Artichokes: Chock full of goodness

Did you know that vegetables are the number one food eaten in homes during the last three Super Bowls? The NPD Group market research firm that tracks Americans’ eating habits found that while pizza, beer and wings are popular, vegetables top the list. I was thrilled to finally read a positive statistic about Americans’ diets.

This year we decided to have a healthy Super Bowl spread, incorporating lots of fruits and vegetables. I made a lightened up version of spinach and artichoke dip and it was a huge hit! The typical spinach and artichoke dip is filled with mayonnaise, sour cream and cheese, making it a heart clogging indulgence. This light version allows the spinach and artichokes to take the lead.

Can you believe that I had never cooked with artichokes before? I have to admit that they appear a bit intimidating. All of those leaves and layers make it look like a porcupine baseball. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to eat the leaves or peel it like an orange. So, I went the easy route and bought the frozen artichoke hearts for Trader Joes.

I am glad that I gave artichokes a try because this odd vegetable is actually chock full of vitamins, nutrients and health benefits.

Artichokes are:

  1. A liver-cleaning food – The silymarin in artichokes help protect and nourish the liver
  2. Great for digestion and relieving gastrointestinal (GI) upset – In one study researchers found that 85 percent of patients experienced relief from stomach pain, nausea and vomiting when given artichoke extract.
  3. Excellent source of flavonoids which prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol
  4. Good for your eyes – artichokes are full of eye-friendly carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin
  5. Full of fiber for very little calories (6 ½ grams of fiber in one artichoke for only 60 calories)

Try out this recipe for light Spinach and Artichoke dip to give artichokes a try:

Spinach and Artichoke Dip


  • 1 bag Trader Joes frozen artichoke hearts (cooked and drained)
  • 1 bag Trader Joes frozen spinach (cooked and squeezed dry)
  • 2 cups 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 blocks fat-free cream cheese
  • Dash of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Process the artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic and salt in a food processor
  • Combine 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese, 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, greek yogurt and cream cheese in a bowl and mix well. Add the artichoke and spinach mixture – stir until combined.
  • Spoon mixture into baking dish and top with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Did you serve healthy foods this year for the Super Bowl? Do you have light versions of your favorite dishes? Please share.

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