Turn Leftover Artichoke Marinade Into An Instant Veggie Upgrade

We don't normally consider the leftover juice from our jarred, marinated vegetables as anything other than a byproduct — something to toss away like the container itself. Alas, think of all the umami-rich pickle juice, olive brine, and salty caper marinade we've needlessly thrown away over the years. Perhaps the biggest waste of all? That tangy, golden artichoke marinade. 

Why should you save this liquid above all else? Jarred marinated artichokes often come equipped with a liquid infused with Italian herbs, like basil and oregano, as well as a balanced blend of vinegar and oil. As an added bonus, that juice often takes on the delicately sweet flavor of the artichoke itself. Basically, this ready-made seasoned liquid is all you need to pump up the volume on your dips, vinaigrettes, and salad dressings destined to coat your beautiful vegetables. 

Beyond that, you can toss this miracle ingredient into any starch dish that could use a touch of tangy moisture, like bland mashed potatoes, pasta salad, or a simple bowl of white rice. So how should you go about tapping into this fabulous jarred resource? 

Substitute for stock or make a tangy dressing

There are a few things to keep in mind when using your leftover marinade for miscellaneous culinary projects. First, taste it to determine the level of acidity and salt you're working with so that you can adjust the seasoning if necessary. Plus, every brand of jarred artichoke will have a different flavor to it, so it's worth a quick taste test. Second, strain your liquid to make sure you're not taking any unwanted sediment into your sauces and dressings. It'll add quite a bit of moisture to whatever sauce you're creating, so consider substituting it for other liquids in the recipe, like lemon juice or stock. 

Alternatively, you can make use of this liquid as its own dressing, adding chunky texture by stirring some chopped marinated artichokes to the mix for a boost of sweetness. By the way, that taste comes from a protein in the artichoke called cynarin, which makes everything, including water, taste sweeter. So consider pairing this with vegetable dishes that could use that twinge of sweetness, like an earthy batch of roasted Brussels sprouts or spicy radishes. 

Be sure to add the marinade to veggies that have already been cooked, as that tangy vinegar in the marinade may cook off in high heat. Instead, treat it like a finishing sauce, tossing roasted, boiled, or sautéed veggies with it after the cooking. Or, go raw, and toss it with tender greens and freshly sliced tomatoes.