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5 Dandelion Greens Recipes for Salad & More

By Heather Levin

dandelionsIn the first part of this series, I talked about some of the incredible cost and health benefits of eating dandelions as well as how to harvest various components of this common weed including dandelion leaves, greens, flowers, and roots.

In this next post, I want to cover how to cook dandelions, and go over some of my favorite recipes. Most of these recipes are virtually free when it comes to expenses, especially given the fact that dandelions grow wild in many of our backyards, and for those of us who don’t have dandelions growing, they are inexpensive to harvest.

First, let me start by reiterating a point I made earlier: the older a dandelion plant gets, the more bitter it’s going to taste. Its age, therefore, will guide you on how it’s best cooked. For example, young dandelion greens can be eaten raw on salads. On the other hand, older greens (which are always larger in size) should be blanched or steamed to remove the bitterness.

Dandelion Recipes

1. Sauteed Dandelions with Olive Oil, Lemon and Garlic

This is hands down my favorite way to eat dandelion greens. The recipe works best with young to medium-age (and sized) dandelion greens.

Ingredients:

  • washed dandelion greens (as many as you want to eat – I usually cook several large handfuls at once)
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • high quality salt (I use either Himalayan Pink or Black Lava, both of which are very flavorful)
  • fresh lemon

Directions:

  1. Heat a good dollop of olive oil, and a bit of the garlic, in a non-stick skillet.
  2. Once the garlic has become flavorful, add your dandelion greens. Cook them on medium-high until they’re nicely wilted, just like you’d cook spinach. This will take 3-5 minutes. It’s important not to overcook the greens because you’ll lose nutrients the longer they stay on the stove.
  3. Once they’re done, sprinkle just a bit of high quality salt on the greens, spritz with fresh lemon juice, and you’re good to go! They’re wonderful to eat plain like this, as a side, and they’re also delicious on pasta.

You can also add Parmesan cheese, red pepper, capers, chopped onion, or any other ingredients that strike your fancy.

Sautéing dandelion greens is a great way to cook them because they keep a lot of their nutrients with this method.

2. Boiled Dandelion Greens

Boiling dandelion greens works better for larger, older leaves. The reason is because boiling the greens removes the bitterness, although it does take a bit longer.

If you do decide to boil the leaves, be sure to save the remaining water. It’s not only full of nutrients, but it also aids your digestive system.

When you boil the leaves, you’ll need to boil them twice. So drop the leaves in boiling water and leave them in for 2 minutes. Then drain the water (remember to save it for yourself) and boil again for 2 minutes. The double-boil method will remove a lot of the bitterness in older greens. If you’re boiling young greens, you’ll likely only need to boil them once.

Once you’ve boiled your greens you can add butter or heavy cream and lemon for a creamy, delicious side dish!

dandelion salad

3. Fried Dandelion Flowers

Fried dandelion flowers taste similar to morel mushrooms. They’re very tasty!

Ingredients:

  • dandelion blossoms with green base and stems removed (leave enough of the base on to hold the flower together)
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Soak the dandelion flowers in a bowl of cool salt water to remove any bugs or debris. After they’ve soaked for around 1/2 hour, take them out of the water and gently blot the excess moisture away.
  2. Heat enough oil to fry the dandelions you have.
  3. While the oil is heating, make a batter using the milk, salt, egg and flour. Dip each flower into the batter, and toss it into the oil once it’s popping hot. Fry until they’re lightly browned.
  4. Use a paper towel to gently blot away excess grease, and serve immediately. Yum!

4. Dandelion Greens Salad

I love eating young dandelion greens fresh in a salad. And really, you can make the salad however you want. I often combine young dandelion greens with other lettuces like spinach for a delicious mix.

You can also add:

  • finely chopped red onion
  • fresh basil
  • grape tomatoes
  • goat cheese
  • pears
  • walnuts
  • apples
  • hardboiled eggs
  • anything else that sounds delicious!

I always use a basic olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing on my salads (which is cheap and low in calories).

Remember, dandelion greens are best eaten raw before they produce a yellow flower.

5. Dandelion Root Coffee

Ok, I know many of you are going to look at this recipe with a raised eyebrow and a high dose of skepticism. But people have been roasting dandelion root as a coffee substitute for centuries. I have a bag of dried dandelion root in my kitchen right now, and I can tell you that it truly does taste like coffee. The biggest difference is that dandelion root is more bitter (tasting much like New Orleans’ style chicory coffee). It’s also caffeine free, and contains more antioxidants and nutrients than regular coffee.

Roasting dandelion root is really easy. It’s best to dig up the root in the spring, which is when the roots have the most nutrients.

Here’s how to roast the root for coffee:

  1. Once you’ve dug up a fair-sized pile of dandelion roots, wash them in the sink or in a bucket of water. They’ll be full of dirt, so you’ll likely have to scrub them a few times to get all the dirt off.
  2. While you’re washing, preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Once the roots are clean, chop them into small chunks. Then put them in a bowl of water and scrub them one more time.
  4. Place the roots on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven to dry. Leave the oven door open slightly to let moisture escape. You’ll want to stir them frequently to make sure they’re drying evenly and they don’t burn. The drying process will take at least two hours. As the roots dry they’ll shrink and turn to a pretty brown color. Make sure they don’t burn!
  5. Once the roots are roasted, let them cool completely. Then, store them in a sealed glass mason jar. To make the coffee, use 1 teaspoon of roots for every cup of water. You can put them in the coffee pot, or put them in a tea infuser and add boiling water. In my opinion, adding hot milk takes away the slight bitterness and makes for a truly wonderful cup of dandelion coffee!

Final Word

These are just a few of the basic recipes I use when cooking dandelions. There are a ton of other recipes online, many of which are far fancier than these, that you could try.

I’d love to hear back from you about this! Do you have any dandelion recipes you’d like to share?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

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  • http://takepillsdie.blogspot.com Andrew Cauthen

    thank you! dandelions grow through concrete!

    • I like dandelions

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! DONT USE DANDELIONS IN CONCRETE! EW! USE FRESH FIELD DANDELIONS!

  • Kkosbakken

    Exciting!

  • Cheuimay

    I am juicing them and it’s summer, so they’re really bitter. I know in Chinese cooking there’s a lot of greens and many of them are bitter raw and become much sweeter cooked. Can’t wait to incorporate this into my diet.

  • Kiri_maree

    Dandelion leaves are otherwise known to Maori as “puha” (pooh-hah). Sometimes rubbing the greens together will remove some of the bitterness before boiling : )

    • Heatherllevin

      Kiri, that’s a great tip; thank you!

  • Velk

    I pick the dandylion leaves and roots in the spring and chop them and dry them and mix them with other natural herbs to make a breakfast herbal tea. My husband has this tea every a m

  • gee

    I love dandelion greens! I pick them wild, or pull them to use the whole plant. I bring to a boil, throw out the water, and repeat this usually one, two or three times until most of the bitter is gone. I have made a facial toner from the flowers, made dandelion wine, dried and ground the roots for a hot drink, however, I really like them just cooked like greens and cook a pan of cornbread to go with them. Sometimes I drizzle the greens with some homemade chili pequin pepper sauce. It adds a little heat and a nicer vinegary taste to the dandelion greens. My mom taught me how to make the peppersauce when I was a kid and we used the bottled sauces in all three our restaurants . Nothing tastes quite as good as a pot of dandelion greens! I am preparing them now. I prefer our wild dandelions over the bought ones but we are in another year of drouth here in South Texas. I do like your recipes & hope to find some flowers for frying soon. Gee

  • http://www.facebook.com/benfaust8778 Ben Faust

    I find it amazing how many “disclaimers” there are on almost all the articles I’ve read about eating dandelions, warning about the bitterness, or saying “if you’re adventurous, try eating them.” We’ve become so used to the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet, which really is SAD), that we reject things that are incredibly good for us, and have grown up thinking “good for you” means “yucky.” The only hesitation I would have about eating dandelions, root to flower, out of my yard, is that we live fairly close to a road and don’t know what poisons the previous tenants might have used. But rejecting the “factory-produced and highly-processed is normal while totally natural is weird” mentality with which so many of us have been poisoned is a good first step toward living a longer, healthier, and happier life. With that attitude, I enjoy even the fully-grown greens, bitterness and all, because from them I get life. And with a proper frame of mind, life tastes good!

  • Deb Vaughn

    Last year I picked milkweed and flash froze it. Amazing how good it is. Very much like spinach on an asparagus stem! Now I’m going to try dandelions. We live in a 12 acre pasture with lots of wild stuff growing. Anyone know what to do with a yellow flower that I think is mustard weed?

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