Yesterday, in Mahane Yehuda, I was excited to see the most beautiful jerusalem artichokes.  The jerusalem artichoke is a member of the thistle family and is a cousin to the artichoke. The jerusalem artichoke also has the distinction of being one of the few tubers, a type of root vegetable whose members include the potato, taro root, and radish. 

Other than the fact that this delicious vegetable is  available in Jerusalem, this North American native has really has nothing to do with our holy city. The title “Jerusalem” stems from a mispronunciation of the word gersimol, which means ‘sun’ in Italian. The  Italians, who originally titled them  “sun artichokes”,  did so because, they are the root of the sunflower and taste like the artichoke.

My only problem with the Jerusalem Artichoke is deciding which way to cook them.  They are so wonderfully delicious in so very many ways.  They make a delicious stew, complimenting lamb and fava beans perfectly.  Try tossing them in olive oil and salt and roasting them as  a healthier alternative to potato chips, or follow the recipe below for a wonderfully warming winter soup.

Health-wise,   the Jerusalem Artichoke, sweet in flavor and white in color is beneficial to both the lungs and the spleen. They nourish the lungs, relieve asthma, and they contain inulin which helps reduce insulin needs (excellent for diabetics).


  1. olive oil
  2. 6 shallots, chopped
  3. 1 kilo Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, peeled and coarsely chopped
  4. 1 parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
  5. 2 liters water
  6. 2 cups soy/oat milk
  7. 1/4 tsp turmeric
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. 4 chives, finely chopped, for garnishing

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and saute the shallots until they become translucent. Add   the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower the flame and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours. Use a hand immerser to puree the soup,  garnish with the chives and serve hot.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.