These garlic roasted artichokes are super simple to prepare, incredibly flavorful and have a deliciously creamy heart. Cooked whole in the Spanish style, these artichokes make a great appetizer or side to a Mediterranean-inspired meal.
The best roasted artichoke recipe
Artichokes are very versatile and can be prepared in a multitude of ways (I like to make artichoke dip, put them on pizza or in risotto).
Artichokes are a locally-grown product in Spain and our favorite way of eating them is roasted whole.
If you’ve checked a few whole roasted artichoke recipes online you’ll probably notice that they’re all more or less the same.
Stick a clove of garlic in the middle and squeeze over some lemon juice before wrapping in tin foil and roasting, right?
The problem with this is that the lemon juice gives them a flavor similar to canned artichokes and overpowers the delicate flavor of the artichoke.
(While it’s true that lemon juice prevents oxidation, when you’re roasting them, they’re going to turn brown in the oven anyway and who really cares what they look like - it’s the flavor that matters).
Furthermore, if you’re a garlic lover (and who isn’t), one clove stuck in the middle is not nearly enough!
My recipe imparts maximum garlicky-ness by gently frying minced garlic in olive oil to create a garlic oil that is then drizzled between the artichoke petals.
The result is deliciously garlicky while still tasting like a fresh artichoke!
How to choose artichokes
The fresher the artichoke, the less fuzz it will have in the heart.
The fuzz is the future pistils. When they start developing, it means that the flower is getting ready to open. Younger and smaller artichokes are more tender and less fuzzy in the middle.
For that reason I like to choose medium-sized artichokes rather than large ones. Larger ones are great for stuffing, but medium ones are better for roasting.
To choose the freshest artichokes, look for ones with tightly closed leaves that are firm and squeak a little when you squeeze them.
They should feel heavy when you pick them up, and in particular the head should be heavier than the stem.
The colour should be bright green but it’s okay if they have a few brown spots on them. The brown spots are caused by the cold, which is normal for a winter vegetable. It doesn’t mean they’re going bad.
How to prepare artichokes for roasting
Artichokes are very easy to prepare for roasting and most other recipes over-complicate this step!
Artichokes are best roasted whole rather than halved to protect the heart from the heat and allow them to steam in their own juices.
It’s not really necessary to wash artichokes - they’re not usually dirty and you won’t be putting the exposed parts of the outer leaves in your mouth.
Allowing water to enter between the petals is detrimental and will result in a mushy heart.
However, if you feel like they need to be washed, hold them upside down under running water and then stand them upside down to prevent water from trickling down between the petals.
Cut the stem off so that the artichoke can stand upright.
Cut the top quarter off the artichoke. I find a bread knife works best for this.
Use your thumbs to separate the petals and create space between them for the garlic oil seep into.
Don’t waste time cutting the tips off the leaves. You’re not going to poke an eye out. It’s totally unnecessary.
If your artichoke has a fuzzy choke, don’t waste your time scooping it out now. You’ll get to it when you’re eating, it’s much easier.
Don’t worry about rubbing it with lemon. It’s not a beauty contest and lemon makes them taste like canned artichokes. We’re going for flavour!
How to roast artichokes
For this recipe you only need four ingredients: fresh whole artichokes, olive oil, garlic and salt.
Start by preparing the garlic-infused oil.
In a small pan over medium-low heat gently fry two (or more if you love garlic) minced cloves of garlic for a minute or two.
Keep in mind that the oil is hot and the garlic will continue cooking after you remove the pan from the heat.
In order to avoid browning or burning the garlic, take it off the heat once the garlic is fragrant and beginning to look transparent.
Let the oil cool. It normally just takes a few minutes to cool enough not to burn you if you accidentally drip some on your hands.
In the meantime, prepare your artichokes but slicing off the stem so that they stand upright and slicing off the top quarter of the artichoke.
Use your thumbs to pull apart the petals. You can be quite rough with the outer petals to make sure they stay open and give you room to pull apart the inner petals.
Sprinkle salt over the top of the artichokes and drizzle in a spoonful of garlic oil.
Use the back of your spoon, or even your fingers, to push the little bits of minced garlic down between the petals. You won’t get it all down there, just do your best.
Wrap each artichoke separately in tin foil. Place them in a baking tray and bake at 430 f / 220 c until tender. For medium artichokes that takes about an hour. For larger artichokes, an hour and 20 minutes.
You can test if your artichokes are done by carefully unwrapping one and sticking a knife through its bottom. It should be super tender with no resistance.
How to eat whole roasted artichokes
Now on to the fun part.
We eat these entirely with our hands and thanks to the super flavorful garlic oil, you don’t need any dipping sauce (and eating gobs of mayo is gross).
Open the foil and allow the artichokes to cool a bit.
When they’re cool enough to handle, pull off an outer leaf and scrape the bottom of the leaf, where the flesh is, across your bottom teeth. Discard the tough top of the leaf on a plate.
Continue around the artichoke. The closer you get to middle, the more tender the leaves become and you’ll be able to eat more of them.
The innermost leaves can be eaten whole.
If your artichokes have a fuzzy choke, just use a spoon to scrape it out and then enjoy the creamy and delicious heart!
What to serve with roasted artichokes
Whole roasted artichokes are great both as an appetizer or a side dish.
As a product of the Mediterranean, think Spanish, Italian or French when planning a meal including roasted artichokes.
- Savoury vegan tarte or quiche
- Pan con tomate
- Hearty salad with lentils or chickpeas and crusty bread
- Lentil loaf of vegan wellington
How to store roasted artichokes
Once the artichokes are roasted, I simply wrap them back up in their foil and put them in the fridge. They will last a couple of days and can be reheated, still wrapped, in a moderate oven.
I don’t recommend freezing whole roasted artichokes.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 fat cloves of garlic minced
- 4 medium artichokes see post above on how to choose artichokes for roasting
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 430 f / 220 c.
- Place the olive oil and garlic in a small pan over medium-low heat. Gently fry until the garlic is fragrant and beginning to turn transparent - 1 to 2 minutes. Keep in mind that the garlic will continue to cook in the hot oil off the heat so remove the pan from the heat a little before you think the garlic is fully cooked.
- Set the pan aside to allow the oil to cool enough that it won’t burn you if you accidentally drip it on you - about 5 minutes.
- Take one artichoke and cut off the stem so that it stands up. Cut off the top quarter. Use your thumbs to pull the leaves apart to make space for the garlic oil. You can be a bit aggressive with the outer leaves to give you room to separate the inner leaves.
- Sprinkle about ⅛ teaspoon of salt over the cut part of the artichoke and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil. Use the back of your spoon to push some of the garlic bits down between the leave.
- Wrap the artichoke in tin foil and place in a baking tray. Continue with the remaining artichokes.
- Bake for 1 hour for medium-sized artichokes. If yours are large, they may need an hour and 20 minutes. You can check by carefully unwrapping one and sticking a knife through its bottom. It should be tender.
- Open the foil and allow to cool slightly before eating them by pulling the leaves off and scraping them on your teeth. If your artichokes have a fuzzy choke when you reach the middle, use a spoon to remove it before eating the heart.