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I did two things while staying up all night for William and Kate’s wedding: I juiced what looked like a harmless pile of key limes—and managed to cut my finger in the process—and I made these steamed artichokes. I don’t know what it is about steamed artichokes, but to me, they are the epitome of party food. I love to take a plump leaf from the thistly globe and scrape my teeth across it to extract the flesh. Paired with the right flavors, it is complete heaven to me.

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Oddly enough, I had only eaten artichokes like this once before the other night. My friend had made them for a Christmas party, and ever since I had wanted to try making them myself, but was always too intimidated. After juicing my thirtieth key lime, and while I was listening to about the fifty second interview of spectators standing outside in London, I decided it was time to get over it. What funny things we do when we get the idea that staying up all night is perfectly reasonable. Turns out, they weren’t so hard to make after all.

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I recently discovered Vegenaise. Of course, I had seen it hundreds of times in the refrigerator section of the health food store, but my meat-loving self was convinced that it was something people would only eat because they were desperate—like egg replacer. Then I bought a chicken sandwich that had this sauce on it made from Vegenaise and pesto sauce. It was like a revelation. I have since bought the same sandwich a half a dozen times, just for that sauce. And now I am completely converted.

Before, when a recipe would call for mayonnaise, I’d cringe, and only use about half of the recommended amount. Something about it just seems gelatinous and artery-clogging. Now that I use Vegenaise, I confidently add as much as I want. It tastes so much lighter, so much healthier. Knowing that I would be downing a ton of the aioli with these artichokes, I used Vegenaise with happy abandon. I even threw in some chia seeds for good measure.

steamed artichokes with chia seed aioli

4 steamed artichokes with tips removed
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 cup Vegenaise
2 cloves fresh garlic, grated with a microplane or pressed through a garlic press
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chia seeds

Arrange artichokes on a plate, with several leaves pulled off. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Serve cold.

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