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Dandelion Greens


There are many "green" reasons for eating seasonally and buying locally but on top of all that, it's simply a fun way to eat. It's exciting to have the first asparagus or strawberries of the year, and I tend to eat as much as I can of the things I love since I know the seasons are short. This spring, I've been eating a lot of dandelion greens.

I didn't grow up eating these greens. The first time I had them was in a trattoria in Rome and I fell in love with them, so I was excited when I began seeing them for sale at the Farmer's Market here in NC. These are not wild greens - I haven't tried those but there are plenty in my yard if I get brave. I've read that the wild ones are even more bitter than the cultivated ones (which are pretty bitter themselves).

The key to mellowing them out is to blanch first, drain, and then stir fry. Every time I buy these greens at the market, someone sees me doing it and asks me how to cook them - they are exotic here in NC, I guess, but not in Italy. I use a recipe I found via google (see below).

Dandelion Greens
(from Gourmet magazine, March 2003)

In Rome, this is a typical way of preparing bitter greens.

2 lb dandelion greens, tough stems removed and leaves cut crosswise into
4-inch pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook greens in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until ribs are
tender, 4 to 5 minutes, then drain in a colander. Rinse under cold water to
stop cooking and drain well, gently pressing out excess water.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not
smoking, then cook garlic, stirring, until pale golden, about 30 seconds.
Increase heat to moderately high, then add greens, red pepper flakes, and
salt and sauté, stirring, until liquid greens give off is evaporated, about
4 minutes.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.


I took the recipe above and turned it into a pasta dish. I added some lemon zest to the greens, cooked some spaghetti and then after I drained it, mixed it into the greens and let them meld for a few minutes over low heat. Some parmegiano reggiano and toasted pine nuts on top, and I had a great dinner.


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Comments (13)

Annie, sounds delicious! I love these greens too.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I don't know that I've had these greens before! Your pasta dish looks really delicious! Now that I'm being more adventurous in the Kitchen, maybe I'll give your pasta dish a try.

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipe Annie! Have a great day today.

Thanks Candi!

Kathy, they are one of those vegetables with a pretty strong flavor which I like (but some people hate!). I sometimes see them for sale in Whole Foods too. Better yet, if you ever see them on a menu in Italy, give them a try!


Wow, Annie, that looks fantastic! As good as some of the dishes I've seen here in Bologna (seriously, I had dinner at a highly recommended restaurant last night and the vegetables were almost inedible!)

Sandra, good to hear from you! Say it ain't so...inedible veggies in Bologna?!? I hope that's just a bizarre blip on the food radar.

Hope you're having a grand time!

This looks and sounds delicious, although I must confess I was brought up eating the 'wild' ones - or should I say forced to eat my greens which were wild ones picked by my grandmother. And, I can attest to the fact that they are off the charts bitter! menehune

Hi M, ah the good old days when we were forced to eat our greens! I have to admit that I'd like to try the wild ones sometime.

The dandelion greens and your pasta dish look very yummy! I've never eaten these greens but I'll give it a try when Ivan is away (he's not much of a veggie guy).

I didn't grow up eating green leafy veggies other than spinach and lettuce but I got adventurous when I started traveling. My fave is Swiss chard!

Maria, I love Swiss chard too and am growing it in my garden this year. Love it because it's a "cut and come again" plant that can survive the summer heat.

I didn't like greens when I was a kid but I think it's because my Southern grandmas cooked them for hours until they were mushy. I loved them once I had them cooked less!

Let me know how you like the dandelion greens if you try them. They are kinda bitter but flavorful.


That does look good! Thanks for posting the recipe and pasta photo!

Are these the same greens as what grows with dandelions (the yellow flowers)? Interesting. I have never heard of this green before. The pasta looks delicious!

Thanks Amy!

Girasoli, yes they are the same but different varieties. The ones I buy at the market are cultivated (the farmers grow them from seed) so slightly different from the wild ones in the yard. If you ever see them on a menu in Italy, give them a try. I'm not sure what the Italian name for them is.

Thanks Annie, I will have to find out the Italian word and give them a try.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 9, 2009 1:59 PM.

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