A couple of weeks ago I posted a new recipe using broccoli rabe. I had made broccoli rabe a few times before, but this most recent experience had me thinking, “What other greens and vegetables have I been ignoring?” So I promised myself that the next time I went to the supermarket, I’ll approach the vegetable aisle with a growth mindset; I would seek out a new veggie challenge even if I didn’t know what the outcome would be. That is how I ended up with my first bunch of dandelion greens (Taraxacum officinale). I had seen these greens before and easily ignored them because, you know, they’re weeds. Why on earth would I spend my money to buy weeds?
Nutrition & Health Benefits
It turns out that dandelion greens are pretty nutritious. Let’s start with the basics. Here’s what 100g (3.5 Oz) of raw dandelion greens contains:
- 45 Calories
- 9.2g of carbs (3.5g of fiber), 2.7g of protein and 0.7g of fats
- 203% (DV) Vitamin A
- 973% (DV) Vitamin K
- 58% (DV) Vitamin C
- 15% (DV) Riboflavin
- 13% (DV) Vitamin B6
In addition, there are several studies that have investigated the health benefits of dandelion greens. The phytonutrients of dandelion greens have been shown to have potential “diuretic, choleretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-coagulatory and prebiotic effects”. One study showed that an extract from the dandelion plant has “anti-angiogenic, acute anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activities”. Meaning, it maybe useful in treating/preventing tumors, blocking the sensation of pain and reducing our bodies’ inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.
Nutrition Disclaimer: Upon reading some of the studies on dandelion greens, I noticed that their findings were based on “simulations” and not necessarily human subjects. I still think these studies are an excellent start to proving the centuries of anecdotal evidencethat supports the medicinal benefits of these greens.
Managing the Yummy Bitterness
Dandelion greens, like mustard greens and turnip greens, do have a bitter flavor to them that I love! However, if you want to reduce the bitterness here’s what you can do:
- Use young, small dandelion greens. The larger greens contain more of the beneficial, but bitter, chemicals. The smaller greens are also better for salads or other recipes where they are eaten raw.
- Boil your greens for about 3 to 5 minutes before combining them with other cooked ingredients.
Now, let’s get cooking. I combined my dandelion greens with other ingredients that have robust flavors; specifically, a lot of the garlic and some ginger. Try out this recipe and let me know what you think. It is vegan and gluten-free.
Prep Time: 10 minutes . Cook Time: 15 minutes . Yield: Serves 4
1 Lb Dandelion Greens, washed
8 Oz Baby Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp Ginger root, minced
1 Cup Shallots, sliced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
A Dash or two of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Black Pepper to taste
1. Wash dandelion greens & cut off ends. Coarsely cut greens into halves or thirds (smaller pieces are easier to eat).
2. Bring a medium size pot of salted water to boil. Add dandelion greens and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Immediately after boiling the greens, plunge them into cold water to stop them from cooking. You can also run them under cold water.
3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic, ginger and shallots. Cook until fragrant and shallots are a bit caramelized. Add mushrooms and cook for until golden. Stir in tomatoes; cook until tomatoes are soft
4. Add dandelion greens; toss veggies until well mixed. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!