Dinner With My Family #8: Fried Rice with Artichoke Hearts

Each week, I’ll present a low-cost meal (or a meal that demonstrates a lot of options for cutting costs) that my family eats for dinner and enjoys. Many of the recipes will be vegan or vegetarian, with options to add other ingredients for non-vegetarians.

Artichoke hearts are one of my favorite foods on earth. Whenever I see fresh artichokes on sale at the grocery store, I buy several, then look for ways to use artichoke hearts in every dish I can think of.

What I usually do is take the artichokes home, remove the hearts, braise them, then save them and use them in dishes over the next day or two. I usually make a simple dish (like this one) when I’m actually braising the hearts, then use the rest in a more complicated dish the next day.

Here’s the simple dish, fried rice with artichoke hearts and garlic.

Finished

Next week, I’ll show you the somewhat more complicated dish, which is my favorite dish I’ve eaten in the last six months.

What You Need
Making enough fried rice with artichoke hearts and garlic for my whole family cost about $5, given the sale price of the artichokes. The artichokes were definitely the most expensive part.

What you’ll need is about a cup of rice per adult (and half a cup per child), a few artichokes, three or four cloves of minced garlic, some olive oil, some additional vegetable oil (preferably peanut oil), a bit of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. This will get you everything you need to make this meal, plus have some artichoke hearts left over.

The Night Before (or Early That Day)
This recipe roughly splits into two parts: braising the artichoke hearts and preparing the fried rice. The artichokes can be done a bit ahead of time, so we’ll discuss that first.

If you have whole artichokes, your first step will be to properly cut them up. This wonderful video shows how easy that process really is:

Don’t stress out too much over removing the “choke” – the fuzzy part in the middle of the artichoke. You want to remove it, but it’s not harmful if you don’t get every bit. It’s not poisonous or bad for you, it just isn’t that great to eat, like a pumpkin rind.

Before you get started cutting up your artichokes, get a bowl with about 1 cup of water in it and add half a cup of lemon juice to it. As you cut up the artichokes and remove the hearts, you’re going to want to get them in this lemon water as quickly as you can, because if you do not, the artichoke hearts will discolor and turn brown. That makes them look less appealing.

For example:

Artichoke

This is an artichoke heart that I’ve just finished cutting. In the minute it took me to get my camera, it had already discolored a bit.

What I usually do is I take a heart as depicted above, slice it into fourths, then slice each of those quarters into three or four slices. I then add those to the lemon water.

Once your artichoke hearts are ready, take two teaspoons of olive oil and put the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Wait until the oil is shimmering, then add a minced garlic clove to the oil, then add the artichoke hearts.

Cooking artichoke hearts

Stir the oil, artichoke, and garlic around a bit, then let it cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Lower the heat down to medium-low, add the remaining lemon water, then cover the pot and let this all cook together for fifteen to twenty minutes – until the hearts are tender and have a lemon-garlic taste to them.

You’re done! Remove the artichoke hearts and store them in the refrigerator for later use.

Preparing the Meal
Cook your rice according to the directions – it’ll vary some based on the type of rice you’re using.

When the rice is finished, add two teaspoons of peanut oil (or other vegetable oil) to a pot over medium heat. Wait until the oil begins to shimmer, then add the rice. Stir regularly and cook for twelve minutes, adding the artichoke hearts for the last two minutes. You can also add additional garlic with the artichoke hearts.

That’s it – you’re done. Remove from the heat and serve (preferably with soy sauce)!

Finished

Optional Ingredients
The base of this meal is fried rice. You can pretty much add anything to fried rice – chicken, shrimp, beef, water chestnuts, peppers, onions, whatever you like. Be sure to cook the meat thoroughly – don’t cook it in with the rice, although there’s nothing wrong with cooking the meat in a pot, then putting the rice in that same pot for the frying.

It’s simple, tasty, and pretty cheap. Those are all things I like in a meal.

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I love your Dinner with My Family recipes. I eat mostly vegetarian and vegan meals and it seems that many of them call for expensive, hard to find ingredients. All of your recipes use “regular” ingredients found in the grocery store and they are also easy to prepare. Thank you so much!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Boring. Trent, if you are ever in Madison WI, come over and I can show you how vegans really eat.

  3. Sara A. says:

    What happened to “Eat food, mostly vegetables”?

    Your meal plans are really heavy on carbohydrates. Which doesn’t mean that carbs are bad, but that it doesn’t seem to fit the ratios implied by “mostly vegetables.”

    I am a vegan now and have been vegetarian for 14 years and I have to say that carb heavy food is a common trap that new vegetarians fall into. Having been through that phase I can attest that it will very quickly burn you out.

    My $.02: Slowly increase the veggies in your meals and decrease the carbs and you will not notice the difference or feel less full.

  4. Cristina says:

    Haha! My husband jokes that I could start a cookbook of recipes that look like **** but are delicious. This looks like it would belong there. ;)

  5. Andrew says:

    Love artichoke hearts, love fried rice (although brown rice is better). Don’t love the photography–you really need better lighting!

  6. Teresa says:

    I have to question cooking rice an additional 12 minutes after it has already been cooked according to package directions. I don’t know, but I think the rice would be terribly overcooked.

  7. kelsey says:

    I’ve heard that fried rice works best with day-old rice (ie leftover rice that has dried out a bit in the fridge). If you’re already doing part of the recipe the night before, it’s easy enough to cook the rice then, as well.

  8. leslie says:

    I second the comment about the photography….you need better light or a better camera or something. The food always sounds good but looks gross…

  9. valleycat1 says:

    And maybe photoshop out the stray food bits & sharpen the focus while you’re at it. These photos have put me off fried rice for awhile.

  10. cv says:

    Braised artichoke hearts sound delicious. I’d probably throw in some other veggies – at least some sauteed onion, and probably some other things as well. Maybe some chopped spinach, wilted, or sauteed peppers, or some diced tomatoes if it were summer. I might sprinkle some raisins or pine nuts on it, too, or some other chopped nuts.

  11. done that says:

    No one in our house would ever eat an artichoke and leave the heart!

  12. Courtney20 says:

    @ Kelsey – YES. If you try to make fried rice with freshly cooked rice, you will more likely end up with mush – it is too moist to really ‘fry’. Day old rice is the minimum. I’ve made fried rice (the traditional kind, with egg, meat and vegetables) with rice as old as a week. You also probably don’t want to “stir regularly” because the more you stir, the more the rice breaks down – also mush. I toss to coat in the oil, spread it evenly in the pan and then leave it alone for several minutes at a time. Stir, spread, and repeat. You should only have to stir the rice maybe 3 or 4 times.

  13. Des says:

    @Sara A.

    I’ve never heard anyone suggest the “Eat food, mostly vegetables” thing. I have heard Michael Pollan’s suggestion to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” though. Grains are plants.

  14. Brittany says:

    Get over yourselves, grouchy camera people. Who cares what the food looks like if it tastes good?

    Also, cook one cup of rice per adult?! A serving size is 1/4 cup uncooked. I love carbs, but even I think that’s excessive.

  15. Nate says:

    I’ve never seen an artichoke heart look so unappetizing. The photographs make your blog look amateurish.

  16. Thea says:

    I like to “preserve” raw artichoke hearts in Italian dressing. They are excellent on salad and pizza. Just clean the artichoke down to the heart and soak them in water with at little lemon juice to prevent browing. When you have all of the clean hearts that you want, slice them into bite sized chunks, put them in a jar and pour Italian dressing over them, mix and refrigerate (dressing and all). They will be slightly pickled in a couple of hours but will still have a crunchy texture. I don’t know how long they will be good though- they never last that long in my house.

  17. deRuiter says:

    “…in every dish I can think of.” Awkward, don’t end sentence with “of.” A major point of making friend rice is that you use day old or older rice so that it’s dry. Chinese Restaurants use the leftover rice from the day before to make frind rice, so nothing goes to waste. Day old, dry rice cooks much better when making fried rice, you get that good consistancy, not wet mush.

  18. Gretchen says:

    Even on sale, how much were the artichokes?

    You keep saying you have a complete, balanced, nutrionist approved diet, but you eat an awful lot of carbs.

  19. Gretchen says:

    Read: unbalanced meals.

    And the others are right on fried rice cookery 101. Use old rice! Rice freezes.

  20. kjc says:

    The photos in this series are horrible.

    A part of presenting recipes – yes, even on a PF blog! – is to present the recipe in an appealing manner, both through language and imagery. Major FAIL on both counts.

    You can do much better, Trent, and it would require very little extra effort.

    -Grouchy Camera Person

  21. Janis says:

    Thanks for the video on how to cut the hearts from artichokes – one of those things that I’ve always wanted to learn to do, but never remembered to look for a tutorial.

  22. Bill says:

    You don’t eat the leaves? That is the best part.

  23. Adam P says:

    Just adding that anyone wanting to make this dish healthy should use brown rice, add diced carrots/spinach/onions/other veggies and don’t free pour the soy sauce to make it taste good. Soy sauce is the saltiest condiment going. Even “low sodium” soy sauce contains about 30% of the DRA.

  24. Meredith says:

    To echo it again, day-old rice is definitely the way to go to make this. A little bit of soy sauce is nice in this but you really don’t need a lot at all.

  25. Michele says:

    Trent- I buy frozen prepared artichoke hearts in bags dirt cheap in the freezer section of the grocery store. Then, they are readily available to add to anything, or to make a dip, or eggs sardu on the weekends!
    And- if you eat the hairy part of the fresh choke, no you won’t die, but it does make a lot of people projectile vomit. It’s really not good for you at all.

  26. jesse.anne.o says:

    Do you do anything with the leaves? I usually just boil ‘chokes because then you can eat the meat off the leaves and then finish with the heart and stem. It looks like a tasty recipe but I feel like not using the leaves are such a waste.

  27. Nicole says:

    Artichokes and fried rice seems like a really strange combination, but maybe that’s just me…I put mine over pasta.

  28. Enid says:

    Looks delicious! I’ve got to defend carbs, though. Ever since the Adkins diet got famous, they’ve been given a bad name. Veggies are carbs. Whole grains are carbs. Our bodies need carbs for energy. I love your accessible recipes and I also like the realistic photos. Real people’s kitchens have stray pieces of rice and non-photo-shopped meals. This is real everyday life, not the cooking channel.

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