Over here at MBG, we are really into eating with the seasons. Despite being a sustainable choice, it keeps cooking exciting (you have to somehow figure out how to eat that fall rutabaga and those spring nettles), and vegetables just taste better when they’re at their peak.
Kale is great, but it’s a cold-weather crop we’ve been eating all winter. Enter the dandelion green.
Part of the bitter green family with a slew of health benefits, though it’s not as mainstream as kale or collards, we find it to be just as versatile. Below, we lend 10 unique ways to start eating dandelion greens this season.
FYI, the recipes here purposefully casual, giving you the gist of how to use dandelion greens for each preparation listed. And for any of the recipes where the greens are cooked, you can soak them in salted water for 10 minutes before cooking to remove some of the bitterness if desired.
1. Chopped + wilted in quinoa pasta with garlic + anchovies
Get yourself some dandelion greens and give them a good rough chop. Cook your quinoa pasta. Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the garlic cloves and anchovy, breaking up the filets with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and fragrant, about a minute. When the pasta is ready, add it to the sauté pan with the greens over medium heat. Toss to coat and slightly wilt the greens. Season with salt, parmesan, parsley, etc., as desired.
2. White bean + dandelion green pesto
Grab a can of cannellini beans, half a bunch of dandelion greens, handful of parsley and basil, a lemon, a heaping tablespoon of tahini, couple garlic cloves, a pinch of cumin, and some olive oil. Place the beans, greens, lemon juice, garlic, tahini paste and cumin in a food processor. Start pulsing and slowly drizzle in olive oil until smooth but still a bit chucky. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
3. Mean, lean, dandelion green smoothie
You’ll need some dandelion greens, frozen or fresh mixed berries, coconut water, chia seeds and some yogurt. Blend until smooth.
4. Boiled with lemon + olive oil
Grab a bunch of dandelion greens, some lemon and olive oil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add greens. Boil for 6-10 minutes until cooked. Drain well. Plate and dress with salt, lemon and olive oil as desired.
5. Added to vegetable or bone broth for a light summer soup
You’ll need some broth, some greens and mushrooms and or tofu to your liking. Heat your broth on the stove. Once the broth is at a low simmer, at the greens, mushroom and tofu. Simmer for a few minutes until mushrooms are soft and greens are wilted. We love to whisk in a tablespoon of white miso in the vegetable broth for a richer flavor.
6. Sautéed with garlic + red pepper
Get a bunch of dandelion greens, a couple pinches of dried red pepper and slice a couple cloves of garlic. Heat some olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, add the garlic cloves and red pepper and cook until soft and fragrant, about a minute. Add the greens and toss to mix with the oil, garlic and pepper. Sautee until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Raw dandelion greens salad with red onion, pears, walnuts + citrus vinaigrette
You’ll need a bunch of raw dandelion greens, roughly chopped, some red onion, very thinly sliced, a pear thinly sliced and some crushed walnuts. For the dressing, you’ll need the juices of an orange and a lemon, some olive oil and salt and pepper, which you’ll whisk together and sweeten with some raw honey if desired. Throw the salad ingredients together and dress. (If you have some goat or blue cheese and are into this kind of thing, go ahead and add it — the creaminess and the flavors will work well here).
8. Wilted dandelion greens salad with butternut squash, quinoa + avocado
Get yourself some cubes of roasted butternut squash, cooked quinoa, a ripe avocado, some dandelion greens and coconut oil. Add a small amount of coconut oil in a frying plan over medium heat and add greens. Cook for about a minute until just barley wilted. Place the squash, the quinoa and sliced avocado on top of the wilted greens. Dress lightly with dressing of choice.
9. Chopped + wilted in brown rice with chickpeas + tamari
Grab some brown rice, dandelion greens, cooked chickpeas, (untoasted) sesame oil or coconut oil and tamari. Cook your brown rice according to package instructions. Whether you’re using a rice cooker or boiling stovetop, add the dandelion greens to the rice about 5 minutes before rice is done. Plate and add chickpeas, oil and tamari to your liking (if you have some scallions, chop these up and add them in also).
10. Dandelion green chips
Get some dandelion greens coconut oil and sea salt. Heat to oven to 350ºF. Place the greens on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with a small amount of coconut oil and sea salt. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until crispy.
Photo by Vanessa Rees