(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
Everything in this salad looks really delicious! I have considered eating the dandelion greens I pull from my yard, but mine look so scraggly, they aren’t lush like yours. I have also been toying with the idea of making dandelion wine, but it takes a LOT of flowers, and I don’t have enough blooming at once.
Thanks Lise! I hadn’t considered that mine were lush… but I guess maybe the are! It may help that most of the ones I pick are scattered in flower beds around the edges of the yard where they have some room to grow (which is why they need to be dealt with before they take over). In terms of dandelion wine that would be awesome! Here in Kitchener/Waterloo there are some nice yards that are FULL of dandelions, so maybe I should raid some of them and try it! Let me know if you find a recipe that looks good 🙂
Okay you win, I am ready to discover, but which dandelions are edible? can I actually go to my backyard right now and make this salad? Please educate me. I came running thinking it had real bacon, now I see it’s parsnip bacon. I must say it looks like the real bacon. Hope it tastes like the real bacon too!!! Thanks for visiting my blog. Have a pleasant day and a great week!
Well, you want younger dandelions, ones that haven’t flowered yet. Check for edibility by tasting a small bite. If you can’t handle it plain then it’s probably not the best one. After cold weather they do taste better so today might be a good morning. I’d pick in the morning as that is the rule for lettuce (sweeter in the am). And sorry but the parsnips will just taste like nice crispy sweet root veggies, not bacon! I didn’t come up with the name and frankly it’s a bit misleading, eh? Of course the salad would be quite good with bacon too, so make it that way if you prefer and use some of the drippings in the salad dressing, that would really be good!
Thanks for the dandelion tips. I love roasted veggies so i would make the salad just the way it is. I like experiencing new things so not a problem at all for me. I don’t think the name is misleading because you have clearly stated and put it in quotes, One always sees what they want to see…so I saw bacon. Thanks again!