(Alternate Title: What to do with all the dandelions that you’ve been weeding!)
Before this year I had never really accepted dandelions as an edible plant. Okay, so I knew that they were edible but I hadn’t bothered trying them. I believe that the main inspiration in finally trying them this year came from Chef Jeff Crump’s cookbook Earth to Table, which reads at times more like a manifesto than a cookbook, and that’s what I love about it! Here’s one quote:
“This is not about sacrifice (something I confess I have little talent for), it’s about discovery. And what you discover may well be right around the corner, or just outside your door.” (Jeff Crump, Earth to Table, p.14)
Having “discovered” them just outside my door, and subsequently having tried them I’m hooked! Here are four reasons why you should try some dandelion greens!
Dandelions and their greens are:
- Free (although I have seen them at markets).
- Growing abundantly everywhere!
- Not only edible, they are quite delicious!
- Very high in nutrients!
Well, that’s enough for me. But what to do with them? Either mix them into your salads with other greens, make a dandelion pesto pizza, or an alternate version of spanakopita, or make an all-dandelion green salad, like the one that follows!
Dandelion Salad with Parsnip “Bacon”
One thing I should point out is that dandelion greens are bitter, sort of like arugula but with less spiciness. To balance the bitterness you need something sweet and a fat. The parsnip “bacon” (original recipe) and the candied pecans provided that for me! I think cranberries or another fruit would have been quite good on this salad too!
- Large bowl full of dandelion greens (preferably from plants that aren’t yet flowering)
- 1 parsnip, peeled
- ½ cup pecans/walnuts/heartnuts (candied if you like)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs. oil
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice or wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. mustard (spicy or plain)
- 1 Tbs. Maple Syrup
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 300. To make the parsnip “bacon” use a peeler to cut long thin slices of parsnip. Oil a baking sheet and place the slices of parsnip on it. Brush the top of the parsnip with a small amount of oil and spring salt on top. Place parchment paper or a silicon mat over the parsnip, and then place a second baking sheet on top (if you have lots of parsnips you may need to two a double layer which is what I did). Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the “bacon” is beginning to brown.
Make the salad dressing and drizzle half of it on the greens and toss them together. Top the greens with the parsnip and the nuts.
(To candy the nuts put them in a pan with a teaspoon of oil, a tablespoon of maple syrup, and a dash of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to coat the nuts. Remove from heat when the syrup has mostly evaporated or caramelized, and allow to cool.) Top with the thinly sliced green onion, drizzle the rest of the dressing on top and enjoy!
Update: Another use for Dandelion Greens
Linking up at Tempt My Tummy