Being on a keto diet can be overwhelming. Especially when you are new at it! After all, it is so difficult to figure out if a given item is keto-friendly or not! This is true, considering how some of the most common food items can be unfit for keto. At the same time, other surprising options turn out to be friendly.
When I began my keto journey, I was suspicious about all the food options. One fine day, I came across artichokes and went through the same confusion.
So, are artichokes keto? They definitely are keto-friendly! I understand that the seemingly high carb content may throw you off. However, since artichokes are also equipped with high fiber content, their net carbs are quite low, leading them to be ideal for a keto diet.
Let’s dive deeper into this puzzling food, shall we?
- What are Artichokes?
- Circling Back: Are Artichokes Keto Friendly?
- The Number: Calories in Artichokes
- Taste Buds, Activated: Keto Friendly Artichoke Recipes
- Wrapping up: Leave the suspicion at bay
What are Artichokes?
Did you spend all your life considering artichokes to be some type of vegetable? If so, you are in the same boat as me, and this boat is headed in the wrong direction!
It turns out that artichokes aren’t exactly vegetables but instead a flower bud of the plant thistle. While it comes in various forms, French Artichokes are by far the most distributed.
The Art of getting Artichokes
Harvesting artichokes and getting them to the form that we see in aisles of stores is not an easy feat. The trick is to harvest the flower bud before it matures properly. Even when you get it, you can’t just chop it and eat it.
Instead, you need to work hard to get to the part of the artichokes that are actually edible. Rightfully so, this part is called the heart of the artichoke. But, to get to it, you need to go past the outer leaves called bracts which are full of thorns. Only the base of this leaf is tender enough to be edible.
Below the leaf is a hairy center called the choke, which hides the heart. The central stem and the heart are the most edible part of artichokes, with the heart being the most “meatiest” and most tasty. To make artichokes, you need to get your hands on all these edible parts.
What’s in an Artichoke: The Nutritional Profile
According to USDA, one medium-sized artichoke of 120 grams is likely to have:
- 0.4 grams of fat, including 0.1 gram of saturated fat
- 72 milligrams of sodium
- 343 milligrams of potassium
- 14 grams of carbs, consisting of 6.8 grams of dietary fiber and 1.2 grams of sugar
- 3.5 grams of protein
- 0.3 percent of vitamin A
- 15 percent of vitamin C
- 2.5 percent of calcium
- 4.1 percent of iron
All in all, artichokes are rich in antioxidants as well as are a great source of minerals and fiber.
Circling Back: Are Artichokes Keto Friendly?
Now that you are aware of the nutritional profile of artichokes, let’s go back to the issue at hand – are artichokes keto? And if so, how? After all, it has carbs, right!
While they are not as keto-friendly as zucchini, artichokes still meet the benchmark of a keto diet. This is because, contrary to what you may think, it is not the carb count that matters. Instead, the figure you need to look at is the net carb.
Net carb refers to the residual carbs left after you deduct the amount of fiber content in the said food item. Net carb is important in keto because fiber cannot be digested anyway, and we need to lower the number of digestible carbs to trigger the use of fat for energy.
Now, let’s go back to the nutritional profile. Out of the 14 grams of sugar, approximately seven grams are associated with fiber. This means that the net carbs of artichokes are actually roughly 7 grams! This is quite low and hence makes the plant a keto-friendly option.
The Number: Calories in Artichokes
Apart from learning about whether or not are artichokes keto, many also wish to know the number of calories it has. After all, the last thing you want to do is max out your allowed calories on one dish! Rest assured that this won’t happen with artichokes, at least!
As per USDA, a medium-sized artichoke only has 64 calories. Most of these calories arise from the carb content, specifically fiber. As mentioned above, since this cannot be digested, it isn’t something for you to lose your sleep over.
25 percent of the calories are derived from protein, while fat makes up only five percent. Hence, it is quite a protein-rich diet (especially when you consider that it is plant-based!) and ideal for keto.
Taste Buds, Activated: Keto Friendly Artichoke Recipes
Here are some quick keto-friendly recipes for you to try for your diet:
1. Artichoke Dip with Spinach and Cheese:
Cook spinach on medium heat by putting it on a skillet. Do so until the spinach is properly wilted. Wait for the spinach to cool down completely before draining the spinach from water.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, add mayonnaise, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, sour cream, chopped hearts of artichoke, garlic cloves, spinach and mozzarella cheese.
Mix well before seasoning it with black pepper and salt.
Then, put the mixture in baking dishes and top it with mozzarella cheese. Bake it for up to 30 minutes until the dip turns golden. Serve it with vegetable sticks or low-carb pita!
2. Artichoke soup
Begin by preparing the artichoke heart by peeling off the leaves, cutting the stem and reaching the meaty core. You can save up the edible part of the leaves and eat them with dips! Once you devoid the heart of the stem and the choke, chop it to a quarter inch of thickness.
Put the chopped artichokes, leek and garlic shallots in a pan along with butter and cook it over medium heat until the vegetables are all tender.
Proceed by adding diced potatoes, stock as well as herbs covered in a cheesecloth. Increase the heat to let the soup simmer before turning it back down. Then, cook for an hour without a lid.
After an hour has passed, discard the cheesecloth containing the herbs and puree the soup by using a spatula to push the soup through a fine sieve. The soup is now ready!
Wrapping up: Leave the suspicion at bay
With artichokes, it turns out that you don’t listen to your heart before you eat its heart! To reiterate, are artichokes keto? They definitely are! And much more so than some other seemingly healthy options.
So, go ahead and make yourself a delicious artichoke-based meal. If you choose to make either of my favorite recipe mentioned above, don’t forget to share your experience by commenting below!
And for the rest of you who are now feeling suspicious about other vegetables, don’t worry; I have trust issues too! That’s why I have researched quite a lot of food options and whether they are keto or not. Check out some of my other guides to appease the curious cat within you!
Click on one of the links below to learn more about keto friendly foods: