The Healthful Dandelion

Believe it or not the dandelions growing in our lawns are actually very healthy and can be prepared in many delicious recipes.

Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Its leaves are often used to add flavour to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots can be found in some coffee substitutes and the flowers are used to make certain wines.

The older the leaf (as in the second, third year) the more bitter they will be. Mixed with other vegetables in a salad they are extremely nutritious. Older leaves can be cooked in a mixed vegetables combo when they become milder. Early greens have a better flavor than those gathered later in the season. If you're going to be eating fresh greens it's better to gather them before the flowers appear. Otherwise the greens are apt to be bitter. Very young greens can be added fresh to salads, but they can also be cooked in much the same way as collards or mustard greens.

Before cooking with dandelions I often give them a quick boil, for 3-5 minutes until the spines are tender. It helps to neutralize any bitterness they might have. Simply trim the root end, and toss them into a pot of boiling, salted water. After a few minutes drain them into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Don’t be shy to pluck the dandelion greens from your backyard.

Here are some dandelion recipes that are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals that are great for you!

Innovative Dandelion Salad

  • 2 cups dandelion greens, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1Tbs green olives sliced
  • 2 Tbs cooked chickpeas

Dressing

  • 1 Tbs Hummus or Tahini
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • Salt (optional)

Dire

ctions

Combine dandelions, tomatoes, onion, olives and chickpeas in a bowl. In another bowl whisk Hummus lemon juice, olive oil, and salt together.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Preparation 10 minutes

Serves 4-6

Tasty Braised Dandelion Greens

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch dandelions
  • 1medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic or to taste
  • 2 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 1 red pepper sliced thinly
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add cabbage and cook for 30 minutes until cabbage is soft.

Meanwhile soak dandelion green in a bowl of water, fish them out, and repeat with clean water until you don’t find any dirt on the bottom of the bowl. Clean them thoroughly checking for insect infestation. Actually bugs do not like bitter leaves it is very rare to find insects in dandelion! Steam dandelion green until wilted about 5 minutes.

Add the greens to the pot. Cook them until they’re quite soft. Salt the greens to taste. Use good salt if you have it—I like unrefined sea salt.

Chop a bunch of garlic. How much depends on how much you like garlic.

Stir in the sliced red pepper; allow to cook another 5 minutes. Serve over a bed of rice, pasta or mashed potatoes, or as is.

Preparation 15 minutes

Serves 4-6

Refreshing Spring Vegetables Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved trimmed snow peas
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

  • ½ Tbs Mayonnaise (optional)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix all salad ingredients and coat with the dressing.

Preparation 15 minutes

Serves 6-8

Savoury Spring Fruit Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ papaya cubed
  • 3 slices fresh pineapple cubed
  • ½ cantaloupe cubed
  • 1pint blueberries
  • 1 handful raisins or craisins
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans or pine nuts

Orange Sauce

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Maple Syrup

Directions

In a large bowl combine all fruits and coat with orange sauce. Garnish with coconut flakes

Preparation 10 minutes

Serves 6-8