Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Oven Roasted Artichokes

bowl full of roasted artichokes on white wooden table

 

Not going to lie, I dabbled with my first ever roasted artichoke just the other week and I LOVED IT.  Why has it taken me so long to try these darn things?!  Oh I know…because I had no idea how to eat them!

Up until now the only artichoke I would consume was marinated in a jar.  And albeit, super yummy, I think everyone needs to try a fresh roasted artichoke in their life time!  Similar to mushrooms, the artichoke flesh soaks up the flavor of whatever its baked with, so in this case…garlic and herbs!

 

fresh artichokes, whole on white table

 

In this post you will find instruction on how to roast these beautiful, jurassic-looking veggies, as well as a guide through the prep work, and how to eat these suckers too!

Step 1:  Prep Artichoke for baking

This part can be completed in a couple of minutes and will require a sharp serrated knife and spoon.  Start by rinsing, then cutting stem off with sharp knife.  Lay artichoke on its side, and cut the top 1 inch off.  Then lay artichoke flush to the surface (stem side down), and cut through the middle from top to bottom. 

Next, you will need to scoop out a little area in the middle, where the “hair” is located.  Once you have scooped out the center, brush with a lemon to prevent browning and set aside.

 

artichoke halves in grey baking dish

 

Step 2: Bake

After your artichokes have been stuffed with garlic, herbs, and butter, you’ll want to bake them at 400 degrees F.  First for 20 minutes without foil, and then 30-40 minutes with foil.

(Something else I learned about artichokes…they make a great vehicle for butter!)

 

close up of browned, roasted artichoke halves

 

Step 3: Devour

The best way to eat an artichoke is one petal at a time.  Rip off a petal by grabbing the pointy end, and lay the inside of the petal on top of your tongue while still holding on.  Bite down and slowly pull the “flesh” off by pulling it over your bottom teeth.  Discard petal remains.  

The petals on the outermost surface will have the least amount of flesh, but the closer you get to the “heart” is where you’ll find the most substance to eat.

Continue this process until you reach the heart, which will be soft and VERY flavorful.  Eat the heart as you’d like…in a couple pieces, or whole!  It may look a little funny, but don’t be afraid, because its delicious!

If you really want to get fancy with it, you can add a dipping sauce for the petals, which adds more flavor!  I used pesto in this recipe, but some other recommendations would be, Caesar or Ranch dressing, any aioli, or any yogurt based dip.

I ended up eating most of mine without dip, because it was that flavorful on its own!  Hope you guys give this a try and enjoy 🙂 

 

roasted artichokes in bowl with pesto dipping sauce

 

Oven Roasted Artichokes

These oven roasted artichokes are very simple to make, require only a couple ingredients, and allow you to enjoy the true flavor of an artichoke! Roasted in garlic, grass-fed butter, and a few spices...YUM!  
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: artichokes, easy, fresh herbs, garlic, gluten free, healthy, oven, roasted
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 4 artichokes whole
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp herb butter or regular butter melted
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Rinse artichokes and cut stem off with a sharp serrated knife.  Next, cut top 1 inch off, then cut artichoke in half from top to bottom.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out a small portion of the middle.  Try to spoon out the "hair".
  • Before placing artichokes in baking dish, coat front and back with a layer of lemon juice to prevent browning. 
  • Set artichokes in a greased baking dish with insides facing up.  Place one whole garlic clove in the center of each artichoke half.  
  • Brush with half of your melted butter, and sprinkle with half of salt and pepper.  Turn artichoke halves over and repeat butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for 20 min without foil.  Wrap foil lightly overtop baking dish and cook for another 40 min.
  • Remove from oven and let cool before serving.  Serve with a side of pesto, any yogurt dip, or add some extra lemon juice and eat by itself!
Vegetarian Meals

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

pasta salad in stone colored bowl, on white table with basil and sun-dried tomatoes

 

 

Need a quick side dish for your next dinner party?!  Look no further my friends!  The longest part of making this pasta salad is just waiting for the pasta to cook ( and if you like your pasta al dente, then you don’t even have to wait the full time on that)!

I love this pasta salad, because the dressing and mediterranean veggies give this it a fresh and light flavor.  Although this recipe doesn’t call for cheese, don’t be afraid to add some goat or feta cheese if you really want to take it to the next level!

In order to make the best use of your time, chop veggies and prepare the dressing while pasta is cooking.  Dump all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and then stir in dressing right before serving (to avoid getting everything too soggy).

 

Mediterranean pasta salad in stone colored bowl, topped with grilled artichoke hearts

 

For this recipe, I used Banza Pasta, a gluten free alternative to regular wheat pasta, so I wouldn’t feel all that guilty going back for a second serving!  You could really add any of your favorite mediterranean inspired veggies…my opinion is, the more the merrier!

For me…nothing beats fresh chopped basil (cue romantic background music).  Sun-dried tomatoes add a deep savory flavor, while grilled artichoke hearts give it an awesome salty and smoky flavor.  Add any sort of nut for crunch (a good crunch in any dish is a totally underrated quality) and call it a day!

The dressing is super easy, just a combination of 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, mixed with 1 part balsamic vinegar, along with dried Italian spices.  If you’re feeling really fancy and have lemons on deck…don’t be afraid to throw some of that in too!

I think the best thing about this dish is that it looks super fancy, but really only requires you to have the right ingredients on hand, that can then be dumped in a bowl and mixed together.  Give it a try, you guys will love it!

 

close up picture of large bowl filled with mediterranean pasta salad

 

 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Gluten free pasta filled with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and onion!  Mixed with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette and packed with vitamins, flavor, and healthy oils!
Prep Time13 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: appetizer, artichoke, basil, mediterranean, pasta salad, sundried tomato
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 bag or individual box, Banza GF Pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion chopped
  • 3 halves marinated artichokes pulled from stem and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Cook pasta on stove top until soft, then rinse under cool water.
  • Transfer pasta to large bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add goat cheese or feta for added flavor!
Vegetarian Meals

Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

black skillet with eggplant lasagna on white table, spinach and sweet potato pictures next to skillet

 

Public service announcement: NO NEED TO BE A VEGETARIAN to totally fall in love with this eggplant lasagna!  If my meat-lover husband can devour this lasagna in one sitting and not notice the meat is missing, then that tells me we’re in good shape for the blog!

My idea behind this dish is that I wanted to make it simple and healthy.  So let’s start with simple…

I used raw ingredients, that only required slicing, and baked them all together in a skillet (or casserole dish).  There is no need to pre-cook anything or get out a million pots and pans (which means less dishes…yay!).

For this recipe, I would highly encourage the use of a mandoline to slice your “layers”.  It is one of my favorite kitchen appliances, and can cut you a whole veggie in about 30 seconds flat!  (click the link below for more information on mandolines!)

 

 

cutting board with sliced eggplant, sweet potato, and chopped onion

 

I used a mandoline to thinly slice a sweet potato, and then a sharp knife to cut the eggplant approximately 1/4 in. thick width wise.  Chop an onion, grab some spinach, mix spices, and layer as follows:

  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • spices
  • onion
  • spinach
  • sauce
  • cheese

(repeat one more time) 

 

black skillet on white table, with eggplant lasagna
Lasagna before baking

 

Second, I didn’t want to use meat, or pasta, because I love eggplant and strongly believe it should get its time to shine every now and again!  Therefore, I substituted pasta with sweet potatoes, and meat with our star of the show…eggplant!  

The sweet potato acts as a low carb substitute for pasta and gives the lasagna structure, while the eggplant provides high fiber content and is rich with nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).  Instead of using traditional mozzarella, a cheese derived from cow’s milk that causes inflammation, I used goat cheese crumbles which contains less lactose and is typically easier to digest.

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach

 

Once all of your layers are assembled, cover in foil, bake for 50 min, then remove foil and bake for another 25 min.  You can serve as a single dish, or with a side salad!    

 

eggplant lasagna in a skillet on white table with spinach in background

 

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

A one-pan, healthy, vegetarian, eggplant parmesan made with sweet potato, spinach, onion, and spices!  Creamy goat cheese used in place of traditional mozzarella, on top of a basil marinara sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: eggplant, gluten free, parmesan, sweet potato, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large eggplant skinned
  • 1 large sweet potato skinned
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 36 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a large skillet or baking dish.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all spices and set aside.
  • Using a mandoline, slice sweet potato into round, thin pieces and set aside. Using a knife, cut the width of the eggplant to approximately 1/4 in. thick, set aside. Chop onion and set aside.
  • Take greased baking dish, and line the bottom with half the amount of sweet potato slices. Then layer half of the eggplant pieces directly on top.
  • Take spice mixture, and evenly sprinkle half the amount over eggplant.
  • Take half of chopped onion, and 1 cup of spinach and sprinkle over eggplant. Spread half of marinara sauce overtop and spread using a spatula.
  • Evenly sprinkle half of goat cheese over top marinara.  Repeat the same process again, starting with a layer of sweet potatoes.
  • Wrap tinfoil over top and bake for 50 min.  remove tinfoil and bake for another 25 min.  Let cool, garnish with extra herbs (if desired), and serve!