Take a step outside and breath in that fresh spring air! Let your eye wander until you catch sight of budding crab apple. Bring your gaze back in close to the green grass near your feet. Likely as not, the happy tufts of bright yellow dandelion will greet you. Though avid gardeners may be less than thrilled to find these hearty little plants taking root in their lovingly tended vegetable beds, the dandelion itself is a vegetable and when life gives you dandelions… well, you know the rest!
Dandelions are very nutritious and can be enjoyed a number of ways. Check out the recipes below for healthy and all-natural spring dishes that feature dandelions!
Dandelion Leaf Tea: Preheat oven to 200F. Wash the dandelion leaves and arrange in one layer on a baking tray. (10 small leaves yields about 1 tsp. of dried, crumbled leaves, which serves 1). Place in oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the leaves are dry and crispy. When ready to steep, crumble the leaves and remove the fibrous midribs. Place crumbled tea leaves in a tea ball, or tea strainer. Infuse for about 5 minutes before drinking. Try over ice for a refreshing twist. Experiment by mixing with fruit (fresh or frozen), or honey. Garnish with a dandelion flower, or petals.
Dandelion Flower Fritters: For a cup or so of freshly picked dandelion heads, combine one egg, one cup of milk, and one cup of flour. Add a little syrup, or honey for sweetness, if you prefer. Warm a few tablespoons of the oil of your choice in a skillet over medium heat. Dip flower heads into the batter until covered and drop into skillet. Fry until lightly browned and flip to brown reverse side. When browned on both sides, remove from skilled and drain the excess oil using a paper towel. The fritters can be enjoyed sweet with maple syrup, honey, jam, or powdered sugar. Try adding herbs to the batter for savory fritters and enjoy with mustard.
Dandelion Greens: Discard dandelion green roots; wash greens well in salted water. Cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook greens uncovered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile pepper in oil. Drain greens; add to onion garlic mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve dandelion greens with grated Parmesan cheese. (serves 4)
1 pound dandelion greens
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed, crushed
1/4 cup cooking oil
salt and pepper
Did you know: The dandelion is named after the shape of its leaves. The word “dandelion” actually comes from a French expression (dent de lion), which literally means “lion’s tooth.”