Life Extension Magazine®

Stuffed Artichoke from the cookbook by Phaidon

Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots

Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots, by Aaron Bertelsen, shows that there’s no place too small to grow your own produce. We provide four of his recipes, highlighting fresh ingredients.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Aaron Bertelsen.


Whether you’re pinching a few sprigs of oregano to add to pasta sauce, gathering arugula and spinach for a leafy green salad, or simply enjoying cherry tomatoes straight from the vine—there’s nothing quite like vine-ripened, freshly picked produce grown in your own garden.

Many people believe they don’t have enough space to grow their own fruit and vegetables, but acclaimed gardener Aaron Bertelsen has just published a book showing that there’s no place too small to grow your own produce.

Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots is a how-to book that gives detailed information on growing produce everywhere, from window boxes, to Juliet balconies, to back patios.

The book provides practical advice on gardening basics (including choosing the correct containers, soil, and equipment), directions on growing specific produce (including tomatoes, eggplant, arugula, basil, and 21 others), and 50 simple recipes that feature those home-grown ingredients.

Growing your own produce allows you to eat seasonally, reduce waste, and include more fruit and vegetables in your daily diet—and Bertelsen shows that it’s something anyone can do.

The following pages contain four recipes from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots, highlighting fresh ingredients like carrots, seasonal greens, fennel, dill, parsley, and many more.

—Laurie Mathena



Serves 6-8

PREPARATION: 10 minutes

COOKING: 1 hour

2 litres/3½ pints (8 cups) chicken stock (broth) (or you could use vegetable stock/broth)

225 g/8 oz (1¼ cups) dried yellow split peas

225 g/8 oz (1¼ cups) dried green or brown lentils

4 carrots (about 450 g/1 lb), scrubbed, trimmed and chopped into 2.5-cm/1-inch pieces

4 celery stalks, chopped into 2.5-cm/1-inch pieces

1 leek, trimmed and chopped into 2.5-cm/1-inch pieces

2 bay leaves

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

large bunch seasonal greens (about 250 g/9 oz), stripped away from any large stems, then sliced

chopped herbs, to garnish

crusty bread and butter, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Put the stock (broth), dried peas and lentils, vegetables, bay leaves, cumin, salt and pepper into a large heavy casserole dish (Dutch oven) and stir to combine. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until the peas and lentils are tender.

Remove from the oven and fish out and discard the bay leaves. Stir through the seasonal greens until wilted. Just before serving, garnish with chopped herbs, then ladle the soup into warmed soup plates and serve with bread and butter, if desired.



Serves 4

PREPARATION: 20 minutes

COOKING: 25 minutes

4 tablespoons rapeseed (canola) oil

½ onion, finely chopped

4 globe artichokes (or 200 g/7 oz prepared artichoke hearts in olive oil, drained)

lemon juice, to prevent dis-colouration (if using fresh artichokes)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 spring onions (scallions), chopped

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 aubergine (eggplant), peeled using a vegetable peeler, then cut into 1.5-cm/¾-inch dice

3 tomatoes, diced

4 tablespoons canned chopped tomatoes

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat- leaf parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon thyme

salt and pepper

toasted bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and leave for 10 minutes to sweat down, stirring every so often.

Meanwhile, prepare the globe artichokes, if using. Remove the leaves until only the innermost leaves and hearts remain. (You can keep the outer leaves to steam and then eat with vinaigrette or aioli – delicious.) Trim the stems and hard leaf remnants around the bottoms, and use a vegetable peeler to peel the stems, removing the tough exterior. Chop the hearts in half and use a spoon to remove the hairy chokes. Cut in half again so you are left with quarters of artichoke heart. If you are not using them immediately, rub with a little lemon juice to stop discolouration.

Add the garlic, spring onions (scallions), fennel, aubergine (eggplant), tomatoes (fresh and canned), artichoke hearts, vinegar, capers and pumpkin seeds to the frying pan with the onion, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender but not too soft.

Add the herbs and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature, spooned over toasted bread.



Serves 2

PREPARATION: 15 minutes, plus cooling

COOKING: 10 minutes

75 g/3 oz (½ cup) whole almonds, with skins on

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 apples, cored and diced

1 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped

1 bunch dill, coarsely chopped

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

175 g/6 oz smoked mackerel fillets


1 tablespoon (apple) cider vinegar

juice of 1 lemon

1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Put the almonds into a small roasting pan with the lemon zest and juice. Place in the oven and roast until the nuts are browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, oil and sugar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and add a little more lemon juice or mustard, to taste.

Put the chopped almonds, fennel, apples, capers, dill and parsley into a bowl. Break up the mackerel fillets into chunks and add to the salad. Pour over the vinaigrette, toss gently and serve.


Serves 6

PREPARATION: 20 minutes

COOKING: 30-35 minutes

6 large globe artichokes

juice of 1 lemon

100 g/3½ oz (1 cup) dried bread crumbs (preferably made with sourdough bread)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

good handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

100 ml/3½ fl oz (scant ½ cup) white wine

good glug (1–2 tablespoons) of olive oil

200 g/7 oz podded (shelled) broad (fava) beans (½ cup prepared)

200 g/7 oz podded (shelled) peas (½ cup prepared)

salt and pepper

Wash the artichokes and remove the stems – you’re trying to create a stable bottom so they can stand up when you put them in the pan. Slice about 2.5 cm/1 inch off the top of each artichoke, then use a spoon to scoop out its hairy choke.

Put the artichokes into a large pan of water with half the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 7–10 minutes for younger chokes, longer for older ones. Test for doneness with a fork: the choke should be firm but soft. Drain. (The cooking liquid is useful as a base for stock/ broth or can be drunk for its health benefits.)

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley in a bowl with the wine, oil and the remaining lemon juice. Season well with salt and pepper and mix together thoroughly.

Place the artichokes upright in a shallow pan, making sure they are packed in snugly. Stuff the breadcrumb mix in between the leaves and also between the chokes themselves, packing it down.

Blanch the broad (fava) beans in a separate pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain. When they are cool enough to handle, slip off the outer skins and mix with the peas. Stuff the bean and pea mixture in and around the artichokes.

Half-fill the pan with water (so the artichokes are half immersed) and place over low heat. Partially cover the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes, checking regularly that there is enough water that the chokes don’t burn. The breadcrumbs will absorb the water, while the beans and peas steam.

Preheat the grill (broiler) to high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to a heatproof dish and grill for 10 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.


If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

Reprinted from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots (Phaidon 2020).

Photo credit: Andrew Montgomery

To order a copy of Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots, call 1-800-544-4440 or check it online at Life Extension

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