By special request from some fine friends on Instagram, here is my belated post for National Spinach Day (also a welcoming in of artichoke season) – complete with raw/vegan recipes for two lovely dishes!

For anyone who has ever wondered if it’s possible to eat artichokes raw, the answer is YES! This baby artichoke was tasty inside and out, so I filled some of the outer leaves with the dip (see instructions below).

Paired with a very simple side of Aginara Salata, fresh organically grown avocado from Rick’s Seasonal Produce, local red bell pepper, and freshly sliced green onion from my very own garden.

Aginara Salata is an exceptionally easy Greek formulation for fresh (raw) artichoke salad which requires relatively few ingredients:

• 1 medium (or 2 baby) artichoke(s)
• Chopped tomato
• Chopped cucumber
• Shredded Romaine lettuce
• Sliced green onion
• Raw organic olives
• Juice from 1 or 2 fresh organic lemons
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

and is quickly prepared as follows:

1. Whisk oil and juice together in bowl.
2. Season dressing with salt and a bit of cayenne (or preferred) pepper. 3. Break off outer leaves of artichoke(s) until only pale green remain.
4. Cut 1/2” off the top; trim dark-green parts around stem and heart.
5. Slice thinly and toss into dressing.
6. Add chopped tomato, cubed cucumber, shredded romaine, sliced green onion, and olives.
7. Mix thoroughly before serving.

Preparation of dip is really quite simple,
as it is essentially an artichoke & spinach infused variation of the Living Sunflower Ranch Dip on RawVeganista.com). After following instructions for making the thick version of the aforementioned recipe, simply add finely chopped inner sections (light green leaves) of artichoke, followed by chopped spinach (mine comes directly to our veganic food cooperative from a local, chemical-free farm – picked fresh on the very same day of purchase). These may also be tossed into a food processor along with dip during the final spin, but be careful to avoid overprocessing (I love to enjoy big chunks of veggies in each savoury bite).

When finished, dip may be served in artichoke leaves as shown above (leaves may be eaten in precisely the same way as their cooked counterparts – the flavour is delicious, though texture slightly more chewy), topped with Aginara Salata, and garnished with fresh, organically grown avocado.