By now, everybody has heard about the importance of eating your greens. Green smoothies, green pasta, green moustaches all over the place, it seems as though greens are taking over the culinary world. Which is awesome. Now that we are getting so used to inviting our leafy greens to the party, we should be looking at variety and rotation.
Enter dandelion greens, a particularly nutrient-dense green, PACKED full of anti-oxidants, and often overlooked. They taste fresh, green and bitter (is this why we forget about them?), and bitter vegetables are generally celebrated for their support of the liver. Culinarily speaking, you will mostly find them in Mediterranean cuisine, often spending time with sweet foods such as balsamic vinegar, caramelized onions, garlic or dried fruits to balance out some of the bitter. If you have yet to warmly embrace the natural bitterness found in some foods, this is a really good way to get your feet wet.
The cancer thriver needs to be a little more careful of their sweet food intake, so it is best to pair dandelion greens with something that came out of the ground already sweet. Without going straight to the fruit-volumes of sweet, think root vegetables, winter squash, onions, ripe tomatoes or peppers.
A dandelion green pesto can be a very versatile condiment to have on hand to add to various dishes, a green, liver-loving punch. A simple, clean recipe would include a half of a bunch of greens, some garlic, a handful of raw and preferably, soaked nuts or seeds (I used pumpkin seeds -hello zinc for your immune system and plant-sourced omega-3s), a splash of e.v. olive oil, lemon (zest and juice) and some dulse (natural minerals, remember? Not enough to really taste it) and enough water to bring it all together in a in a blender or food processor.
It tastes great as it is, but here are some creative ideas if you are still getting to know each other. Serve on some oven-roasted tomatoes, toss with roast yam noodles or on a baked yam, toss with roasted beets or parsnips, fill the avocado hole with it, add to a salad dressing headed for a carrot & beet salad, and the easiest of all – freeze into ice cube trays and finish any soup with it (sweet potato, tomato, butternut squash, rutabaga & leek…). Dandelion greens aren’t very strong in flavour, so it’s easy to take this pesto to other areas of the world like Asia, by adding a good handful of cilantro or Thai basil, take it to Italy with sweet basil, or to the delicious Middle East with some parsley.
Eventually, dandelion greens will be seen everywhere that your other healthy greens are, in your salads, smoothies, veggie burgers or dipped ‘au natural’ into some hummus.