That beautiful highly nutritious leaf in the picture above is Dandelion.
I know what you are thinking: Dandelion? Really? The invasive weed that I just spent hours pulling out in my garden?
Yes, dandelion is an invasive weed, but it’s also one that you can harvest and eat. It has so many benefits, including:
– Eight times more anti-oxidants, two times more calcium, three times more vitamin A, and five times more vitamin K and Vitamin E than Spinach. It’s not that you shouldn’t eat spinach, I just think you and Popeye didn’t get the memo that you should mix it up sometimes.
– Active plant chemicals (the ones that make it so bitter) that are really powerful detoxifiers for our liver, gallbladder and kidney. One study showed that dandelion can significantly improve the liver’s ability to clear toxins by 244%!
I think you can agree that no other plant does it like Dandelion. With all the environmental toxins we ingest through air pollutants, pesticides and herbicides from food (not to mention the weekend booze), our organs definitely take a beating. My solution? Get a little bite of “dent-de-lion” (teeth of a lion), as the french would say, in your diet to reap the detoxifying benefits.
If its the bitterness of Dandelion that is holding you back, give the recipe below a try. Ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper dampen the bitterness so you can actually enjoy this mighty vegetable.
2 1/2 pound dandelion greens from your backyard, a forest or the farmers market
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (remember the fats in olive oil will help you absorb more the leaves nutrients)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (dampens the bitterness)
1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (dampens the bitterness)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Trim off thickest part of the stems and discard along with any tough leaves. Roughly chop remaining greens and transfer to a large salad bowl.
- Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic and hazelnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper.
- Pour hot vinaigrette over greens and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- So with just a few extra ingredients, a little heat and a some effort on your part, you can turn Dandelion, a naturally unpalatable, bitter green into a delicious and nutritious side dish.
Tasty foods and healthy foods are not mutually exclusive . . . so enjoy your Supergreen!