This week, I am going to feature one of the super healthy greens, which is for some people rather known as an herb, which are dandelion greens! I have never eaten fresh dandelion greens until I moved to California. Still in California, you cannot get them everywhere. Our local organic farmer, Jim Terrick from Los Osos Valley Organic Farm is selling these beautiful greens at the farmers market as one of his regulars.
The flavor of dandelion greens
This leafy dark green plant has bitter, aromatic, and earthy flavor that is quite distinct from any other leafy greens. People also enjoy dandelion greens as tea, sometimes together with dandelion roots. It is considered to be one of the wonderful herbs to drink as tea for women to purify and build the blood, as well as promote the circulation.
Dandelion greens are rich in minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium, as well as high in vitamin A, C, and K. With its dark green color, it is easy to know how it is also high in anti-oxidants.
As bitter flavor is related with the liver in Chinese medicine, dandelion greens are also a wonderful liver detoxifier. It also cleanses the kidney. Therefore, this green not only helps to cleanse the blood, but also flushes out the toxins from the body.
Various ways of using fresh dandelion greens for your meal
Dandelion greens can be enjoyed in raw, sautéed, or cooked form. When you eat them raw, the bitter flavor is more persistent than treating them with heat. You can make a salad with them together with other salad greens, or you can also put some in your green smoothie! When you sauté with oil and some pungent spices, its flavor comes out beautifully. It can become different delicious side dishes. Also, you can put the greens in soup. In that case, the nutrition of the greens is steeped in the liquid. That way, you can absorb the goodness of it easily into your body (like drinking dandelion green tea!).
Pasta with sautéed dandelion greens
Today, I was inspired to make a simple pasta, sautéing the greens with garlic and olive oil, together with some grilled kabocha squash. When you sauté the dandelion greens, the bitter flavor gets somewhat milder. And yet, the beauty of its bitterness is still there, which is absolutely delicious.
With some garlic and olive oil, you can enjoy its distinct flavor in such a beautiful way. And this definitely goes well with pasta! Its bitterness along with the chewy whole grain pasta brings a wonderful earthy pleasure to your mouth. Grilled kabocha squash is a perfect compliment for adding the bright yellow color as well as some sweet and gentle flavor. As we ate it, I could not imagine any better combination. It was so delicious!!
This time, I added some grated aged parmigiano which my mother-in-law kindly gave to us the other day. But of course, it will also be absolutely delicious without!
Making dandelion greens pasta
- For cooking pasta, heat the large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, cut the dandelion greens into 2 1/2 inch lengths, and mince the garlic.
- Also, cut the kabocha squash into thin slices. Leave the skin and grill both sides on the grill pan. If you don’t have a grill pan, you can fry both sides on a regular pan with a little amount of oil.
- Once the water comes to a boil and you put the whole grain spiral pasta in, heat the pan for the dandelion greens with olive oil at medium low heat.
- Add the garlic and warm the oil with it until the oil is infused with the garlic’s aroma.
- Put in the stem of the dandelion greens first and sauté it for a minute.
- Then add the leafy part of the dandelion greens, put the lid on for about 30 seconds-1 minute.
- Open the lid and continue to sauté the greens with some salt and pepper. Add a 2-4 table spoons of boiling water from the noodle cooking pot so that the greens won’t get too dry.
- Once the noodles are ready, drain the water and put the noodles into the pan to mix well with the dandelion greens.
- Turn the heat off, then pour some fresh EV olive oil and mix them together.
- Serve the pasta on the plate, then decorate the grilled kabocha squash on top. Sprinkle some cheese or hemp seed if you wish, and enjoy!