Laura says, "I adore artichokes. I have loved ‘em since I was a little girl and whenever I see beautiful varieties in my marketplace, I cannot resist them. This recipe is festive and filling with cashews and sunflower seeds showcased in a flavorful stuffing. I like to serve this colorful dish as a first course, or they do double duty as a luncheon entrée."
Recipe by Laura Theodore, from JazzyVegetarian's Deliciously Vegan. Published by Scribe Publishing, ©2018, reprinted by permission.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the canned tomatoes with juice over the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch or similar sized casserole dish. Sprinkle the minced garlic evenly over the tomatoes.
Put the bread, cashews, sunflower seeds, basil, Italian seasoning and sea salt into a blender or food processor and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add the olive
oil and stir to combine. Add the fresh tomatoes and gently stir, until thoroughly combined.
Arrange the artichoke halves, cut-side up, on top of the tomatoes and garlic in the prepared casserole dish. Stuff each cavity with one-eighth of the cashew/sunflower seed mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes, or until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
To serve, put some of the tomato sauce from the bottom of the casserole dish on each of eight individual serving plates and top it with 1 stuffed artichoke half (see note). Serve warm or cover,
refrigerate and serve cold.
• To trim and clean the artichokes, start by cutting off the top 1/2 to 1 inch of each artichoke to remove the spiky tips. Cut off any remaining spiky tips with kitchen shears. Trim away the tough edges of the stem. Rinse each artichoke under cold running water, spreading the leaves
to rinse out any residual dirt or sand.
• To cook the artichokes, put 3 to 4 inches of water in a deep saucepan large enough to hold all the artichokes snugly so they remain upright as they cook. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, if using. Add the artichokes, making certain they are standing partially upright. Cover and bring to a boil.
Cook the artichokes until crisp tender, about 20 minutes. They are done when an outer leaf peels off easily. Remove the artichokes from the pan using tongs and arrange them upside down on a rack set over a large dinner plate to drain and cool.
• Once the artichokes are cooked and cooled, you can remove the “choke.” Begin by cutting each artichoke in half, vertically. Scoop out the fuzzy center choke with a grapefruit spoon or teaspoon. If you are cooking the artichokes ahead of time, wrap the artichokes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day before preparing this recipe.
• If you are serving this as a luncheon entrée, serve 2 artichoke halves per person.