Sunchokes are slightly sweeter than potatoes, a little nutty, and rather crispy.
Last spring, I tried sunchokes for the first time. Ever since, I’ve loved serving them up every now and then as a special, nutritious side dish.
These delicious tubers feed the good bacteria in your stomach. Essentially, they’re like a gourmet feast for the good bacteria.
In previous posts, John and I have talked a lot about the importance of your good gut bacteria.
Not only are good gut bacteria important for digestion but they also protect you from pathogenic bacteria, aid your immune system, break down some carbohydrates providing energy for your cells, synthesize vitamins, and optimize your gut brain access.
Those are pretty important guys hanging out in our digestive tract. In order to keep them happy, we have to feed them a type of food called prebiotics.
This is an indigestible water-soluble fiber found in foods like onions, garlic, leeks, and especially sunchokes.
A recent study has shown that prebiotics may also help good bacteria serve us in another way. Chronic stress can severely disrupt gut microbiota, causing insomnia and disrupted sleep-wake cycles. This study shows that prebiotics might help to improve sleep in the face of stress.
Ready to try sunchokes? Here are some facts about them you should know.
What is a sunchoke?
This lumpy tuber is actually a variety of sunflower. The Italian word for sunflower is girasole which sounds like Jerusalem. Hence, sunchokes are often called “Jerusalem artichokes” too.
Are sunchokes good for you?
You bet. These Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes are actually prebiotics that feed our gut flora. They are soluble fiber, and they keep our gut flora happy feeding the good bacteria and helping it to thrive and grow.
It’s a good idea to start with small amounts, though, so your system can get used to these powerful babies. Be sure to listen to what your body tells you very carefully. It is completely normal to get some gas and bloating after eating them. In fact, John tolerates them better than I do.
Some people definitely cannot tolerate them at all. But if you can tolerate them, they are a wonderful food to add in small amounts to your diet.
How do you make them?
They are so easy to make. Seriously. First, you have to peel them. Because they’re so knobby, this can be a little tricky. If you can find larger round ones, they are easier to peel.
Then just cook them much like potatoes. You can roast them, puree them for a soup, or braise them in a skillet as I have today. They’re slightly sweeter than potatoes, a little nutty, and rather crispy.
Here’s my favorite way to cook them.
- Sunchokes – Scrub, peel and slice them crosswise into even 1/4- inch rounds for uniform cooking.
- Bacon – Bacon adds a savory, smoky crunch and complements the sunchokes’ natural flavors.
And the remaining ingredients are:
- Butter and oil: Butter adds richness and flavor, while the oil prevents the butter from burning while sautéing. You can go with whichever oil you prefer. We’ll add more butter towards the end of cooking.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic infuses aromatic flavor into the dish.
- Salt and pepper: These everyday seasonings enhance the tastes.
- Lemon: We’ll add a splash of lemon. Bottled lemon juice can be used as a substitute if you don’t have a fresh lemon.
*Free printable recipe card is available at the end of the post.
First, cook bacon and drain on a paper towel. You can cook your bacon in the oven with no mess and no fuss.
Then heat some oil and butter in a large skillet. Add your sliced sunchokes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until slightly golden.
Then add sliced garlic, more butter, scallions, and lemon juice. Then cover and simmer for twenty minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking for two more minutes until the slices are a little crisp.
Finally, toss with your chopped bacon and garnish with scallions.
And that’s it!
Serve with any dish traditionally served with potatoes for example:
Pro tips and recipe notes
What other herbs work well with sunchokes? Common choices include rosemary and thyme for enhanced flavor. Or add a dash of cayenne pepper for heat.
Can I store leftover sunchokes, and how do I reheat them? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheat them on the stovetop for a few minutes.
Have you ever tried sunchokes?
If you have any questions, please reach out to me in the comments or shoot me an email, and I’ll respond ASAP!
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Sunchokes Are the Nutritious Vegetable You're Probably Not Eating
- 4 ounces bacon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil EVOO
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 pound sunchokes peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 teaspoons juice from a lemon
- 2 scallions sliced
- Cook the bacon, in a large skillet, drain on a paper towel and set aside.4 ounces bacon
- Wipe out the skillet. Then melt 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over a medium heat. Add sunchokes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until slightly golden.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 pound sunchokes, salt, pepper
- Then add garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, scallions, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.2 cloves garlic
- Uncover and continue cooking for 2 more minutes until the slices are a little crisp.
- Toss with chopped bacon and garnish with scallions.
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