Artichokes are a wonderful low carb food, yet many people neglect or forget about them. They are simple to cook and are a great excuse to eat lemon butter. Artichoke hearts are especially tender — worth the effort!
Artichokes have many little known health benefits. The are high in anti-oxidants that fight damage from free radicals to keep us looking and feeling young. Polyphenols such as quercetin and rutin are abundant in artichoke leaves. These have anti-proliferative effects, inducing apoptosis – cellular suicide – in cancer cells.
Artichokes are rich in vitamin C, for a healthy immune system and sturdy gums.
Artichokes have plenty of blood pressure regulating potassium.
They are also rich in trace minerals, important for building muscle and promoting a healthy metabolism.
Several studies have shown that artichokes are anti-inflammatory, and help moderate cholesterol levels.
Artichokes supply a special fiber called inulin that promotes intestinal health by feeding beneficial bacteria in the colon. Inulin also helps diabetics control blood sugar.
One medium artichoke contains about 40% of the daily recommended fiber intake. They are a rich source of soluble fiber, which can be harder to come by than insoluble fibers on a low carb diet.
Artichoke leaves can ease gastro-intestinal symptoms such as IBS, heartburn and constipation/diarrhea.
Compounds in artichokes stimulate bile, which helps us to break down the fat we eat, which is very helpful for low carbers. Good bile flow also helps the liver get rid of toxins, aiding weight loss. An antioxidant in artichokes called silymarin is very beneficial for optimal liver function. A strong uncongested liver is crucial for balancing hormones, including insulin and thyroid hormones.
Artichoke Carb Stats:
Thanks to our low carb friend Laura Dolson
- ½ cup artichoke hearts (about 3 oz without liquid): 3 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 7 grams fiber and and 45 calories
- 1 medium cooked artichoke (120 grams drained): 4 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 10 grams fiber and 64 calories
- 1 large cooked artichoke (160 grams drained): 6 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 11 grams fiber and 76 calories
Recipe for Low Carb Mediterranean Stuffed Artichokes
- 4 large artichokes
- 1 pound grass fed beef stew meat
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon grass fed butter
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- 1 lemon
- 4-6 cups homemade bone broth or water (click link for recipe)
For the stuffing:
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 white onion, minced
- 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
- Sea salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Melt some butter and sear the beef stew meat on all sides for three minutes on each side.
Add the onion and cook for two minutes.
Add the bay leaf and cinnamon.
Cover with broth, or water if you must, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Prepare the artichokes: remove stems and cut hard pointy tops.
Put in a bowl of lemon water to keep them from turning brown while you finish.
Steam the artichokes for 8-10 to make them easier to handle.
Spread the leaves, and use a spoon to scrape out the fuzzy “choke” that covers the heart.
Combine the ground beef, diced onion, almond flour, cilantro, salt, pepper in a bowl, and mix well.
Stuff this mixture into the artichokes.
Put the stuffed artichokes in the pan with the beef stew, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes covered or until the meat is tender.
Serve to your happy family with lots of melted butter for dipping!
This is recipe is adapted from my upcoming new book: Paleo Mediterranean Cooking.
Reprint from CarbSmart Magazine, April 2013, Available in:
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