What can I use instead of artichoke hearts? The best substitutes for artichoke hearts’ flavor are cardoons, burdock roots, and salsify. Palm hearts, Jerusalem artichokes, chayote, and bamboo shoots have a similar texture. Asparagus and fennel make delicious alternatives.
Artichokes are an unusual vegetable, forming part of the thistle family. Fresh artichoke buds or globes have prickly leaves hiding the meaty heart and must be trimmed before eating. With its mild, sweet, herbaceous flavor, the artichoke is unique but highly versatile, used in dips, antipasti, pasta, salads, and soup. Let’s look at the nine best substitutes for artichokes.
The best substitute for artichoke hearts is the cardoon, which comes from the thistle family.
Cardoon, Cardone, or artichoke thistle is a prickly stem vegetable that looks like celery but tastes like artichokes.
More popular in the Mediterranean than in the US, especially as part of a festive meal, cardoon is available at specialist farmers’ markets.
This delicacy contains phytonutrients, antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, iron, and manganese. Cardoons are also high in fiber and low in calories.
Like fresh artichokes, cardoons must be cooked before eating, requiring careful trimming, peeling, and destringing.
Roast, braise, grill, or fry cardoons and use instead of artichokes as an appetizer, part of a salad, or as a pizza topping.
Add cardoons to soups and stews, or bake a cheesy gratin. However, they won’t do well as a substitute in spinach and artichoke dip. Replace artichokes with the same amount of cardoons.
A second substitute for artichokes also comes from the thistle family, the burdock.
Often regarded as a weed, burdock tastes like artichokes. Like cardoons, you can eat the stalk, but most people eat the taproot, a staple in Asian cuisine.
Burdock is traditionally a medicinal plant because of its health benefits. It is high in potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins A and C. Eating burdock boosts your immune system.
To use burdock roots instead of artichoke hearts, peel and trim them, cut them into chunks, and boil or roast.
Instead of serving artichokes as a side dish or appetizer, serve roasted burdock root with butter and salt. Add burdock to soups and stews instead of frozen artichoke hearts.
Use burdock in equal amounts to artichoke hearts. It is texturally different from artichokes, so it isn’t an ideal substitute in salads or antipasti.
Another root vegetable to use instead of artichoke hearts is white salsify.
This heirloom vegetable is part of the dandelion family. Salsify is a root vegetable that looks like a large parsnip. However, it is herbaceous and nutty, like an artichoke.
Salsify is not a typical root vegetable or starchy tuber: it packs a hefty iron, thiamin, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C punch. Also, eat salsify as a source of fiber.
Although salsify doesn’t have the same texture as artichoke hearts, it has a similar tang.
Use salsify as a tasty side dish – it can be mashed, boiled, sautéed, or chopped into soups and stews. It’s very versatile when cooked, but don’t use salsify in salads or as an appetizer on its own.
Replace artichoke hearts with equal amounts of salsify.
If you are after the texture of marinated or canned artichoke hearts, the best substitute is palm hearts.
The palm heart is the edible inner core of a palm tree, forming a long, white cylinder. Eaten by the ancient Mayans, most palm hearts are now grown sustainably in Costa Rica.
Fresh palm hearts are rarely found as they are highly perishable, so most are canned in brine.
Palm hearts are even more nutritious than artichokes. They are cholesterol-free and contain iron, magnesium, folate, zinc, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.
Use canned palm hearts as a substitute for canned artichokes but wash off the salty brine first. Similar in texture to artichokes, palm hearts are slightly milder and sweeter.
Palm hearts are excellent seared and added to a salad or pizza. Substitute palm hearts for artichoke hearts in dips. Use palm hearts 1:1 for artichoke hearts.
Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke)
Another good substitute for the texture of artichokes is the Jerusalem artichoke.
Although their names are similar, the Jerusalem artichoke is only distantly related to the globe artichoke and is part of the sunflower family.
This starchy vegetable is the plant’s tuber and has the characteristics of a root vegetable.
Jerusalem artichokes may look like ugly potatoes but are nutritional powerhouses with a potassium and iron kick. They also contain a prebiotic soluble fiber, which is fantastic for gut health.
Use Jerusalem artichokes when you want the texture of artichokes. You can use this tuber raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews, and casseroles. However, you’ll find it sweet and nutty, reminiscent of potato.
Replace artichokes with the same amount of Jerusalem artichoke.
Chayote is a tasty and healthy substitute for artichoke hearts.
A type of gourd or squash from Mexico, chayote is categorized as a fruit but eaten like a vegetable. This pear-shaped, pale green vegetable has a mild flavor and a texture like zucchini or jicama.
Chayote is ideal for those following low-carb and low-calorie diets. It is a healthy choice of summer squash, full of potassium, calcium, folates, vitamin C, and fiber and boosts the immune system.
This squash has a similar texture to artichoke hearts but is rather bland. Replace artichoke hearts with raw chayote in salads, or add steamed cubes to soups and casseroles.
More versatile than artichoke hearts, chayote can be roasted, boiled, and mashed like other squash. Replace artichoke hearts with equal amounts of chayote.
Another suitable substitute for artichoke hearts is bamboo shoots.
Bamboo shoots are the edible bamboo plant’s young sprouts and are very popular in Asian cuisine.
Although you can trim and eat them fresh, they are bitter and contain toxic compounds if eaten raw. Most bamboo shoots are available canned or dried.
This vegetable is low in calories and exceptionally high in copper and vitamin B. They also provide a hearty amount of fiber.
Use canned bamboo shoots as a textural replacement for artichoke hearts. With their mild, herbaceousness, poached bamboo shoots can substitute for artichoke hearts in salads and as a topping.
Bamboo shoots take on the flavoring of the dish, so you can add them to spicy soups and stir-fries. Replace artichoke hearts with similar amounts of bamboo shoots.
Asparagus or sparrow grass is a flavorful substitute for artichoke hearts.
Easily identified by its long, slender spears, asparagus is a spring vegetable with a short growing season. It is, therefore, a high-priced, luxury vegetable.
Fresh green, purple, and white asparagus (grown underground) are crisp and delectable. Canned asparagus is far mushier and milder. Asparagus has a herbaceous, earthy flavor, similar to green beans or broccoli.
Asparagus is a rich source of antioxidants, calcium, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, iron, and copper. It has mood-boosting qualities.
Canned asparagus is the best replacement for canned artichoke hearts. Use fresh asparagus instead of frozen artichoke hearts. Use asparagus in salads or antipasti dishes.
Asparagus needs brief and gentle cooking, such as a quick braise or roast in the oven. It’s not suitable for extensive stewing.
Replace artichoke hearts with asparagus 1:1, but be aware that your dish will taste different.
An underrated substitute for artichoke hearts is fennel, specifically the fennel bulb.
Fennel is related to the carrot, although the leaves, seeds, and bulbs are eaten rather than the root. The base of its long stalks forms the white bulb.
This vegetable is low in calories but high in potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.
Fennel has a characteristically aromatic licorice taste and hearty crunch, especially when raw. Cooked fennel bulbs are tender and sweeter.
It isn’t a suitable flavor replacement for artichoke hearts, but fennel is a delightful choice if you want to add zest to a dish.
Use fennel bulbs instead of artichoke hearts in salads, roasted, sautéed, or added to soups and pasta sauces. Fennel is far more potent than artichoke hearts, so use it sparingly.