Recently, while perusing vegetable stands at my favorite farmer’s market, I came across some gorgeous, as fresh as can be, bright green Dandelion greens. I bought a big bunch without any clue as to what I was going to do with it. And a few hours later, after devouring one of the most delicious salad combinations I’ve ever tasted, I was so glad that I did.
As I was putting my new purchases away, I noticed I still had quite a bit of spinach that I wanted to use up. Plus I had some Tahini dressing left in the fridge and behind me on the counter, there were some perfectly ripe tangelos in my fruit basket. Clearly there was a salad just waiting to be made!
Dandelion greens can be slightly bitter, so I knew I had to add a few sweet components. How about some caramelized onions with a bit of brown sugar?
Avocado is just so good with citrus, so I threw that in. Gotta have cheese in my salads, and I knew that Foggy Morning, a crumbly white cheese similar to goat by a wonderful California cheese maker, would complement the other ingredients flawlessly. I added Sunflower seeds for a nice crunch and the creamy Tahini was the perfect dressing for robust lettuce like spinach and dandelion. If you have some fresh sprouts (sunflower are particularly delicious here), throw some of those on top as well.
What a wonderful combination of ingredients! I’ve now made this salad twice and it’s my go to recipe when I come across fresh Dandelion greens.
Dandelion: can a weed really taste this good?
Yes it can! Dandelion is indeed a very common weed that can be found along the roadside, growing in lawns or along banks. Basically, all it needs to grow is moist soil. There are about 250 species of dandelion and it’s one of the most abundant weeds, mostly thanks to it’s extremely efficient seed spreading mechanism. Remember that fuzzy looking white flower that you’d pick up and easily blow all the “petals” off of? It’s the dandelion seed head. All the fluffy white things on the stem are all seeds that get blown off the minute there’s a decent breeze and and fly off to start new growths. They even have built in “parachutes” that allow them to glide slowly while the wind pushes them further away. Pretty smart for a weed! Dandelion also has an interesting name origin. Because of it’s extremely sharp edged leaves, the plant was named Dent-de-lion, which literally translates to tooth-of-lion in Old French.
Dandelion greens are also full of health benefits and nutrients. Containing 4 times as much calcium as broccoli and double the amount of iron than spinach, they are a great, healthy choice for your next salad. Younger, smaller leaves tend to be a bit less bitter, so they’re better raw, while the larger leaves are delicious sautéed, steamed or in stirfries.
- Dandelion lettuce
- 1 red onion
- 1 Tangelo (or citrus of choice such as orange, tangerine, clementines)
- 1 Avocado
- Goat Cheese
- Sunflower seeds
- Green Sprouts of choice (optional)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Lemon Tahini Dressing
Heat olive oil over medium low heat in a sauté pan. Thinly slice the red onion and add to the pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cook, stirring often until onions are soft and caramelized (about 15 or 20 minutes). Don’t burn! If the pan gets to dry, add a bit of water.
Meanwhile, wash and spin dry the spinach and dandelion greens. Or use some paper towels to dry. Break the dandelion into smaller pieces and place the greens into a salad bowl. Sprinkle with some salt and fresh pepper and toss to distribute. Then add some dressing, just enough to coat all the leaves. Don’t add too much or it will become soggy. You can always add more if need be.
Slice some avocado and a tangelo, removing as much of the bitter white pith as possible. Separate the greens into individual serving bowls, top with some caramelized red onion, then with avocado, tangelo, sunflower seeds and crumbled goat cheese.
Add a few grinds of black pepper and a few Maldon flakes if you have it (large, flaky salt) to the veggies and drizzle a bit more tahini vinaigrette on top. Top with some sprouts if using. Enjoy!