Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, grow underground as roots do, and can be eaten many ways: sliced, roasted, steamed, puréed, mashed…we could go on and on! They are sweet, earthy and nutty. Some say their flavor is not unlike that of an artichoke, but that’s not how they got their name (something to research in your spare time).
Sunchokes are an excellent alternative or substitute for potatoes because they’re lower in starch and contain inulin, a carbohydrate our bodies can’t digest. This makes them effective for controlling blood sugar, though we should warn you that inulin can also cause some stomachs to rumble if they’re sensitive to inulin, so it is best to ease into sunchokes if you’ve never had them before. They’re also gluten-free!
Here are a few serving suggestions for sunchokes, including a purée, as part of a charcuterie spread and also roasted sunchokes with caramelized shallots and baby sweet peppers.
Roasted Sunchokes with Caramelized Shallots and Baby Sweet Peppers
Roasting sunchokes is a nice alternative to potatoes, if you’re looking to cut the starch and carb count. Piling the roasted sunchokes that are mixed together with the caramelized veggies, on a plate and finishing them with some of our extra virgin olive oil is a fantastic starter dish or side dinner dish. Serves 4 to 6.
What you need:
- About 4 to 5 sunchokes, rinsed, scrubbed and dried well
- 3 Tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as the 2022 Italian Nocellara or Greek Kalamata Reserve, plus more for drizzling
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 large shallot
- 4 sweet baby peppers
- Half a fresh lemon
Directions: Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the sunchokes into 2″ chunks. Toss them with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes (shake the pan half way through) or until sunchokes are fork tender and nicely browned.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shallots and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, add in the roasted sunchokes and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are caramelized and the peppers are tender and slightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. If necessary, add a tablespoon or so of water to the pan to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan while stirring.
To plate: Pile the sunchoke mixture on a serving plate. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste, and finish the dish with a drizzle of olive oil.
This goes beautifully underneath proteins, such as pan-seared salmon. It comes together easily, is full of flavor, low in carbs and helps keep blood sugar from spiking.
What you need:
- 3/4 lb. washed, scrubbed and peeled sunchokes
- A bowl of lemon water, about 4 cups of water and 2 tsp lemon juice (to keep the peeled sunchokes from browning, or oxidizing)
- 2 Tbsp half & half
- 2 Tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press Chiquitita extra virgin olive oil (the 2022 Portuguese crop of Chiquitita produced an olive oil that is so buttery and so rich, it’s perfect)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Steamer basket
- Large, lidded pot
- Food processor or blender
- pan-seared salmon
- steamed or grilled asparagus
Directions: Chop peeled sunchokes into about 2-inch chunks, all equal in size. Add them to a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and allow to steam about 10 to 15 minutes or until fork-tender.
Transfer the steamed sunchokes to a food processor or blender. Add in the half & half. With the blade running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sunchokes on Charcuterie
Watch this video for tips: