Recipe: Maltese Stuffed Artichokes (Qaqoċċ Mimli) (w/ poll)

I often wonder how many people walk by their supermarket’s artichoke display squinting their eyes, unsure of what to do with this prickly porcupine of a vegetable. Being part Italian, I grew up eating artichokes and often take them for granted. I was thrilled this week to read that the Maltese also enjoy a giant, stuffed-to-the-brim artichoke – giving me a chance to indulge yet another time.

A stuffed-to-the-brim artichoke is my favorite movie snack. Perfect Friday night fun. The challenge for me this week, with Malta, is getting used to the idea of putting anchovies and olives in my artichokes.

Because that’s exactly what they do in Malta.

Note: Maltese typically pull the artichoke’s leaves back and get the stuffing in every nook and cranny. Due to the fluffy nature of this stuffing, I had an easier time pulling the center wide open and putting it all there. The choice is yours!

Serves 4


4 large artichokes, stems trimmed and lower, scraggly leaves plucked off

3 cups coarsely crumbled bread (sourdough, if possible)
3 anchovy fillets, chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 green olives, chopped (capers is another common addition)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
salt & pepper
Olive oil, as needed


Let’s zip to Malta in a boat. Take your pick…

Saint Paul's Bay, Malta. Photo by Azhitsky.

When we get there, pop open a can of anchovies and breathe in deeply. It’s fish. It’s salt. It’s oil.

I think I can get used to this. (I think I can, I think I can)

Now mince up those anchovies, some olives (or capers) and toss together with the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Add enough olive oil to get the stuffing to bind together.

Give it a taste. Add more seasonings, if needed.

Now, prepare the beautiful, green artichokes. Start by trimming the stem and removing the scraggly leaves at the base of the artichoke.

Next, trim the top, thereby removing many of the sharp, prickly points.

Pry the artichoke leaves open and stuff. Place in a large pot over happily simmering water. Cover and steam for 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on size of the artichokes.

Enjoy with great gusto!

Welcome to a Maltese carnival of flavor.

Gozo, Nadur, carnival. Photo by Thyes.

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  1. Your recipe appeals to me for several reasons – I’ve failed at making stuffed artichokes in the past, AND I’ve been trying to warm up my palate for anchovies

    I will be trying this recipe soon, and let you know how it goes

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I made myself eat a bite of the anchovies straight from the can before I made the stuffing… it was a good warm up :) Good luck!

      • Sasha Martin says:

        Er … perhaps more of a good shock. Made the artichokes seem mild (you really don’t taste “fish” – it just adds a briny flavor)

  2. Jym Brittain says:

    mmmmm Just like Nana used to make!

  3. To open the artichoke for stuffing – first slice off the prickly top about 1/2 inch down – then turn upside down and slam on ito the work surface – bang bam boom – this will soften the leaves…remember??
    This recipe sounds delicious…

  4. So excited to find a Maltese recipe on a blog! We do love our artichokes :)


  5. In Sicily they also pull all the leaves apart to put in the breadrcrumb and garlic stuffing. Well, I guess the two islands are close enough! I like the idea of anchovies and olives, two of my favorite foods after artichokes. Wow!

  6. This recipe sounds so good! I am hosting an artichoke-themed linky party this week as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series at 2 Sisters 2 Cities. I would love it if you linked this recipe up!


  7. Lorraine Bartolo says:

    oh i am so gonna try this…. have missed mums artichokes and it might be cause i am getting old and mum has passed but it seems all the good things she used to cook were my comfort food

  8. Since you enjoy stuffed artichokes, I feel it is my duty to let you know in Spain we stuff them with meat and then cook the artichokes with potatoes. It’s a great dish, and the potatoes taste different and specially good for some reason^^

  9. Joseph Grima says:

    I had this dish at my sister’s place, cooked just like the recipe said, it was a great meal with all the little side dishes we had with it. It is great to have Malta get some credit for its cousins, How many have tried rabbit stew in red wine with pasta. I will the pleasure of the taste of the meal for you to ponder on. Saha alisa


  1. […] #3 Eat with your hands – try this steamed artichoke recipe from Italy or this one from Malta. […]

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