Sooo let’s get back to food. I know we got a little sidetracked this week with talk of better skin care, coconut oil, and Mila but I’m returning to the nitty gritty Believe it or not, we actually have been eating (real, good, new) food around here!

But since it’s been hot as freaking hell this summer, I have little to no motivation to do much of anything, including cook. Sad when that happens, huh? We’ve been doing a lot of simple grilled menus – whatever protein and veggies we can scrounge together.

My favorite way to grill veggies in a grill basket and sometimes simple is perfectly satisfying. Other times, a little more oomph is a good thing. Rather than stick to the “same old” for Ben’s birthday feast, I threw in some artichokes with our stand-by grilled zucchini and summer squash, then tossed the hot, charred veggies with a cilantro-pistachio pesto. The dish was raved about that day… and addicting as leftovers the next day for breakfast, alongside a fried egg (is there anything that isn’t better with an egg?) And, it was too good not to make again.

Let’s talk about what kind of artichokes to use. My first preference would be to use fresh baby artichokes – they take a little longer to prep then simply opening a can, but are so worth it. Of course, since I only ever see them in the grocery store about twice a year, that choice isn’t gonna happen too often.

So in reality, my first choice is usually frozen artichokes. There are a few reasons I prefer frozen artichokes to canned ones:

  • Canned artichokes contain a lot of sodium, frozen ones do not
  • By choosing frozen, we’re avoiding BPA from the can
  • Frozen artichokes just look fresher and hold their shape much better

I can always find them at Trader Joe’s or my regular supermarket (Birdseye makes them)… except, of course, when I’ve already made a meal plan and absolutely, 100% need them.

You don’t even want to know about the hissy fit that ensued when both TJ’s and the supermarket were out, for days in a row.

I sucked it up and chose canned. Pretty sure they won’t kill me

Once you’ve got your artichokes, the rest comes together in a pinch. And you’ll be 100% excited about grilled veggies all over again

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Grilled Zucchini and Artichokes with Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto

Yield: 4-6 servings

A simple and healthy way to dress up grilled vegetables.

Ingredients:

Pesto
1 1/2 cups (packed) cilantro (70gm)
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup shelled, toasted pistachios
juice + zest from 1/2 of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Vegetables
2 medium zucchini, about 1lb total
2 medium summer squash, about 1lb total
2 cans of artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered OR 1 12oz package frozen artichoke heart quarters

Directions:

Combine the cilantro, garlic and pistachios in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining pesto ingredients and process until well-combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Dice the zucchini and summer squash into large chunks and combine with the artihokes in a grill basket. Mist vegetables with cooking spray and toss to coat.

Grill the vegetables, covered, for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred in spots. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the pesto. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 192.9
Total Fat 10.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 533.1 mg
Potassium 661.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 6.2 g
Protein 6.5 g

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com