25 April 2008

Artichoke hearts make everything better.

Seriously. The other day I was going through the index of a cookbook I like pretty well, and discovered that there were no entries under artichokes. Now that just ain't right. I officially think less of that cookbook.

But anyway. Wanted to post two yummy recipes for easy potluck/cookout salads that involve artichoke hearts. One's a spinach dip sure to delight all you vegans and fellow lactose-intolerants out there; it uses pureed beans as creamy goodness instead of cheese or sour cream. The other is pretty much your classic three-bean salad, which I looked at and decided it needed artichoke hearts to really make people happy. Or at least to make ME happy.

The spinach artichoke heart dip comes from the great vegetarian cookbook, "Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites". The three-bean salad one I just kinda made up after reading a few different online recipes & deciding what I wanted; I made it with red wine vinegar, whereas they're often made with cider vinegar, and it was pretty darn tasty.

Spinach Artichoke Heart Dip

5 oz fresh organic spinach, rinsed & stemmed
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 1/2 c cooked cannellini beans (or butter beans) (this equals one 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
1 c chopped scallions
2 T chopped fresh basil
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste (or seriously, just use reaLemon if you're in a hurry)
5-6 artichoke hearts or bottoms, minced (15-oz can)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Using only the water that's on the leaves after rinsing, steam the spinach just until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Drain.
In a food processor, puree the spinach, garlic, beans, scallions, basil and 2T of lemon juice until very smooth. Fold in the minced artichoke hearts; add more lemon juice, and the salt and pepper to taste.
Serve chilled or at room temp.

Ann's Super-Easy Deluxe Three-Bean Salad

15 oz can organic kidney beans, rinsed & drained
15 oz can organic green beans, rinsed & drained
15 oz can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
15 oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1/3 c cider or red wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c sugar
2 T oregano
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Combine beans, artichoke hearts and onion in a large bowl. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, and oregano. Drizzle over the beans, add salt and pepper to taste, toss gently and taste again, adding more salt & pepper if needed. Recommended to let chill several hours before serving, so the salad can marinate.

No comments: