Roast Canned Artichokes For A Robust Addition To Salads

Canned artichokes are awesome in pasta dishes, creamy dips, and soups. However, these leafy little guys also make robust additions to salads, lending them an earthy, nutty, and filling quality. Using canned 'chokes means you can skip the hassle of sourcing, prepping, and cooking fresh artichokes, while also benefitting from the tangy saltiness of the brine they're packed in. Better yet, the trimmed buttery-soft leaves and tender hearts are primed for loading with seasonings and adding character to veggie medleys, bean-based sides, and more.

Artichokes have an inherently meaty texture, which instantly lends a simple salad of leafy greens and vegetables more satiating heft. This meatiness complements the crispness of butter lettuce, the piquancy of red onions, and the heat of dressings featuring mustard and vinegar, making the most basic of salads taste extra satisfying. Combine your roasted artichoke with white beans or lima beans for a higher protein salad that's richer in fiber.

While you could strew chunks of canned artichokes directly over a dressed salad, roasting them first has several benefits. Firstly, the heat from the oven chars the edges of the vegetable, imbuing it with heaps of caramelized flavor. The baking process also removes any excess brine the artichokes have absorbed while in the can, which shrinks them in size and creates an inviting texture that's simultaneously crisp and succulent.

Gussy up your artichokes by dressing them while warm

The perfect moment to gussy up your artichokes with dry seasonings, infused oils, or peppy marinades? Just before you give them a quick blast in a hot oven. Unlike jarred artichokes, which are often steeped in a flavorful oil with aromatics (such as garlic and herbs), canned artichokes are a blank canvas. Use this to your advantage by scattering over herbs, chili powder, garlic flakes, or even grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs to create an extra crispy coating on their fanned-out surface.

Having said that, even a simple drizzle of olive oil will help the artichokes to crisp up as they bake and imbue them with a layer of fruity flavor. Just be sure to drain, rinse, and pat dry them with a paper towel first to remove as much moisture as possible, thereby eliciting a crispier texture and nuttier taste. Finally, dress your 'chokes while they're still warm (in the same way as you'd dress a potato salad), as they'll be more receptive to soaking up the flavors of your vinaigrette or mayo-based dressing.

You can also cook artichokes on a hot grill or griddle to char their edges and draw out some of their moisture instead of oven-roasting them. However, this method means you'll have to monitor them at the stove, rather than leaving them to do their own thing while spread in a single layer over a large baking sheet.