Artichokes are possibly the only food that makes me sorry that I don’t live on the West Coast. Artichokes have long been a delicacy– Roman philosophers discussed them– even for those who live in the right climate. No doubt artichokes were prized partly because one compound has the unique capacity of making the foods eaten after them taste sweeter. Perhaps we should all eat artichokes prior to our greens?

Even better, artichokes have a plethora of antioxidants and a few handy cholesterol-lowering compounds. Combined with the soluble fiber of the beans and beneficial fats in the olive oil, the white bean artichoke dip will do a little artery-scrubbing after your holiday indulgences.

Artichoke White Bean Spread

This is one of my favorite instant lunches or last minute dishes to take a party in the winter. Quick and minimalist, it’s also pretty good for you given the benefits of both beans and artichokes. Serve it with crackers, bread, raw vegetables, or (after thinning slightly) even drizzled over steamed asparagus or broccoli.

1 8 oz jar marinated artichokes
1 15.5 oz can white beans (preferably no or low salt)
2 T olive oil
pinch of thyme or marjoram (optional)

Drain beans and rinse. Drain artichokes, reserving liquid. Place beans and artichokes ina food processor and puree until smooth. Add the olive oil, herbs of choice, and pulse briefly. If you prefer a thinner dip, pulse with an additional 1-3 T of reserved liquid from the artichokes. Enjoy!

No food processor? Use a blender and more liquid for a thinner dip or mince artichokes finely and stir into well-mashed beans.

Too much salt? Use dried beans that you previously cooked (and froze?) along with defrosted frozen artichokes. Season with lemon juice, herbs, and a smidge of chili.

Linked to: Fresh Bites Friday