Chestnut Artichoke Bites

Chestnuts have been cultivated and eaten for more than 6,000 years in China, and more than 3,000 years in Europe. In his book, Biotechnology of Fruit and Nut Crops, author Richard Litz, writes that the Greeks claimed chestnuts superior to almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts. In the 16th century, Italians referred to chestnuts a “grain that grows on a tree,” and they were survival food in mountain regions where little else would grow.

Chestnuts taste starchy, and they are satisfying. Their fiber content makes them a low glycemic index food too, one that raises blood sugar slowly.

When I was in college in NYC, I remember the chestnut vendors on street corners. You bought a paper cone of chestnuts, roasted, piping hot, and you had to peel them quickly so you didn’t burn your hands. Who knew we’d get already peeled chestnuts today that are so easy to eat and use in recipes?

about 12-14 oz marinated artichoke hearts  about 10 oz peeled tree-ripened chestnuts 
about 1 ½ lemons, sliced 3-4 cloves garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (skip if your artichoke hearts are already marinated in oil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan toss all ingredients together and then roast for a scant 10-15 minutes. If serving as an appetizer, serve with toothpicks. Isn’t that quick and easy!?!

You can turn this dish into so many variations. Add bite-sized pieces of roasted butternut squash or purple potatoes for a heartier dish. Spoon over a cooked grain to make a wonderful, vegan entrée. Use to garnish a salad, or roast together with veggies like cauliflower or broccoli florets. Or stir in tender greens like spinach as you remove the pan from the oven. Try this with chickpeas and fennel. Etc.!

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