Stuffed Artichokes: How to Healthify a Classic Italian Side Dish

Impress dinner guests with this flavorful (and surprisingly healthy) veggie.

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Artichokes are one of those foods that appears in many American favorites (spinach and artichoke dip, anyone?), yet many people are afraid to place a whole, fresh artichoke in their grocery cart. Something about its spiky appearance intimidates shoppers and convinces them to save their artichoke cravings for restaurants. 

Sure, you could let the chef make artichokes for you, but there's a good reason to learn how to prepare artichokes at home. Artichokes are a great non-starchy vegetable, meaning they're low in carbohydrates and calories (but high in fiber and other important nutrients). Artichokes are especially high in folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

If you're new to cooking with artichokes at home, roasted and stuffed artichokes are a simple and easy recipe to start with. In this episode of “Diabetes Bites,” learn how to prepare a simple stuffed artichoke in a way that’s healthy and diabetes-friendly, according to Fiorella DiCarlo, RD, CDN, registered dietian in New York City.

There are a number of ways to stuff an artichoke, and it's very easy to go overboard on saturated fat and excessive carbohydrates. A common myth about eating with diabetes is that you have to cut carbs and grains completely. Carbs are actually an essential part of the human diet, and experts recommend choosing high-quality carbohydrates instead of removing carbs completely. That means focusing on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables whenever possible, while limiting added sugars and refined flours. (It's not just people with diabetes: This is the same diet recommendation for everyone.)

For example, most versions of stuffed artichokes use breadcrumbs. Storebought breadcrumbs are usually made from white bread, which is low in fiber and other nutrients that are stripped away during the refining process. By using whole-wheat bread as the stuffing, you're adding extra fiber and protein. Fiber helps manage blood glucose levels and is essential to a healthy diet, especially a healthy diabetic diet. (Here are other reasons to add fiber to your diet.)

Along with the whole-wheat breadcrumbs, this stuffed artichoke recipe gets added flavor from a touch of parmesan cheese, garlic, and classic Italian herbs. These flavorful yet healthy stuffed artichokes make an impressive side dish or appetizer for dinner parties (and you will never be intimidated by the humble artichoke again).

  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 large fresh artichokes
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot, add water and juice from the lemon, and bring to a boil. Preparing Artichoke: Peel off bottom layer of outer leaves. Cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the "choke" and hairs, using a spoon or your fingers. Put artichokes in boiling lemon water for about 5 minutes. Remove and set leaves-side down, on a baking dish or cast iron pan Preparing stuffing: In a food processor, add 100% whole wheat bread, parmigiano reggiano cheese, garlic, parsley, and ground black pepper. Blend or pulse ingredients form crumbs, then drizzle in olive oil. Scoop stuffing into the cavity of the artichokes, pressing and packing it in. Place sheet or in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

Nutrition Information

Recipe Serves: 4
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
Calories 1266%
Fat 5gr7%
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 207mg9%
Carbohydrates 17gr13%
Fiber 8gr32%
Sugar 2gr4%
Protein 5gr9%

*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dietary Needs

Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Diet
Lower Carbohydrate
Lower Cholesterol
Lower Sodium
Lower Sodium
Lower Sugar
Lower Sugar