Salad and vegetable recipes

Thistles in almond sauce

Thistles in almond sauce


  • Easy
  • 40 minutes
  • For 4 people
  • 1.8 € / person
  • 280kcal per 100g.

How to make thistle in almond sauce or thistle in Aragonese style . If we talk about a Christmas recipe that is present on the tables a great majority of Aragonese, Navarrese, Sorian and Madrid people is thistle.

You will say, already Christmas? Well no, I have discovered that you do not have to wait until December to taste and cook this thistle recipe. Thanks to the fact that I found it on the rebound in Mercadona, it is its frozen food section. And I assure you that the result is great, almost as good as fresh thistle. A simpler recipe if possible because part of the work we have already done. In addition it can be found throughout the year also preserved.

The Egyptians and Romans already appreciated it and it was in the Middle Ages when it spread throughout southern Europe. Although in Spain it is in Aragon where it took the strongest root. It is one of the most traditional recipes of the Aragonese cookbook. We can find several recipes with this vernacular, from the thistles of Montflorite, those of Muel and those of Mozota. And it is a humble dish that, like cod with cabbage or red cabbage with pine nuts , is present in many houses on Christmas Eve.

I associated it with Sunday food, since I am in Madrid, my mother-in-law prepares it often. If we want to consume it in season we will find it the first four months of the year. A recipe to appreciate the tight, tender and delicious texture of the thistle with a very mild sauce that makes it a very tasty dish. 

Cleaning and cooking fresh thistle

  1. If we buy it fresh you will have to have time, although the end result is worth it. You have to spend a little time cleaning and cooking. If you like vegetables, you will surely appreciate its value. It is essential to clean it well
  2. We remove by hand or with a knife pulling up and down to remove the threads or filaments. They are the hardest external areas of the stalks.
  3. Always from top to bottom to remove the fibrous part and you have to do it as if you were peeling them, it seems like a pain in the ass but I assure you it is very easy. If it is not done they will be very fibrous and will not be as rich, because they will bother a little. You also have to discard the tiny leaves that grow on the edge of the stalks.
  4. Finally, pieces of between 5 to 8 centimeters are made. So that they do not rust, that they do not turn black, they must be immersed, just clean them, in cold water well with a little fresh parsley, like the artichokes. Wear gloves, because your hands can be dyed brown, although not much.
  5. Once ready we must cook it for an hour in a normal pot. You have to check that all its parts are well cooked. Once cleaned and cut into pieces, it can also be frozen, after being blanched in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.

Cooking from frozen or preserved thistle

  1. The option I have chosen, so the recipe does not take more than 40 minutes, is to buy canned or frozen thistle. The result is also optimal and the preparation is much faster.
  2. It is recommended to boil the frozen thistle for 25 minutes with a teaspoon of flour. Thus you will achieve maintaining a beautiful color and remove the bitter aftertaste. Once cooked, drain and reserve for the sauce.

Preparation of the almond sauce

  1. Grind the almonds and pine nuts in a mortar (if you have a grinder you will have a finer sauce).
  2. Encarna does it in mortar and it is like I do it in cas, a brighter sauce remains but this way you find different pieces of almond and pine nuts. I assure you that it is a pleasure at mealtime. We reserve the almond and minced pine nuts.
  3. I also like that the almond goes with the skin, it gives the sauce more flavor. And a beautiful tan color.
  4. We put in a saucepan a generous stream of virgin olive oil. We put at medium temperature and brown the garlic cloves so that the oil is infused. Here you can remove them with what will be a slight garlic flavor or chop them into very minced pieces so that they are not in the sauce. If you leave it (as I have, it will taste a little more garlic, although we like it at home like that).
  5. When the golden garlics are added, add the flour, I prepare it with cornstarch because there is a finer béchamel. In addition to being perfect for gluten intolerant, but if you do not have good value, wheat flour.
  6. We fry a minutillo so that the flour is cooked, as if it were a béchamel, the famous Roux. That way it won’t taste like raw flour. Then we add the almond flour and pine nuts. We mix everything very well.
  7. Pour in the milk and stir until there is a creamy sauce. Season to taste and it is time to add the thistle that we have reserved.

Final presentation of the thistle in almond sauce

  1. We will cook the thistle with the sauce for 3 minutes over low heat. Do not mention it much because we want the whole pieces of thistle, so do it by moving the casserole by hand or with a wooden spoon. We stir gently so that they are well impregnated with the sauce.
  2. If the sauce is too thick, it can be lightened with a little water or with a little of the cooking water from the thistle. We serve very hot when everything is linked.
  3. You can present it just like the presentation photo, with some toasted pine nuts on top. I assure you that if you like vegetables, this dish is a delicacy, simply yummy.

Be sure to enjoy all the sanote dishes that we have in our vegetable recipes .  You can see all the photos of the step by step recipe for thistles in almond sauce in the next album.

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