Tuesday, May 10, 2011
When I see masses of sunny yellow dandelions on lawns around the neighborhood, I don't think weeds. I think ... salad! Dandelions are in season during spring and summer. April and May are the best months to harvest them for making salads. Dandelion greens - available in your backyard or in some supermarkets - are bursting with healthy carotenoids and vitamins. Younger, smaller leaves will be the nicest, but you can eat any of the leaves. The greens have a peppery, slightly bitter flavor, which can be tamed with the addition of a good dressing. The greens go especially well with sweet tomatoes and salty feta cheese. I particularly like young dandelion leaves mixed into a salad with arugula and spinach. Make sure you know where your greens are from .. you don't want to harvest anything that has been sprayed with pesticides. Same with pets. Try making a salad from dandelion greens, and discover for yourself.
Top with your favorite dressing.
Prep Time: 10 Min
1/2 pound torn dandelion greens (or chicory)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Greek style low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium bowl, toss together dandelion greens, red onion, and tomatoes. Season with basil, salt, and pepper. Toss in the feta. Croutons are also a good addition. I dress this salad with my favorite vinaigrette. Hot bacon dressing is another good option.
My Favorite Basic Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing
3 Tbsp. favorite extra light olive oil (I use Carapelli)
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (I use Alessi)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper
Squirt of lime juice (optional)
Shake well and pour over greens. Toss well.
Yes, dandelions are safe to eat but like all food, there are conditions under which the food must be grown to be absolutely safe. Dandelions found growing along roadsides, and in other heavily used areas may not be safe. They may have been contaminated by pesticides. Other unsafe conditions are if the dandelions are grown in areas where dogs and cats and other animals frequent and are likely to contaminate. Always wash all fresh fruit and vegetables thoroughly.