You will love this dandelion salad! Use this nutritious wild plant in this easy recipe and customize it to your liking.
Dandelion salad is a classic spring dish.
If you think of dandelions as a weed, I highly encourage you to give this humble green another chance. You might even catch two birds with one stone: dig up this “weed” and eat it.
There are so many ways to use dandelions in your kitchen and home. This easy dandelion salad is such a quick and easy way to enjoy these wild greens.
People enjoyed eating dandelion greens during the great depression because they were free and healthy. Food was very limited and many families ate whatever they could find.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- easy to make
- fresh dandelion greens can be abundant
- if you pick wild herbs, they don’t cost anything
- it’s delicious
- it’s very healthy
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Where to find dandelion greens
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are unfortunately considered a weed by most people. However, all three parts of this plant are edible: the leaves, the flowers, and the roots.
Once you are keyed into what they look like, you tend to find them everywhere.
• In the wild:
If you can find them growing wild, you want to pick them away from busy streets or where dogs relieve themselves.
• In parks:
Finding dandelions in your neighborhood park can be a great way to harvest them. Just make sure that nobody has used any weed killer on them.
• In your own backyard:
If you have been trying to get rid of these dark leafy greens, you might now embrace and cultivate them.
• At farmer’s markets:
Depending on where you live, you might find them at your local farmer’s market.
• In grocery stores:
I have seen them in an organic food grocery store in our area but I think that is the exception.
For this salad, we’ll be using the leaves of the dandelions. But you can always add a pop of color to your salad by sprinkling some dandelion petals on it.
Why eat dandelion greens?
Dandelion leaves are bitter. However, that is in part what makes them so good for you. Not only is bitter very healthy for your bile flow, your kidneys, your liver, and your stomach, but these wild plants are one of the most nutrient-dense greens. Full of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, they are also very low in calories.
If you are new to this flavor, make sure that you pick very young leaves as they will be less bitter. The older and bigger they get, the more bitter they become.
Many people start enjoying the peppery dandelion greens once they get used to it. I certainly have come to love the bitter flavor!
Here’s my basic recipe (read on for additions and substitutions):
- Fresh dandelions: these bitter greens are the star of this spring salad
- Dressing of oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper
- Parmesan: adding some freshly grated parmesan adds a gentle sweetness and umami
Helpful tools and equipment:
Other than what you already have in your kitchen I recommend you have a
- Salad spinner: This kitchen tool is a great way to wash and dry the dandelion greens.
Substitutions and Variations:
This is the fun part – adding or changing ingredients of the original recipe:
- Dandelion greens: If you don’t have a whole lot, you can simply add what you have to your regular green salad.
- Salad oil: My favorites are extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or pumpkin seed oil.
- Mustard: While I most often use Dijon mustard, you can also use whole-grain mustard or a honey ale mustard.
- Vinegar: Any vinegar is great, some of my favorites are apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or sherry vinegar.
- Maple syrup: I often add a bit of this natural sweetener to “round out” the flavor.
- Parmesan: I love the sweet nuttiness of this Italian cheese but you can also use on top or instead, feta cheese or goat cheese.
- Lemon: Adding a splash of lemon juice to this spring recipe will cut through the green and bitter taste.
- Extra ingredients: You might like to add some chopped nuts (think walnuts) or seeds (pumpkin seeds). You can add chopped green onions. some avocado, a poached egg, or dandelion flowers. If you like croutons on your green salads, adding them is a delicious way to make this salad a bit more substantial.
How to serve:
- our favorite way is to have it as a side dish to our main dishes
- you can make it a main course by adding some of the extra ingredients I mentioned above (avocado, poached eggs, nuts, seeds, croutons, etc).
How to Make the Dandelion Salad
1. Make the dressing:
You may already have your favorite vinaigrette. I always start with the 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. For this dandelion salad, I often use olive oil or avocado oil but I have also mixed olive oil and pumpkin seed oil. The latter is one of my favorites! You can use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar). Add some Dijon mustard, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Assemble the salad:
- Thoroughly wash and dry the dandelion leaves (I prefer a salad spinner to get out as much excess liquid as possible). You want the leaves to be as dry as possible so that the dressing can stick to the greens.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dandelion greens with the dressing.
- Mix all the ingredients until the dandelion leaves are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Grate the parmesan cheese over the salad and toss to combine.
- Add any additional ingredients you like.
- Serve immediately.
- 2 big handfuls dandelion leaves (young ones are less bitter)
- 3 TBSP oil (olive or avocado)
- 1 TBSP vinegar (apple cider or sherry)
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 TBSP freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Thoroughly wash and dry the dandelion leaves.
- In a small bow, mix the remaining ingredients, except the parmesan, until well combined and creamy. Adjust the taste.
- In a large bowl, mix the dandelion leaves with the vinaigrette until evenly coated.
- Add the parmesan.
- Serve immediately.
- if you don’t have enough dandelion greens to make a salad you can also add whatever you have to your regular green salad
- you can add diced avocado, poached or boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, and/or croutons