If artichokes, celery, and salsify had a baby, it would be a cardoon. These uniquely delicious thistle-vegetables are extremely popular in French, Spanish, and Italian cuisine. Cardoons have a subtly bitter flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth tender texture that adds depth to dishes.
Whether you’re crazy or just curious about cardoons, you’ll love these 22 incredibly delicious cardoon recipes.
Cardoon Prep, Cleaning, and Overview
Cardoons, or sometimes cardone, are visually similar to celery. They’re a member of the choke family, alongside artichokes and sunchokes. Although they’re simple to clean and prep, their unfamiliarity in the US means they’re likely a complete mystery right now. No worries. Here’s a quick overview of cleaning and a few recipe-less ideas for cooking with cardoons.
Sicilian Cardoon Recipes
Cardoons are very popular in Sicilian dishes, traditionally served breaded, fried, marinated, or in salads. Check out all the ways you can cook cardoons Sicilian-style in these traditional, tasty recipes.
Fried Cardoon Fritters
You and your family will love these fabulous fried cardoon fritters. They make a delicious appetizer, breakfast, or even meal. With a pinch of cheese, a clove of garlic, and tender steamed cardoons, these fried fritters will blow you away.
Cardoons With Sicilian Olive Vinaigrette
These super-simple cardoons with a Sicilian olive vinaigrette make an excellent canape, appetizer, sophisticated snack, or even sandwich topping. Their crisp texture and strong salty taste will have you continually coming back for more until they’re all gone.
While these breaded cardoon strips take more than a few steps to make, they are well worth the work. The tender cardoon is dressed in crunchy bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper before being exquisitely fried to make this decadent winter treat.
Vegan Cardoon Recipes
Being rich in vitamins and minerals, cardoon is an excellent addition to any healthy vegan diet. Not only is it good for you, but it also tastes good, fully absorbing flavors in the delicious vegan recipes below.
Cardoon Moroccan Stew
This cardoon Moroccan stew is definitely tricky to make, taking some culinary prowess and heaps of ingredients. However, all of the chopping, sauteeing, and simmering will seem worth it once you are sipping on the warm and savory flavors of this perfect winter stew. With garlic, lemons, saffron, ginger, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, and of course, cardoon, what’s not to like?
Honeyed Cardoons with Pine Nuts and Thyme
You’ll love this sweet and nutty honeyed cardoons with pine nuts and thyme recipe. Featuring cardoons that are boiled until they became tender and then are sauteed with fresh thyme, pine nuts, a little dry sherry, and honey, this sweet, simple, and savory dish will have you coming back for bite after bite.
Spaghetti with Marinated Cardoons
I love how simple yet delicious this spaghetti with marinated cardoons recipe is. With boiled cardoon, fresh spaghetti, garlic, lemon, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and basil, it incorporates spicy and savory traditional Italian ingredients that will taste wonderful on a cold winter night.
Easy Cardoon Recipes
Because of the timely paring, cleaning, and cooking process that cardoons require to be edible, they aren’t the easiest vegetable to cook with. Nevertheless, below I have collected some of the most straightforward cardoon recipes you’ll find online.
Simple Baked Cardoons
If you’re looking for a unique roasted veggie side dish, this simple baked cardoons recipe will be right up your alley. It’s effortless; clean and prep your cardoons and then brush them with olive oil. Place them on a baking shoot and roast them for deliciously caramelized cardoon stalks.
While this cardoon gratin recipe may look complicated on the plate, it’s actually super simple to make, only requiring a handful of ingredients. All you need are cardoons, cheese, and basic pantry staples to prepare this dish.
Cardoon with Almond Sauce and Prawns
Pairing savory seafood with slightly bitter cardoon, this cardoon with almond sauce and prawns recipe is out of this world. The almond sauce adds a subtle nuttiness to this hearty dish that only takes eight ingredients and three steps to make.
Italian Cardoon Recipes
Cardoons are extremely popular in Italian cooking because of how well they complement classic Italian ingredients like pasta, cheese, tomatoes, and olive oil. Make an Italian feast for yourself with these delicious cardoon dishes.
One of my favorite winter dishes is risotto, so naturally, I’m a huge fan of this savory and creamy cardoon risotto. While this dish can be time-intensive, between cooking the cardoons and the risotto, it makes a superb Sunday supper that will have your whole family coming back for seconds.
Are you looking for a flavorful and festive holiday meal? Try making this cardoon flan. The subtly bitter flavor of cardoon and the citrusy twang of lemon juice shine through in this flan that is loaded up with decadent ingredients like cheese, butter, béchamel sauce, and breadcrumbs.
Northern Italian Anchovy-Garlic Dip
Speaking of the holidays, there is no better time to whip up this northern Italian anchovy-garlic dip. Guests will be amazed at this creamy, potent dip made with savory and salty ingredients like garlic, anchovies, and olive oil. Pair it with vegetables like cardoon stalks for a flavorful, healthy appetizer.
Roasted Cardoons with Tomato Sauce
This roasted cardoons with tomato sauce recipe makes the perfect warming winter meal. After the cardoons are properly prepped, they are smothered in tomato sauce and bread crumbs and then topped off with a salty anchovy and garlic-based sauce. This flavorful recipe definitely takes some cooking skills and time, but wow, is it good.
Hearty Cardoon Recipes
With its incredible ability to completely absorb the flavors it’s simmered in, cardoon pairs well with hearty meals bursting with flavor. You’ll love cardoon in the beautiful, warm winter recipes below!
Grilled Lamb and Cardoon
If you love savory, tender lamb, then this recipe for grilled lamb and cardoon is perfect for you. The lamb is marinated in an herbal infusion with garlic and rosemary before being grilled in a cast-iron skillet with subtly bitter but richly flavored cardoon. For the hearty meal it creates, this recipe hardly takes any work at all!
Moroccan Lamb or Beef Tagine With Cardoons
This intensely flavorful Moroccan lamb or beef tagine with cardoons will melt in your mouth and blow your mind. Cardoon and meat are stewed in a delicious sauce of ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, and preserved lemon resulting in a tangy, peppery Moroccan dish.
Fried Cardoon Recipes
One of the most popular ways to prepare cardoon is by frying it, and it’s no wonder why. The tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture of cardoon tastes heavenly when covered in a crispy, crunchy, buttery coating.
This fried cardoons recipe is as simple as it gets: some chopped cardoon stalks coated in flour and oil, perfectly fried, and topped with sharp parmesan cheese. Introduce this Italian classic to your family as a side dish or appetizer this winter to make them fall in love with fried cardoons.
Spicy Fried Cardoons
Ramping the flavor up a bit, these spicy fried cardoons are poached in sherry vinegar, chili flakes, and garlic before being coated in cheese, breadcrumbs, and thyme and fried to golden-brown perfection. These flavorful cardoons have a spectacular crunch and a tasty tender interior.
Roman-Style Fried Cardoons
Sticking strictly to a traditional Italian fried cardoon recipe, these Roman-style fried cardoons are simultaneously simple and bursting with flavor. The subtly bitter flavor of the cardoons is present yet masked by the decadent bread crumb coating and a citrusy squirt of lemon that tops them off when they are done.
Lemony Cardoon Fritters
Cardoon and lemon work well together, with the strong sour taste of citrus cutting the bitterness of the cardoon. They are delicious together in this hearty cardoon fritters recipe, which incorporates egg, parmesan cheese, garlic, and parsley into these savory patties, which are then fried until they are golden brown. Yum!
Cardoon Soup Recipes
Because cardoon is so good at taking on flavors and has a soft, tender texture when stewed, it’s a great soup ingredient. You’ll see how delicious cardoon is in soups in these savory, warm soup recipes.
Zuppa Di Cardi
This classic Italian Zuppa di cardi featured cardoons gently sauteed in butter and then simmered in a vegetable broth with salt and pepper. It’s super simple to make, even for beginner chefs, and has a subtle, enjoyable flavor.
Vegetable Stew with Shrimp
Perfect for veggie and seafood lovers alike, this vegetable stew with shrimp is an excellent winter meal that’s actually relatively easy to prepare. With green beans, peas, cardoons, mushrooms, and shrimp, this savory seafood stew incorporates some of the best quick-cooking vegetables.
Creamy Cardoon Soup
There’s nothing like a creamy soup in the wintertime after a long cold day. That’s why I’m particularly fond of this delicious creamy cardoon soup. With hints of citrus, slightly bitter cardoons, and lots of cream, this subtly flavored soup is sure to delight.
Whether you were looking for decadent fried cardoon appetizers or healthy vegan cardoon dishes, this list had a recipe for you. Pair any of these recipes with other wonderful winter veggies for some genuinely unforgettable meals this season.
Comment below with your favorite recipe or any cardoon cooking questions. As always, if you found this list inspiring, be sure to share it!