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Recipe for Dandelion Salad

Marcy writes about cooking, hobbies, and many other topics. She has published hundreds of articles online and in newspapers and magazines.

Dandelion salads are attractive and full of nutrition

Dandelion salads are attractive and full of nutrition

Are Dandelion Greens Edible?

Before you get mad at those persistent yellow blooms popping up uninvited in your yard, take a look at the vitamins and minerals you might end up tossing into the compost heap.

Yes, dandelion greens are not only edible, they're tasty and are a good alternative to other greens.

You can turn this 'annoying' weed into a tasty salad for a vitamin-packed (low calorie!) lunch or to serve the entire family at dinner. And you can educate the kids about the history of using these plants for food.

Many people love the tangy (slightly biting) taste of these greens—although some feel the leaves are bitter. With the wide variety of greens eaten these days, you will likely find the flavor to resemble some of the 'designer' taste you'll find in mixed-greens salads.

Dandelions have been eaten for centuries; why not add them to your diet today!

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Preparation time

Prep timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min

Serves Four (1-1/2 cups of salad)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Fresh Dandelion Greens, Chopped or torn in pieces
  • 1-2 large or 12 salad-size Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 1 medium Cucumber, Sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup (optional) Pumpkin Seeds, Toasted (if desired)
  • 1/4 Cup (optional) Sliced Almonds, Toasted (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Pick at 4 or more cups of fresh dandelion greens (look for young and tender greens before flowers bloom for best flavor). NOTE: Avoid using greens that have been exposed to pesticides!
  2. Carefully wash and clean the greens, getting rid of any yellowed or blemished leaves. Wash tomatoes and onion and allow to dry briefly on paper towels.
  3. If desired, chop or tear greens into bite-sized pieces; leaves may also be used whole.
  4. Arrange greens on 4 plates, add sliced/chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber, and rings of red onion.
  5. Garnish with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, or other favorite salad additions.

Video: Eating Dandelions!

Traditional Food and Medicinal Uses for Dandelions

This hardy weed, commonly seen across lawns in the United States (especially northern states), Canada, and Europe, has been eaten for centuries. Early settlers in the United States used the herb's roots for tonics (it is said to help liver ailments), and to make an inexpensive wine from the blooms.

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The leaves of dandelions have points on each side, which gave the plant the source of its name, since people thought it looked like a lion's mane.

Colonists used the herb to help digestion, as a mild laxative and to ease 'dropsy,' remove warts, help freckles fade, and soothe blisters. Some people claimed it would help grow hair on the head and eyebrows.

In addition to making salads with the tender greens, you can boil them (as you would spinach or okra) for a side dish. The roots can be boiled and eaten, too.

Some people like to bread and fry the blossoms (but remove the green part of the blossom). Finally, you can make a type of coffee from this plant!

What Type of Dressing Goes With Dandelion Salad?

This salad works well with a variety of dressings. A light vinaigrette (with an olive oil base) would set off the flavors well.

Since the greens have a distinct flavor, taste a bite or two before deciding on which dressing you or your family will like best. You will want to enhance the natural flavor without making it over-powering by flavors that can add to the bite or tangy taste your greens might have.

Note: Your greens may taste differently each time you try this salad—the age of the plant and how far into the growing season the leaves are harvested will make a difference in the flavors.

Older greens, especially if picked from a plant that has already flowered, can have a bitter flavor. For best results, try not to compete with the natural flavor of the leaves, or you'll get too harsh a combination.

As mentioned above, choose your dressing to complement the flavors of the greens you've just picked. You can choose a blander dressing to tone down the bite of the leaves (if any) or one with a slight bit of tang to enhance the natural taste.

Nutritional Content: 1 Cup Dandelion Greens

A cup of chopped dandelion greens has about 25 calories and is loaded with important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

NutrientAmount% Recommended Daily Value

Vitamin A

5588 IU

112%

Vitamin C

19.3 mg

32%

Vitamin E

1.9 mg

9%

Vitamin K

428 mcg

535%

Niacin

0.4 mg

2%

Riboflavin

0.1 mg

8%

Vitamin B-6

0.1 mg

7%

Thiamin

0.1 mg

7%

Calcium

103 mg

10%

Iron

1.7 mg

9%

Potassium

218 mg

6%

Manganese

0.2 mg

9%

Phosphorus

36.3 mg

4%

Magnesium

19.8 mg

5%

Zinc

0.2 mg

2%

Sodium

41.8 mg

2%

Fiber

1.9 g

8%

Carbohydrates

5.1 g

2%

What about you?

Serving Ideas for Dandelion Salad

This salad packs a lot of nutrition all its own, but you can turn it into a balanced meal by adding a hard-boiled egg cut into quarters to each serving, or use the salad as an accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish. Include fresh fruit for dessert, and the meal is complete.

For a cooling meal on a hot day, serve it with other cold salads such as potato or macaroni salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, or three-bean salad.

Add some crusty rolls or whole-grain crackers for texture, and you have an interesting and reviving summer meal of cold salads!

Turn your summer dinner into an educational opportunity! For a fun mealtime discussion with your kids, have them watch the video before you serve the salad and ask them what they think about the ways this 'weed' has been used for food and medicine.

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