I’m sure by now you’ve all heard how important it is to eat your green leafy vegetables.It’s also good to rotate through as many varieties of greens as possible to ensure you are getting varied nutrition into your diet. A good rule of thumb is try to eat the greens as they are in season. Dandelion greens are one that I don’t tend to use very often in my home. They are usually included in small amounts in mesclun, as they have a very bitter taste. In an effort to benefit from the rich array of vitamins and minerals in dandelion greens I came up with a wonderfully simple salad that my whole family enjoys! I paired with one of our favorite dressings; Ginger Vinaigrette. The Vinaigrette adds just enough sweetness to complement the bitterness of the greens!
Dandelion greens are a good source of Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese. Wow! Read more here on the exact break down in just one cup of Dandelion greens! Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of too much fluid, also helping to remove toxins out of your system. The leaves are also used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. Herbalists praise dandelions as one of the greatest tonic herbs of all time, as the entire plant is both restorative and rejuvenating!
In order to assimilate all the vitamins and minerals in these nutrient rich greens you will need to pair them with good fat. Fats are needed to actually absorb the minerals in the foods you consume. Not to mention, make sure you have good digestive function, such as stomach acid (read more here) and fat digestion (read more here). Greens are also very alkalizing to the body and can help to keep overall pH of the body normalized.
The youngest and most tender dandelion greens will add an exciting bite to any spring salad. The slightly older and more fibrous leaves are best braised or added to soups. You can likely find fresh dandelion greens available in the spring, but health food stores may carry them other times of the year. It just depend on what your local farms have to offer. It is important to purchase organically grown greens to avoid high-nitrate commercial fertilizers. The leaves can be infused for tea, steamed, or added to raw salads.
- 3 cups dandelion greens, torn
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 head of leaf lettuce
- 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ -1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- A few handfuls of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes (optional)
- Toss all ingredients in a bowl.
- Serve with my Ginger Vinaigrette (see link to recipe below).
Another way you can use dandelion greens is to simply saute them. Use 1 bunch of dandelion greens, chopped and heat some good fat, (such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee or bacon fat), add some chopped garlic or garlic shoots and gently saute for 2 minutes. Then add the dandelion greens; saute until just wilted, another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and a drizzle of vinegar. Makes a great side dish to complete any meal.
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