Kid-friendly Artichoke Tartar Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
over 1,000 kid-approved recipes coming soon! save your flavorites
Recipe: Artichoke Tartar Sauce

Recipe: Artichoke Tartar Sauce

Artichoke Tartar Sauce

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Gustavo Toledo/
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

Skip to recipe

Artichoke Tartar Sauce

Every New Englander knows that a fried fish sandwich without tartar sauce is like a ship without a sail—simply adrift. Artichoke Tartar Sauce is more than an accompaniment; it's an upgrade. It's the wind in the sails, propelling a classic dish to new horizons with its creamy texture and herby punch.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife
  • Whisk or wooden spoon


Artichoke Tartar Sauce

  • 1/2 C mayonnaise **(for EGG ALLERGY sub egg-free vegan mayonnaise)**
  • 1/4 C pickle relish **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY or sub 2 pickles, minced)**
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground paprika **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/4 C artichoke hearts (from 1 can artichoke hearts)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Artichoke Tartar Sauce

  • Egg: Substitute egg-free vegan mayonnaise.
  • Nightshade: Omit ground paprika. Omit pickle relish or substitute 2 pickles, minced, for 1/4 C pickle relish.


Artichoke Tartar Sauce

measure + squeeze

In a medium mixing bowl, measure 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup pickle relish, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 pinch of paprika. Then, slice a lemon in half and add 1 squeeze of lemon juice to the bowl.

chop + stir

Chop 1/4 cup of artichoke hearts and add them to the bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are fully combined. Serve spooned over Fearless Fishless Fish Fry (see recipe) sandwiches.

Surprise Ingredient: Artichoke!

back to recipe
Photo by BearFotos/ (Picking artichokes in Spain)

Hi! I'm Artichoke!

"Did you know that I'm a variety of thistle? That's a flowering plant with prickly leaves. I am a little prickly on the outside, but I have a good heart! Artichoke hearts are sweet and tender and were considered a luxury at European courts in the 1600s!"

History & Etymology

  • Artichokes were cultivated in ancient times. It was first mentioned in writing in Italy in the 1400s. 
  • Artichoke ancestors were most likely North African thistles or from Sicily, Italy, where they still grow wild today.
  • People from the Middle East were thought to have been some of the earliest groups to use artichokes as food. People began cultivating artichokes as early as the 5th century BCE.
  • According to Greek legend, the artichoke was created when Zeus turned the object of his affection into a thistle after being rejected by her.
  • Aristotle called the artichoke a "cactus," but it wasn't a case of ancient Greek botany gone wrong. Back then, the word for an artichoke—or at least its closest relative, a wild artichoke now called a "cardoon"—was a "kaktos."
  • The domesticated artichoke is an improved version of the wild cardoon, which is smaller and more prickly. The cardoon buds were eaten but their stems were often more desirable.
  • Due to artichokes' great taste, they quickly became popular and by Roman times, around 70 to 80 CE, only the rich were allowed to eat them. They were forbidden to the common people.
  • Ancient people considered artichokes to have many benefits. Artichokes, including leaves, were considered an aphrodisiac (love potion), a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant.
  • Artichokes traveled up through Italy. The Dutch introduced them to England. The French brought them to Louisiana and Italian immigrants brought them to California in the 1920s.
  • Marilyn Monroe was the first official California Artichoke Queen in 1948.
  • California is the main supplier of artichokes in the United States, and Castroville, CA calls itself the Artichoke Capital of the World. However, Italy produces many more tons of artichokes than the USA.
  • The Guinness World Record for the largest serving of cooked artichokes is 2535 pounds and 5 ounces (1,150 kilograms). The record was attained in Pineda de Mar, Spain, on March 17, 2018, by Pura Brasa restaurant and Josper, S.A., a Spanish charcoal oven and grill company, at a charitable event. They chose artichokes to grill because they are popular in Spain.
  • The word "artichoke" comes from the 16th century "articiocco," from the Northern Italian variant "arcicioffo," from the Old Spanish "alcarchofa," from the Arabic "al-karsufa." 
  • "Articiocco" worked its way into English, and like the Italians before them, English speakers tended to make up associations for the word. Some called it a "hartichoke," since it looked like a heart; others assumed that the "choke" part had something to do with the hard-to-breathe meaning of "choke," either because you would choke if you ate the middle of the plant, or because it grew so fast that it would choke out all the other growth around it.


  • Globe artichokes grow on a large thistle plant that reaches 3 to 5 feet in height and spreads in diameter from 4 to 6 feet! The plant has long stems with large branches, like a Christmas tree. Some varieties have long arching spiked leaves, making them look like giant ferns. If artichokes are not picked for eating they turn into beautiful purple flowers.
  • About 6 to 9 artichokes grow on each plant. A single artichoke is an unopened flower bud from the thistle plant.
  • You first see the outer leaves or petals of the artichoke, with thorns on their tips. The base of the outer leaves are good to eat and have more flesh than the inner leaves. When the outer leaves are removed, you see the inner leaves. These do not have much edible flesh, but you can eat them. 
  • The fuzzy part is called the "choke." It is a clump of immature flowers in the center of the bud, directly above the heart, that are inedible and must be removed before eating the artichoke heart.
  • The meaty part in the center (the most delicious part!) is called the "heart," which is the base of the plant's flower bud that sits on the stem. You can also eat the stems, especially the stems of younger plants.  
  • There are many varieties of globe artichokes, including green, purple, and white. They come in baby, medium, and jumbo sizes.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Artichokes are prime for eating just before the flower starts to open.
  • It is best to purchase artichokes from March through May.
  • Select firm, plump, green globes with compact center leaves that feel heavy for their size to pick the best artichokes.
  • Avoid artichokes with brown or separated leaves, which means they are old and will be tough and bitter.
  • Store uncooked artichokes (unwashed) in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for approximately two weeks, but cooking them within a week after purchasing is best. 
  • Cool cooked artichokes completely and cover them before putting them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to a week.
  • The thorns soften while cooking, or you can clip off the tips with kitchen scissors before cooking. 
  • Do not cook artichokes in an aluminum pot, as the pot may turn gray.
  • Cooking cut artichokes in lemon water helps prevent them from turning brown. 
  • You can cook artichokes the night before you serve them. Just reheat them in the oven or microwave before you serve, stuff, grill, or use them in another dish.
  • Cooked whole artichokes with leaves and hearts (discard the chokes!) are good to eat as a vegetable. Pull off a petal and dip the base into melted butter, mayonnaise, or another dip and scrape off the flesh with your teeth. 
  • Artichoke hearts can be added to a variety of dishes. They can be purchased whole, halved, or quartered. There are canned artichoke hearts in water, and jarred marinated artichoke hearts. Which ones you choose depends on how they are being used and what your recipe calls for. 
  • Hot or cold, artichoke dip goes well with pita and other breads, chips, crackers, and cut veggies. Spinach artichoke dip is especially popular. Artichoke hearts make a tasty topping for pizza and a nutritious addition to salads, pasta, soups, and stews.  


  • In 2004, USDA researchers measured antioxidant levels in over 100 foods commonly consumed in the United States. The study found that beans (red kidney, pinto), cooked artichoke hearts, and russet potatoes were tops among vegetables; however, cooked artichoke hearts were found to be the best antioxidant source among all fresh vegetables. Cooking negatively affects the antioxidant content in most foods, but it has a positive effect on artichokes.
  • High in fiber, low in calories and fat, and rich in antioxidants, artichokes are a healthy, versatile vegetable that are tender and scrumptious.
  • Artichokes are nutrient-dense, so, for the 25 calories in a medium artichoke, you're getting 16 essential nutrients! Wow!
  • Artichokes are a rich source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.
  • Artichokes contain bitter principles, cynarine, and sesquiterpene-lactones. Scientific studies show that these reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • A fresh artichoke is an excellent source of folic acid, which acts as a cofactor for enzymes involved in the synthesis of DNA.
  • Fresh artichokes also contain moderate amounts of the vitamin C, an antioxidant. Regularly consuming foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against getting sick.
  • Artichokes are an excellent source for vitamin K, which is very good for your bones.
  • Artichokes are also rich in the B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, essential for metabolism.
  • Artichokes are a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. All are very good for your blood.

History of Tartar Sauce!

Photo by Larisa Blinova/
  • Tartar sauce got its name from the French dish, "steak tartare," a raw ground or minced beef appetizer. Tartar sauce recipes can be found in English-language cookbooks from the mid-1800s. In 1922, George Escoffier described "steak à la tartare" as "steak à l'Americaine," made without egg yolk and served with tartar sauce on the side.
  • Tartar sauce is a condiment that may consist of all or some of these ingredients: mayonnaise or aioli, chopped pickles or pickle relish, capers, lemon juice, chopped onions, tarragon, and dill or parsley.
  • It is primarily served with fried fish and other seafood, like calamari and oysters, and often accompanies fish and chips and fish sandwiches. Some people like to dip their french fries in tartar sauce!

Let's Learn About France!

Photo by Alliance Images/
  • Bonjour (hello)! Bienvenue en (welcome to) France and the spectacular Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and ancient Roman ruins in the Provence region.
  • France is a European country, and its official name is the French Republic. The capital city is Paris, which also has the most people. 
  • France's land area is 248,573 square miles. That is almost the size of the US state of Texas! The number of people in France is 67,874,000, about 43 percent more than in Texas.
  • The official and national language is French, which is also the official language in 12 other countries, and a co-official language in 16 countries, including Canada. 
  • France's government consists of a president, a prime minister, and a parliament and is divided into regions and departments rather than states and counties.
  • The French have a well-known motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
  • In addition to the Eiffel Tower, France is known for the Louvre, the most visited art museum worldwide (the Mona Lisa resides there), the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) in southeastern France on the Mediterranean coast.
  • France is famous for the "beaux-arts" (fine arts). Paris is still home to many artists and great painters, artisans, and sculptors. Great literature came from French authors, such as Victor Hugo's novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Paris has two popular nicknames. The most common is "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière), which came about because Paris was the first European city to implement street lighting in 1860, lighting up the city with 56,000 gas street lamps. The second is "The City of Love," (La Ville de L'amour). This name is probably due to Paris being considered one of the most romantic cities in the world and the high number of marriage proposals at the Eiffel Tower!
  • French cuisine is known for its freshness and high quality. Many of the world's greatest pastries originated in France, such as the croissant, eclair, and macaron!
  • Other French foods are escargot (snails!), baguette (bread), ratatouille (roasted tomato, zucchini, and eggplant—remember the movie?!), and crepes (very thin pancakes).

What's It Like to Be a Kid in France?

  • Most kids start school (preschool) at around age three. Depending on the area and the school, students go to school 4 to 5 days a week. They often get a 1½-hour lunch break, and some kids go home for lunch. 
  • Dinner is served at 7:30 pm or later, so afternoon snacks are essential. "Le goûter" (goo-tay), or afternoon tea, often includes a "tartine," a slice of bread topped with something sweet or savory (like cheese, butter and jam, or Nutella). Other popular snacks are yogurt, fromage blanc (white cheese), and fruit. 
  • Popular sports for kids are soccer, bicycling, and tennis.
  • There are several parks in France, in and around Paris. Napoleon III even designed one of them, the Bois de Boulogne, where you can find beautiful gardens, lakes, a zoo, an amusement park, and two horse racing tracks. In addition, kids can go on pony rides, play mini-golf, and race remote control boats at many public parks.  
  • Of course, kids can also go to the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992. While there, kids can go on a ride unique to Disneyland Paris: Ratatouille: The Adventure!

THYME for a Laugh

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who's there?"


"Artichokes, who?"

"Arti chokes when he eats too fast!"

THYME for a Laugh

What is the funniest vegetable in the garden? 

The arti-joke!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a conversation between two artichokes? 

A heart to heart.

The Yolk's On You

I bought a horse the other day and named it Mayo.

Mayo neighs all the time!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the mayonnaise win the race?

Because the mustard couldn't ketchup!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the tin man from the Wizard of Oz eat an artichoke? 

He wanted a heart!

Shop Our Cookbooks

Now available on Amazon! Our cookbooks feature kid-tested recipes that build confidence in the kitchen. Expand your child's palate and spark a love of healthy foods with a Sticky Fingers Cooking cookbook.

Subscribe to the Sticky Fingers Cooking mailing list

Subscribe to our newsletter, The Turnip, to receive exclusive discounts and updates, insider tips + tricks from our awesome team, and instant access to the Sticky Fingers Cooking Starter Kit for free!

99% of schools invite us back year after year