Get Back at Dandelions – Include Them in Vegetarian Meal Plans
May 22 2012
The scourge of every lawn, the ubiquitous dandelion is seen as a pest by almost everyone…everyone except us cooks. While I’m not about to dispense lawn care advice I can tell you how you can get back at the dandelion for ruining your lawn…EAT THEM! That’s right! Include them in a meal planning recipe!
One of the first greens of the season every year is the dandelion. That lowly weed packs a nutritional wallop. One cup of dandelion greens contains 188% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K; 54% of your Vitamin A and lots of Calcium and Iron.
Dandelions help with digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat viruses, jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne. A relative to the sunflower, the dandelion boasts potent medicinal properties with laxative and diuretic properties (in French we call them pissenlit, which translates as: “wet the bed”).
These bittersweet greens are usually plentiful and affordable but must be picked before they flower or they’re just too bitter to eat. Now, I’m not suggesting you should go outside right now and dig up your lawn to create a meal planning recipe; you can often find dandelion greens at the farmer’s market or health food stores.
As I said, they are quite bitter tasting and therefore not everyone’s cup of tea. Dandelions can be used in vegetarian meal plans, like a salad either mixed with other greens or on their own or even in a stir fry. Because of their bitterness, most people tend to use a sweet-ish dressing with them. I like to dress them with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Be careful when tossing them in a vinaigrette, they tend to clump together very easily if you add too much dressing. Add a bit at a time and taste as you go.
They’re nutritious, plentiful and if you pick them out of your own lawn, free! And, you get a nice lawn out of the deal! What more could you ask for?