An artichoke heart salad that makes a great summer dinner
When was the last time you bought a fresh artichoke and took it apart for just the artichoke's heart? Never is the frequent answer. Honestly, I've never done it either.
Can you imagine how long you would need to take eight or 10 artichokes apart for just the hearts? If I were a nimble knifer, it would still take me at least an hour. No thanks!
On a hot summer afternoon, my partner, Nan, burst into my home office with a well-stained recipe card and announced she was going to make her artichoke and rice salad since it seemed just right for a sizzling hot summer evening supper.
Nan's recipe used a package of Chicken Flavored Rice-a-Roni. Right away, that wasn't going to work for me. Her recipe also required half a large jar of sunflower oil marinated artichoke hearts. That is a no-longer-on-my-menu oil since I now prefer extra-virgin fruit oils such as olive or avocado over highly refined seed oils.
I figured if I used the same amount of rice as Nan's recipe, it would add 411 calories and 90 carb grams. Wowzah.
You may be ahead of me here.
I've been really pleased with trading riced organic cauliflower for cooked white rice. Using riced cauliflower in this artichoke salad would eliminate 82 carb grams and nearly 360 calories. Plus, riced cauliflower delivers four times the fiber as the same amount of cooked white rice. Double wowzah.
Nan used the oil in which her artichokes were marinated as part of her salad's dressing, blending it with mayonnaise and curry powder. I decided to use as much avocado oil mayonnaise as Nan's mayo and oil combination.
Water-packed artichokes worked for this, along with organic sweet green pepper and sweet onion purchased at my local farmers market. Perfect.
I couldn't wait to put my artichoke salad together; at the same time, Nan made hers so we could compare them side-by-side.
Not able to leave well enough alone, I added some dried parsley, ground mustard and a packet of stevia to my salad's dressing.
While I defrosted the cauliflower rice, I quickly chopped the onion, sweet pepper and artichoke hearts and sliced the green olives. I whisked together the mayo with the parsley, ground mustard, sea salt, curry powder, black pepper and stevia, adding and stirring it into the veggies.
That night I used my new salad as my main dish and topped it with some sliced almonds for a bit of crunch.
At supper, we compared each salad. Nan hadn't used the rice-a-roni after all; instead, she cooked and chilled some white and wild rice.
Nan's salad definitely carried the wild rice's flavor and tasted great. My salad's blend of flavors was nearly perfect, not too strong on the curry powder. We agreed each salad was different yet excellent.
Serving my salad alongside slices of a bicolor (yellow and red), organic heirloom tomato called "Mortgage Lifter" screamed summer. I love it.
You gotta give my lower-carb artichoke salad a try.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.