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Dandelion Greens – No Common Weed!

By Alana Sugar, March 21, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
It’s hard to believe there was a time in my life when I thought of dandelion greens as weeds! Clearly, I had never made a meal of them, nor had I read about or studied the many health benefits these common backyard plants confer. Growing up in the South, I learned to love just about any greens that were put on my plate, but I have to admit, I never saw a dandelion sitting there. As I got older and ventured into both the culinary and health fields, I learned to enjoy them in more ways than one. Did you know that the flower, leaves and root of the dandelion are all edible? Traditional people have used the whole plant for healing support for eons. A quick peruse around our stores will turn up dandelion root tea, dandelion tincture, dandelion capsules and tablets, and of course, dandelion greens. Renowned for supporting healthy liver function, you can find this wonderful plant in many combination herbal formulas as well. When it comes to good health and good taste, dandelion greens are a perfect choice providing calcium, iron, fiber, Vitamins A, E and K, and powerful antioxidants including beta Carotene and lutein. If you have never tasted dandelion leaves, you are in for a nice surprise but remember: Like many leafy greens, they can be a little bitter, but when properly prepared, you’ll be glad you tried them! (Try steaming them before sautéing for less of a bite.) Here are some delicious ways to start:
  • Purchase a blend of baby greens that contain dandelion; toss with your favorite dressing and enjoy.
  • Use it in salads in place of some of the other leafy greens. Try our delicious recipe for Butternut Squash and Kale Salad but be sure to use dandelion in place of some or all of the kale.
  • Sauté alone or with onions and garlic in olive oil or sesame oil; garnish with sesame seeds.
  • Chop the leaves and add to soups, stews, or a crockpot dish. Try this wonderful Seafood Soup with Kale and Potatoes, but use dandelion in place of the kale.
  • Chop the leaves and add to salads. Try this recipe for Dandelion Greens with Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  • Add chopped leaves to pilaf mixes. Great with quinoa, wild or brown rice!
  • Try them with feta cheese, sliced red onions and currants or raisins.
  • Cook them with legumes. Be sure to use some dandelion in this recipe for Sauteed Greens with White Beans and Garlic.
  • Use them in place of lettuce on a sandwich.
  • Juice them…they make a great addition to your morning juice blend.
  • Here is a recipe for a Double Green Smoothie. Be sure to use some dandelion greens in place of some of the kale in the recipe.
  • Use them as a substitute for other leafy greens, in part, or all the way. This recipe for Baked Chicken with Spinach Pears and Blue Cheese is just dandy with dandelion greens  and this recipe for Spinach and Arugula Stuffed Mushrooms is just as delicious with dandelion.
  • Try this recipe for Swiss Chard with Shallots, substituting dandelion for the chard.
  • Finely chop the leaves and steep in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and enjoy a cup of dandelion leaf tea.
When purchasing dandelion greens, be sure to look for organic varieties. The plants should be a beautiful green shade, not browned, spoiled or wilted. And remember, they will have a bit of a bite, so go slow if you haven’t tried them before. Spring is the time to turn over a new leaf - a beautiful green, dandelion leaf – at its very best, most tender, and most delicious right now, in the early spring. Have you ever eaten dandelion greens? Do you have a favorite recipe? Let me know!




Molly says ...
Dandelion greens are such a good reminder of all the wonderful produce that's about to spring forth this season. You've gotten me excited for artichokes and asparagus, too!
03/21/2011 7:29:34 AM CDT
Marie says ...
All great recipes! But my all time favorite for dandelion greens is to saute them with olive oil, add salt and pepper and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar! Great hot or cold!!
03/21/2011 8:39:22 AM CDT
Jim says ...
I was in the same boat. For many years, I hated salads that looked like they were picked from my yard. I have since embraced them for what they are- delicious and healthy!
03/21/2011 12:30:50 PM CDT
Allison B says ...
I tried them once, but they were too bitter for my taste. I didnt know the trick about steaming before sauteing. I just might have to give them a try again.
03/21/2011 4:40:10 PM CDT
Sandy says ...
I love them boiled with potatoes and garlic. I'll also add a veggie cube since it helps to flavor the broth. I love the bitter flavor for some reason. I'm excited to try a couple new recipes above. Thank you.
03/23/2011 7:42:23 PM CDT
lisa says ...
This is an excellent tribute to what my italian grandmother taught me long ago! As a girl we would pick "chicoria" in the field and make delious salads. She would be amazed; I'm proud!
03/24/2011 12:01:55 PM CDT
Alan says ...
Being Italian, dandelions have been a staple in my early life brought home by my dad when local vegetable and fruit stands were still part of the Italian section of Newark, N.J. I have always loved the bitter taste of them and have eaten mainly as a salad green and also sauteed with a little garlic and olive oil. They are rich in vitamins and because of the bitterness have some positive benefits for healthy liver functions..Truly a nice addition to the leafy green vegetables available....
03/24/2011 1:28:51 PM CDT
Christine Camp says ...
My Daddy used to talk about eating dandelion greens when he was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania. His stern German grandmother would give him a cold sweet potato for an after school snack. He didn't know she was helping him live a healthy lifestyle!
03/25/2011 9:51:34 AM CDT
Char Nolan says ...
I am the granddaughter of Italian immigrants. Dandelion greens were an important part of my upbringing--epsecially when you had to go into the yard and pick the greens for the salad, or dinner. I love the liquid reserve from the steaming process, and like to drink it! Dandelion greens are good in everything! In a soup, on a salad, with a pizza! Delish!
03/26/2011 7:03:43 AM CDT
Anita Davis says ...
This year will be our 18th Dandelion MayFest and Great Dandelion Cookoff! Every year I am pleasantly surprised at the new recipes people come up with for dandelions! I appreciate your blog. More people need to learn about tasty, healthy dandelions. During our festival people not only eat dandelions, but use dandelions in their arts and crafts, and kids have dandelion picking and scavenger hunts so they can make jelly! The festival is May 6 and 7.
03/26/2011 10:09:46 AM CDT
Stefanie says ...
I have tried them a couple of times but they were too bitter for me. I will have to try them again since I seem to like bitter greens now.
03/27/2011 6:01:20 PM CDT
TheDailyDish says ...
A dear French friend advised me to eat dandelion greens during pregnancy to help alleviate nausea. Not sure there's any truth to it, but certainly no harm in trying!
03/28/2011 10:07:12 AM CDT
Bessy Vamvakitis says ...
Dandelion Greens have been in my diet since childhood. Our recipe puts dandelion greens with blackeyed peas in tomato sauce infused with rosemary, bay leaf, olive oil and salt and pepper. It's the perfect side to a pork loin chop. This brings back memories. Enjoy.
03/28/2011 1:34:32 PM CDT
Cathy says ...
Sprinkle a bit of Himalayan salt and massage into the dandelions to cut the bitter taste. Gabriel Cousens has a great recipe for dandelion cream salad using chopped dandelions with a processed blend of cashews, red pepper and lemon poured over the top. Yum!
03/28/2011 3:04:32 PM CDT
Cat says ...
My grandfather, who almost lived to be 100, used to pick dandelions in the yard and put them in his salad every day... Something to it!
03/29/2011 9:55:46 AM CDT
Angie says ...
When I was a child my father and I always ate wilted dandelion salad. It was wonderful with a pinch of salt, and oil and lemon juice. He would dress the greens, then let them sit in the fridge for a few hours. Great salad. I will have to try them sauted with oil and garlic as well.
03/31/2011 9:32:29 PM CDT
Jason Mehl says ...
You can't beat free, fresh greens. They seem to survive in horrible conditions too. I wonder how much soil types or frequency of watering affect the bitterness.
04/22/2011 6:26:34 AM CDT
Marlynn says ...
I add frozen dandelion greens to my fruit smoothies! I just picked a bunch yesterday. I washed them, put them in boiling water (2 min)and then into ice water (2 min). Then I put them in the food processor until they were smooth and spooned that mix into ice tray. This morning I popped out frozen cubes into a freezer bag for later. Really convenient.
07/03/2011 8:53:21 AM CDT
Susan says ...
Like you I thought of dandelion as a useless weed. My husband caught me weeding the garden one day and said STOP..you are pulling good food. I have eaten dandelions in salad, tasted the root coffee, and love dandelion greens sauteed in olive oil.
11/19/2011 12:44:01 PM CST
Michele says ...
Like Angie up above-my father would always make the dandelion wilted salad come Spring!- mmm good! He's 96 yrs old now. His Mother- and prolly my great grandma-etc- would also dig up nature goodies-being farmers- and eat these healthy greens.Living off the land so to speak! I myself dug some up today and added to my salad--and tomorrow will try the dandelion greens sauteed in olive oil.They only come up once a year--go for it!! I'll keep up the tradition!
03/24/2012 5:49:36 PM CDT
mary says ...
dandelions greens are excellent to me i stream mine, have 3 or 4 times a week
07/21/2012 6:08:53 PM CDT
marcia Heath says ...
I love the Dandelion, My mother would make Dandelion tea every morning in the Caribbean. It lowers your blood pressure as well.
09/19/2012 8:54:00 AM CDT
J. says ...
I bought dandelion greens (the red variety) yesterday and couldn't wait to try them. I found that they were nearly as bitter as a Tylenol capsule that keep it in the mouth for too long. My pet rabbit (Penelope), however, loved it! I guess i'll be buying more for Penelope, not myself.
11/13/2012 9:40:37 AM CST
ash says ...
Where can i purchase fresh leaves.
01/20/2013 10:11:18 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ASH - We will typically carry the bunches of dandelion greens in our Produce department. Call your local store to see if they have them in stock right now!
01/25/2013 2:12:26 PM CST