How to Cook Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens are a wild edible that are high in iron, calcium, protein, and vitamins A and C, plus they can add a delicious new taste to salads, soups, sandwiches, and side dishes. While many people think of dandelions as nothing more than a pesky weed, they have been used for ages to make foods, wines, and even jellies. Some people do find dandelions bitter, which is why it can help to boil them before cooking, or mask their bitterness by balancing it out with other flavors. It also helps if you harvest dandelion greens when they are young, either before or while the plant is flowering.
Sautéed Dandelion Greens
1 pound (6 cups) dandelion greens, washed and torn into 4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 g) red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Warm Dandelion Salad
1 large head garlic, roasted
3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar or red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice
A pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 pound (6 cups) dandelion greens, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup (36 g) pine nuts or almonds, toasted
Sautéing Dandelion Greens
Boil a large pot of water.One way to help remove some of the bitterness from dandelion greens is to boil them first in water.Fill a large pot with water, add a teaspoon (5 g) of salt, and bring it to a boil.
Soak the dandelions.As you wait for the water to boil, fill a large bowl with water and a teaspoon (5 g) of salt. Soak the greens for about 10 minutes, then drain them.
Boil the greens.When the water is boiling and the greens have soaked, boil them for three to four minutes, until they are tender. Drain the water and shock the greens by rinsing them with cold water until they are chilled. Set them aside in a colander or strainer.
- Blanching will quickly lower the temperature of the dandelion greens to stop the cooking process and keep them from becoming soggy.
- Instead of discarding the water the dandelions boiled in, consider saving it for watering the garden.
Sauté the remaining ingredients.Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and heat it on medium. When it’s hot, add the onion and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about five minutes, until the onion is tender.
- When the onion is ready, add in the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- For an added zesty kick, consider adding a teaspoon (5 g) of fresh, minced ginger.
- To change the flavor of the dressing, try using walnut, sesame, coconut, or peanut oil instead of olive.
Sauté the dandelion greens.Increase the heat of the frying pan to medium-high. When the pan is ready, add the greens and cook them for three to four minutes, until the water has evaporated.
- As they cook, use tongs or a fork to move them around in the pan.
Remove from the heat and serve.Season the greens with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with a wedge of fresh lemon.
Tossing Together a Warm Dandelion Salad
Roast the garlic.This warm dandelion salad is dressed with a roasted garlic dressing and served with toasted nuts. Preheat the oven to 400 F (204 C). To roast the garlic:
- Peel off the outer layer of skin from a head of garlic, leaving all the cloves intact. With a good knife, cut the tips off the head of the cloves to expose the garlic underneath.
- Place the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle the whole head with a tablespoon (15 ml) of oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil, place it on a baking sheet or oven-safe dish and bake for 35 to 55 minutes.
- When the garlic is done, the cloves inside will be golden and caramelized. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before popping the cloves out of the skins.
Toast the nuts.Preheat your oven to 350 F (177 C). Spread the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for five to 10 minutes (five minutes for pine nuts, 10 minutes for almonds), flipping or stirring halfway through.
Prepare the dressing.Place all the cloves from the head of roasted garlic into a food processor or blender. Blend it until smooth, along with the oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Warm the greens.Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the dressing and warm it for about two minutes. Add the shallot and cook for another three to five minutes, until it’s soft.
Serve the salad.Arrange the dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them. Toss the salad until the greens are coated. Toss in the toasted nuts, season with pepper, and serve.
- You can also make this salad with a variety of greens, such as spinach, arugula, endive, cabbage, frisée, kale and radicchio.
- When you add the nuts at the end, you can also sprinkle in a small handful of currants for an additional texture and flavor.
- If you picked your own dandelion greens from the garden for this salad, pick the flowers as well and use them to garnish the salad, as they are also edible.
Adding Dandelion Greens to Other Dishes
Add them to lasagna and pastas.Many pasta dishes, especially vegetable ones, come with greens and other vegetables, but more often than not the only green used is spinach. To change things up a little, consider replacing the spinach with dandelion greens next time you make:
- Stuffed shells
- Vegetable lasagna
- Penne arrabbiata, which is a spicy sauce made with garlic, tomatoes, and red chilies
Stir fry them.Stir fries are an easy and tasty way to pack a whole lot of vegetables and nutrients into a single meal. Stir fries are often made with vegetables like broccoli, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and greens. Try adding dandelion greens to your next stir fry, but be sure to add them in the final minutes of cooking.
Make them into pesto.Pesto is a sauce typically made from garlic, salt, pine nuts, basil, and cheese. All the ingredients get blended together to make a sauce or spread. Next time you're making pesto, consider substituting roasted pumpkin seeds for the pine nuts and dandelion greens for some or all of the basil.
Eat dandelion greens on a sandwich.When you order a BLT at a restaurant, you’ve probably come to expect a soggy, tasteless lettuce wedged between juicy tomato and crispy bacon. But next time you're making your own lunch or snack, take a little more time with the lettuce portion and consider using dandelion greens instead of romaine or traditional iceberg lettuce. Dandelion greens can be used to spice up:
QuestionI am about to clean the dandelion greens. Do I cut the root part off the end of the plant?Bruce Hase CooperCommunity AnswerAlthough the entire plant is edible the leaves are the best. The root is extremely bitter, and unless you like that sort of thing, it is best to be left out. Pick smaller or young leaves to give best taste cooked or raw. Make sure you wash them well before.Thanks!
- For a simple and fat-free side dish, steam the dandelion greens for a few minutes and serve them drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
- It's not wise to collect dandelion greens from just anywhere unless you know they haven't been treated with pesticides/herbicides.
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