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An odd looking food that is versatile and delicious
Odd Looking Food
Belles Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Caper Dip are nutritious and low-calorie. - photo by Brenda Stanley

If vegetables aren’t part of your normal meal plan or if they consist only of corn and potatoes, then you probably haven’t expanded your veggie palate to artichokes.

This odd-looking vegetable is easy to prepare and has a mellow nutty taste that can be served with just about anything.
To eat it, you pull off the leaves and scrape off the very bottom of the leaf with your teeth. The heart of the artichoke is the prize. It is the delicious finish and well worth the work to get to it. The other wonderful thing about artichokes is their versatility. They can be seasoned with just about any savory flavor. They are also high in vitamins and low in calories, and because they take some time to eat, you feel like you’ve eaten a lot more than you actually have!

Belle’s Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Caper Dip
2 large artichokes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons mesquite seasoning (You can also use lemon pepper, garlic salt or whatever else sounds good!)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons capers, slightly mashed
Trim the stems of the artichokes and cut off the top 1 inch of the tops. Place the artichokes stem side down in 4 inches of boiling salted water. Boil for 25 minutes. Remove and drain.

Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise. Scoop out the small amount of very fine hair-like leaves in the very center and discard. Brush each artichoke face with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Place them face up under broiler for about 2 minutes or until slightly charred. Or put on the grill.

Mix the lemon juice, mayonnaise and capers in a small bowl. To eat, pull off the leaves and dip in the dressing.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at