AIP Artichoke Dip with Garlic Scapes
This dairy-free artichoke dip is like a cross between tapenade and hummus, but made primarily of artichoke hearts. Flecked with fresh herbs, garlic scapes (or regular garlic), lemon zest, and briny green olives, you'll love this on your favorite crunchy crackers or veggie sticks. Best of all, it comes together in less than 20 minutes.
NOTE: Don't worry if you don't have garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are seasonal, not commonly available, and not required for this recipe. If you happen to have garlic scapes, this is a wonderful way to use them! If not, no worries. Just substitute regular garlic (scroll down for substitution instructions).
This healthy Artichoke Dip happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, low-carb, vegan, and AIP compliant. It's a delightful hors d'oeuvre or charcuterie board option that all your guests can enjoy, even if they have these common dietary restrictions.
Artichokes happen to be not only delicious but a powerful healing food for Thyroid Thrivers! We'll cover the health benefits in detail in the post below, along with info on garlic scapes and my favorite gluten-free, Paleo, and AIP cracker options.
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Are Artichokes Thyroid-healthy?
Artichokes are one of the foods highest in antioxidants. They're nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and low in calories. But what makes artichokes shine is that they support the liver in several unique ways.
It's especially important to pay attention to our liver health if we suffer from thyroid issues. The liver is our body's main detoxification plant, but it also plays a big role in our overall thyroid function. Up to 60% of thyroid hormone conversion takes place in the liver. The liver is also responsible for detoxifying thyroid-suppressive hormones like estrogen and cortisol.
In short, if you want a healthy thyroid, you need a healthy liver!
Artichoke is an excellent detoxifier of the liver and gallbladder. Artichokes promote bile flow, reduce triglycerides, bring blood to the liver, and support liver regeneration. They can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Two special antioxidants found in artichokes, cynarin and silymarin, are credited with some of these big benefits to liver health. Those amazing antioxidants help protect the liver from damage and help generate new liver tissue. They prevent the buildup of fat and reduce inflammation in the liver, both of which can impair liver function.
Artichoke leaf and silymarin are commonly found in liver support supplements, but simply eating artichokes stimulates bile production, which helps flush toxins from the liver.
On the Menu: Steamed Artichokes with Garlic, Lemon & Fennel Aioli
An added benefit for Thyroid Thrivers is that artichokes help stimulate and promote digestion. Poor digestion, low stomach acid, slow gut motility, constipation, and other digestive issues are common implications of thyroid disease.
Artichokes stimulate our digestive juices, like bile, and can help us digest and absorb more nutrients from our food. Artichokes also help with digestion due to their high fiber content (7 grams per serving), which supports healthy gut flora, regularity, and digestion.
Another Recipe Featuring Artichokes: Loaded Mediterranean Salmon
With so many powerful healing and health-promoting properties, artichokes are one of the BEST thyroid-healthy foods around. I recently featured them in an episode of the Thyroid-healthy Bites Podcast: Top 5 Detoxifying Foods for Thyroid Thrivers.
- Listen to this episode of Thyroid-healthy Bites
- Listen/Subscribe to the Thyroid-healthy Bites Podcast
What are Garlic Scapes?
The inspiration for this dip came from my garden. I love to grow garlic, and one of the bonuses of the garlic growing process is garlic scapes!
NOTE: As mentioned above, garlic scapes are not required for this recipe, so don't let that scare you off. You can easily substitute regular garlic.
Garlic scapes are the tender shoots that sprout from the garlic stem and if left alone, will eventually grow into a flower. In order to grow bigger garlic bulbs, it's necessary to remove the scape and not allow the plant to flower.
Freshly harvested garlic scapes.
Lucky for us, garlic scapes are absolutely delicious. Scapes can vary quite a bit in terms of fiery-garlic heat, but when harvested young, they often have a sweet, mild garlic flavor with a hint of green onion.
I realize most of us aren't growing our own garlic, but if you have a local farmers' market, garlic scapes are a common and popular curiosity found there during mid-summer.
How to Use Garlic Scapes
The sweet and delicate garlic flavor of scapes is easy to love and easy to cook with. My annual garlic scape harvest is one of my favorite culinary windfalls.
To use garlic scapes, you need to snap off the flower bud end. The rest of the tender shoot can be chopped up and added to any dish that is complemented by garlic, either cooked or in raw form. I love to toss them into pesto, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, stir-frys, hummus, steamed clams, or a batch of gluten-free/Paleo/AIP pasta.
Before cooking with garlic scapes, snap off the flower bud end (pictured right).
Like garlic cloves, raw garlic scapes add flavor with more of a pronounced bite, while sauteeing them will mellow the fire. Sauteeing your scapes before adding them to a recipe can be helpful if you get an especially spicy batch of scapes.
To test, simply take a small bite of the raw scapes, and you'll get a clear idea of how strong they are.
Some garlic scapes are so sweet and mild that they can be sauteed and eaten straight up, like asparagus or green beans. While this can be delicious, be aware that garlic scapes contain some of the same medicinal cleansing qualities that garlic does. Sitting down to a bowl of garlic scapes for dinner could result in unwanted digestive consequences and several trips to the bathroom. As with most medicines, the devil is in the dosage, so just be mindful of how much you eat in one sitting.
To substitute regular garlic for garlic scapes, many online sources say to use half the amount of garlic cloves for garlic scapes. As a chef, I disagree. In most recipes, half the amount of garlic cloves would be far too strong and would totally overpower the other flavors, especially when used raw.
My rule of thumb: Substitute 4 to 6 garlic scapes for 1 clove of garlic.
This is the calculation I used for the Artichoke Dip recipe (below). This dip is well balanced and delicious with just one hefty clove of minced garlic-- not 2 tablespoons (whoa!) which would totally overpower the delicate flavor of the artichokes.
Remember: You can always add more garlic, but you can't take it out.
The beauty of having a batch of garlic scapes to cook with is that they go well with anything that garlic goes well with. There are so many recipes you can add them to. If you get your hands on some, have fun, play around, and experiment!
Try adding garlic scapes to these recipes:
- Steamed Artichokes with Garlic, Lemon & Fennel Aioli
- Dairy-free Lemon Basil Pesto
- Dairy-free Arugula Lemon Pesto
- Chive Potato Salad
- Lemon Chicken Broccoli Sheet Pan Meal
- Chicken and Lamb Pesto Meatloaf
- Dairy-free Mashed Potatoes
- Zucchini Basil Breakfast Soup
- Zucchini Pappardelle with Mushrooms
What to Serve With This Artichoke Dip
Veggie sticks or crackers make the perfect accompaniment to this healthy Artichoke Dip. As pictured, it was wonderful with sliced zucchini, and if you want to stick with veggies, it would work with any of these options:
- Zucchini slices
- Carrot sticks
- Snap peas
- Endive leaves
Crunchy crackers are another well-loved and obvious choice, but gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, and AIP cracker options might not be so obvious for those of us who are new to these dietary restrictions.
Below are some of my favorite cracker recommendations in gluten-free, Paleo, and AIP categories. Note that all AIP options are also Paleo and gluten-free. Along the same lines, all AIP and Paleo options are also gluten-free.
- Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers
- Simple Mills Seed Flour Crackers
- Hu Grain-free Crackers
- Flackers Flax Seed Crackers
AIP Cracker (or cracker-like) Options:
- Barnana Organic Plantain Chips
- Artisan Tropic Cassava Chips
- Rhythm Dehydrated Beet Chips
- Sweet Potato Awesome Dehydrated Sweet Potato Chips - 10% OFF CODE: AWESOMESAUCE
Now that you've got some cracker options that work for your current dietary needs, let's take a look at some of the thyroid-healthy ingredients in this recipe...
Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights
- Artichokes are an excellent detoxifier of the liver and gallbladder. Artichokes promote bile flow, reduce triglycerides, bring blood to the liver, and support regeneration.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is considered one of the world’s healthiest fats. Some of its many scientifically-proven health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, high antioxidants, and reduced risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
- Garlic or Garlic Scapes have many powerful healing properties, which can aid or alleviate some of the symptoms of thyroid conditions such as inflammation, cardiovascular issues, decreased immunity, and increased infection. It can also support the liver in its detoxification efforts.
- Lemons are a very good source of vitamin C, with one ounce providing 36% DV. A study recently shared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism stated, “In patients with hypothyroidism and gastrointestinal pathology, vitamin C improves the abnormalities in serum free T4, T3, and TSH concentrations.”
If you're anything like me, when I started down the path of thyroid-healthy eating I had questions-- lots of them. What I didn't have was a step-by-step system, to get me where I wanted to go. I wasted a lot of time piecing together bits of information about what to eat, what to avoid, and HOW to make thyroid-healthy dietary changes. That’s why I created the Thyroid-healthy Meal Plan Kickstart. Ready to take YOUR healing journey farther, FASTER? Let’s do it. Learn more HERE.