Cardoons Salad Recipe from Italy - Delicious and Healthy

Cardoons Salad

Cardoons Salad Recipe from Italy - Delicious and Healthy
Region / culture: Italy | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 4


Cardoons Salad
Cardoons Salad

Cardoons are a unique and delicious vegetable that are often overlooked in the culinary world. This Cardoons Salad recipe is a great way to introduce this versatile ingredient into your cooking repertoire.


Cardoons have been enjoyed in Mediterranean cuisine for centuries. They are a close relative of the artichoke and have a similar flavor profile. This recipe showcases the delicate and slightly bitter taste of cardoons in a refreshing salad.


How to prepare

Preparing the Cardoons

  1. When preparing cardoons for cooking, wear utility gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  2. Prepare a large bowl with enough water to soak the cardoons after they are trimmed. Add 1 full tablespoon of salt and the juice of a lemon to prevent discoloration.
  3. Cut and discard about 1 inch from the top and trim the base far up enough so that the stalks can be easily separated.
  4. Using a potato peeler, remove the strings from the stalks. Cut cardoons into 2-inch pieces and place them in the basin with the acidulated and salted water.
  5. Drain and rinse the cardoons.
  6. Place them in a large pot. Add 1.5 tbsp of salt and cover with cold water, ensuring it is 2 inches above the cardoons. Bring to a boil.
  7. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered.
  8. After 45 minutes, check if they are tender. If not, cook for an additional 15 minutes to half an hour until they are ready.
  9. Place the cardoons in a colander to drain and cool.
  10. Shake a few times to eliminate excess water.

Preparing the Salad

  1. Blend together olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Arrange the cardoons in a serving dish and taste for salt. Add if needed.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the cardoons.
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve at room temperature.


  • Add some chopped olives or capers for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Top the salad with some crumbled feta cheese for a creamy touch.
  • Mix in some cherry tomatoes for a pop of color.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Wear gloves when handling cardoons to avoid staining your hands.

- Soaking the cardoons in salted water with lemon juice helps prevent discoloration.

- Be sure to cook the cardoons until they are tender to ensure a pleasant texture in the salad.

Serving Suggestions

This Cardoons Salad can be served as a side dish or as a light main course. Pair it with grilled chicken or fish for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key to this recipe is properly preparing and cooking the cardoons until they are tender. Be sure to follow the steps outlined in the recipe for the best results.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you can't find cardoons, you can substitute with artichoke hearts for a similar flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the cardoons ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the salad.

Presentation Ideas

Serve this Cardoons Salad on a bed of fresh greens for a beautiful presentation. Garnish with additional parsley for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs well with a crisp white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of this Cardoons Salad contains approximately 120 calories.


Each serving of this Cardoons Salad contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates.


This salad is rich in heart-healthy fats, with each serving providing about 8 grams of fat.


Cardoons are a good source of plant-based protein, with each serving of this salad containing around 2 grams of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Cardoons are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.


This recipe is free of common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten.


Overall, this Cardoons Salad is a nutritious and flavorful dish that is perfect for a light and refreshing meal.


This Cardoons Salad is a unique and flavorful dish that is sure to impress your family and friends. With its delicate taste and nutritious ingredients, it is a perfect addition to any meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the excitement that washed over me when I first saw this recipe for Cardoons Salad in an old, tattered cookbook that belonged to my great-grandmother. The delicate, feathery leaves of the cardoon plant and the simple yet elegant dressing of olive oil and vinegar intrigued me. It was a recipe unlike any I had ever seen before, and I knew I had to learn how to make it.

I asked my great-grandmother about the recipe, and she told me that it was a traditional dish from her homeland in Italy. She explained that cardoons were a type of thistle that grew wild in the countryside, and that they had a unique flavor that was both bitter and slightly sweet. She showed me how to prepare the cardoons by peeling away the tough outer layers and blanching them in boiling water to remove some of the bitterness.

As she worked, she shared stories of her own childhood spent foraging for cardoons in the fields with her siblings. She told me about the simple meals they would make with the wild plants, using whatever ingredients they had on hand to create delicious dishes that satisfied their hunger and warmed their hearts.

I listened intently, soaking up every word and every gesture as she demonstrated how to cook the cardoons until they were tender and ready to be dressed with the tangy vinaigrette. She showed me how to mix the olive oil and vinegar together with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper, tasting and adjusting the flavors until they were just right.

I watched as she arranged the cardoons on a platter, drizzling the dressing over the top and garnishing with fresh parsley and chopped walnuts. The colors and textures of the dish were beautiful, and I could hardly wait to take my first bite.

When I finally did, I was transported back in time to my great-grandmother's childhood, to the fields of wild cardoons and the laughter of her siblings as they gathered around the table to share a meal. The flavors of the dish were unlike anything I had ever tasted before – bitter and sweet, tangy and earthy all at once.

From that moment on, Cardoons Salad became a staple in my own kitchen. I made it for family gatherings and special occasions, sharing the recipe with friends who were curious about the unique dish. Each time I prepared it, I thought of my great-grandmother and the love and tradition that she had passed down to me through this simple yet delicious recipe.

Over the years, I have made some tweaks and adjustments to the original recipe, adding my own twist with the addition of roasted red peppers or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. But the heart of the dish remains the same – the delicate, feathery leaves of the cardoon plant dressed in a tangy vinaigrette that brings out the natural flavors of the wild thistle.

I am grateful to my great-grandmother for introducing me to Cardoons Salad and for sharing her stories and traditions with me. It is a recipe that has become a part of my own family's history, a link to the past that connects us to our roots and reminds us of the simple pleasures of good food and good company.

As I sit down to enjoy a plate of Cardoons Salad with my loved ones, I can't help but smile and think of my great-grandmother and the legacy she has left behind. In this dish, I taste the essence of my family's heritage and the love that has been passed down through generations. And for that, I am forever grateful.


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