of the rustic Italian classic.

This recipe makes for a satisfying meal in a bowl (just double the serving size), or it can be served as a light appetizer.

The soup keeps well in the freezer, so you can make a big batch to get you through those cold winter weekends.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings

12 ounces (3 links) lean Italian turkey sausage, sweet or spicy, casings removed

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes or 1-3/4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and diced

3 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces (about 16) thawed frozen artichoke hearts, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 cup cooked farro, bulgur, or small whole wheat pasta (like orzo or small shells)

1 cup cooked red or white kidney beans

1 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

*Use as many organic ingredients as possible.

In a nonstick skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 4 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink.

Drain the sausage on paper towels, crumble, and set aside.

In a 3- to 4-quart nonstick saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes, or until soft and just starting to brown.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, until fragrant; don’t brown the garlic.

Add the tomatoes and roasted peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the artichoke hearts, cooked farro (or bulgur or pasta), and beans.

Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until all the ingredients are heated through.

Add the chile flakes, if desired, and season with salt and black pepper.

Garnish with the basil and Parmesan.

Per serving:  160 calories, 4 g total fat (1 g saturated), 2 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 19 g total carbohydrates (4 g sugars), 6 g fiber, 12 g protein.

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Have an awesome day!

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Dick and Lenay

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from Flavor First by Cheryl Forberg, RD

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