What the Heck Do Home Cooks Do with Dandelion Greens?
by Alisa Teglia | June 15th, 2016
5 Easy Ways to Use Them In Your Kitchen
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been hearing a lot about how dandelion greens are becoming more popular. Thanks to Josie’s Organics farmers, they are now popping up in produce departments everywhere. In the last few months, I’ve seen them in grocery stores in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Indianapolis and New York City—both green and red varieties. One common thing I hear home cooks ask, though, is “what the heck do I do with them?” Well, I’ve got five easy ways to get you started!
I’ve been cooking with dandelion greens regularly and have found them to be quite versatile. I’ve used them in salads, sandwiches, roasting with meats…I’ve even used them in soups. Because they’re one of the heartier greens, they last longer stored in the refrigerator, and hold up well when heated. Dandelion greens also clean easily, so they require very little time to prep. They’re as nutritious as they are flavorful, too. You can learn more on the dandelions page of this site.
Here are my favorite, tried and true ways to use dandelion greens, or “dandies” as I now affectionately call them:
- Toss into Stir-fry. Dandelion greens work great when added to a very hot wok. They turn bright green, and hold a little crunch when quickly stir-fried with chicken, pork, shrimp or beef. Their slightly bitter flavor marries well with most Asian ingredients we regularly use, like soy sauce, ginger and orange juice. Toss a cup or two of chopped dandies into your next stir-fry and see for yourself.
- Layer on Sandwiches. Oftentimes, lettuce and greens wilt or get mushy too fast in sandwiches, especially with mayonnaise, mustard or oil-based dressings. Dandelion greens hold up really well in all kinds of sandwiches, particularly egg, tuna and chicken salads. They are fantastic with ham, prosciutto and other smoked meat sandwiches, too, as well as with strong cheeses, like brie, blue and gouda.
- Braise with Meats. Not every green is built to braise in the oven with pork, beef or lamb. I have found dandelion greens to be an excellent option for all three…and they deliver an extra layer of delicious flavor. Create a bed of dandies for the meat to rest on in a roasting pan before putting into the oven, and then let them baste in the juices while the meat cooks down.
- Quick-braise for a Simple Side. I like to do a quick braise with dandelion greens also. Cook a clean bunch in a large skillet with a few cups of wine or broth until the liquid has evaporated and the leaves turn slightly brown on the bottom. Drizzle with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and pepper before serving. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a nice touch also.
- Switch Up in Pesto. Rather than the usual basil pesto, switch it up with dandelion greens. Use the same amount called for in whatever recipe you follow—just give the dandelion leaves a rough chop first. If you find the taste just a bit bitter, a small pinch of sugar along with salt and pepper will do the trick. Toss into warm pasta. Stir into other cooked vegetables. Serve alongside grilled chicken or beef. Delicious!