Artichokes make a fun food for kids, because not only are they a vegetable, but they’re an activity too! It can take some modeling and practice to figure out how to properly eat artichoke leaves, so artichoke hearts make a great substitute for a baby who is still learning. Artichokes are great by themselves, but can also be used in dips and spreads or as an addition to a pizza or pasta. These air fryer artichoke hearts are a great option for kids who aren’t ready to try the leaves by themselves.
The part of the artichoke that we actually eat is the flower buds, before they come into full bloom (1).
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Make sure to cook artichoke so that it is very soft when offering to a baby. You can also make an artichoke dip or the air fryer artichoke hearts below. Older kids may enjoy eating the leaves, but will need some instruction. Offer a variety of dips to make it more fun!
Artichokes are a good source of folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain iron and vitamin C which are crucial for young kids.
Look for artichokes that are tightly closed. Artichokes get lighter as they get older, so look for ones that seem heavier. You can rub the leaves to see if they squeak as well.
Check labels as the amount of salt added can vary by brand. Ideally, lower sodium options are preferred, but may be harder to find.
You should store your artichoke in the refrigerator for them to last the longest. As with most produce, it’s best to wash the artichoke right before cooking.
To prevent artichokes from turning brown, you can cook them in water with vinegar or lemon juice. The acidity helps to slow enzymatic browning. The easiest way to prepare an artichoke is to remove the stem and then simmer for 15-30 minutes or steam for 30-40 minutes. There’s no need to season, but you can use dips such as a vinaigrette, hollandaise, butter, mayonnaise, aioli, or lemon juice when eating.
Air Fryer Artichoke Hearts
- 1 air fryer
- 1 can artichoke hearts (quartered)
- ¼ cup butter (melted)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- Mix melted butter and garlic powder in one bowl.
- In another bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
- Dip artichoke hearts into the butter mixture then into the cheese mixture and place in the air fryer.
- Air fry at 375° for 15 minutes (or bake in an oven at 400° for about 18 minutes).
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.