3 Delicious Summer Recipes For This Powerful Flower

July 5, 2017 56 Comments

Ever wondered why certain plants are considered weeds and others are deemed worthy of keeping around?

The wise women healers we work with would tell you there’s no such thing as a “weed”, and that often times the wild plants that sprout up in our well-groomed backyards are encroaching on our lives because we need them.

Today, I want to focus on a bright and cheery superherb that has been aiding humans for thousands of years but somehow gets a bad rap here in the United States. My 4-year-old son is so enchanted by these common flowers that he has coined his own nick-name for them – “wish-makers.”

You might know them as dandelions.

From the spring through early summer and again in the fall, dandelions pop up all over our lawn – but they’re usually weed-whacked away like unwanted pests. What many don’t realize is that they’re destroying a medicinal powerhouse that their bodies often need.

The word dandelion comes from the French “Dent de lion” or “lions tooth,” a reference to their incisor-patterned leaves.

In France, a centuries-old heritage of herbalism plays a large part in their legendary cuisine. Because of its versatility, both as a food and a medicine, the dandelion is a cherished ingredient in prized dishes from Paris to Marseille.

Below, I’m going to share 3 revered recipes that you can make with this often overlooked yard-dweller. But first, let’s do a quick run-through of the many health benefits that dandelions so graciously bestow upon us.

Backyard Benefits

1.) Liver health: the dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale is an incredible detoxifier. It contains potent oils and bitter resins that folk healers and doctors have prescribed for liver health for centuries. It also helps to maintain the proper flow of bile while stimulating the liver – this is the beginning of a positive feedback loop or upward spiral, which promotes proper digestion. This in turn decreases the chance of constipation, thus leading to a lower chance of developing more serious gastrointestinal problems.

2.) Anti-aging: the root and leaves of the dandelion are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and Luteolin, which prevent free radical damage to our cells and DNA. This is believed to substantially slow the aging process.

3.) Good for Bones: Dandelions are a good source of calcium, and probably the richest herbal source of vitamin K, both of which are great for bone health.

4.) Reduces Inflammation: dandelions contain phytonutrients and essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body.

5.) Potential Anti-cancer Effects: dandelions contain active chemical constituents that are currently being studied for their ability to act against cancer cells. Luteolin, mentioned above, “sterilizes” cancer cells and prevents them from reproducing by deactivating key components of the cells when it binds to them.

6.) Memory function: the leaves are rich in choline which is proven to aid in restoring memory.

7.) Weight Loss & Blood Pressure: dandelions are diuretic in nature and by promoting urination, “water weight” can be shed and blood pressure can be lowered.

Now onto the recipes! We’ve curated these scrumptious morsels from the time-honored cookbooks of French herbalists. I think your taste buds are going to thank you for these 🙂

*If you choose to wild-harvest your own dandelion greens and roots, make sure to pick from a safe location. Stay away from roadsides and unknown yards because toxic pesticides are often used to keep these so-called “weeds” at bay!

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Summer Dandelion Salad:

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

4 tables spoons dried dulse

2 tablespoons minced red onion

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch of dandelion greens

2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seed

1 ounce of parmesan cheese (if vegan, substitute with nutritional yeast)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

In a blender, mix the shallot, mustard, vinegar and dulse. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a small bowl and whisk in the oil in a slow stream.

Rinse / dry the dandelion greens and toss them in a large salad bowl with the dressing.

Lastly, top with either the parmesan or if you are a vegan, substitute with nutritional yeast.

Makes 4 Servings

Garlic Mushroom Dandelion Greens

Ingredients:

2 bunches of dandelion greens, lightly chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 red onion, chopped

3 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup red cooking wine

4 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and lightly brown.

Add the shitake mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes until they have reduced and softened.

Add the dandelion greens, red wine, salt and pepper. Cover the skillet for about 7 minutes, or until the greens have softened.

Serves 4 to 6 people

Dandelion Pesto with Pine Nuts

Ingredients:

1 large clove of garlic

1 large bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

2 cups of chopped dandelion greens

1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup of pine nuts

3 tbsp parmesan cheese (if you’re a vegan, nutritional yeast is a good substitute!)

1/2 cup of olive oil

Sea salt

Preparation:

Fill a medium-sized sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.

Blanch the greens, by placing the dandelion greens and parsley in the pot, making sure everything is fully submerged. Only cook for 1 minute.

Strain the water from the saucepan and fill again with cold water to halt the cooking process.

Strain the greens again and transfer them into a blender or food processor.

Add the pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a pinch of sea salt to the mixture and blend until you’ve reached your consistency of choice.

Serves 6 people

Like my grandfather always used to say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The dandelion is a great reminder of the hidden treasures that mother nature unfurls right under our noses.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Director, The Sacred Science

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Filed Under: Herbalism

About Nick Polizzi

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and producing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick's current role as director of "The Sacred Science" stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.

View all posts by Nick Polizzi

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  1. Donna Hughes says:

    Nature doesn’t create “weeds.”

    • Magdalene says:

      That is so true Donna ! We only call a plant a weed when it grows where we don’t want it to grow not realizing that there is a reason why it grows where it does !

  2. Pat says:

    I remember as a child watching the Greek women digging up dandelion plants in our yard. Of course, they always knocked on the door and asked permission to dig them up.

  3. Linda Jeromin says:

    How do I process the roots

  4. Marilyn Montclare says:

    Dandelions are also known as pissenlit in France from pisser (to urinate) or ‘wet the bed’!

    • Lisa says:

      This is so funny! I made a lot of dandelion salads this spring for dinner and couldn’t actually sleep through the night after because I had to keep getting up to pee! Which I love…because I know that my body is ridding itself of toxins…but now I try and eat them earlier in the day! Although this pesto recipe may be making itself into my dinner tonight…on a mixture of brown rice, some bits of pasta with milkweed buds and some chanterelle mushrooms I foraged from my backyard! Yum.

  5. Sarah says:

    Does drinking dandelion tea give the same benefits?

  6. rosa rodriguez says:

    thank you so much for thinking of me in your busy schedule. i really love to learn about herbs. i trully love the fact that you provide us with clear photos so we all know how does the plant looks like. i thank yo and send you many blessings……

  7. linda says:

    My mother used to make dandelion greens salad but she always sdaid they needed to be young leaves … better in the spring (of course this was in Mass) that he older leave were bitter? Is this still true or ‘pardon the pun’ old wives tale … (not sure why this is so light in color sorry …

  8. Jocelyn says:

    Thanks for the recipes! I have been curious about this my whole life. My aunt would tell me stories of being handed a spade and a basket to go out an dig up Dandelions for my Grandpa’s culinary delights. Americans are so ridiculous; we ignore the medicinal powerhouses that live among us. Thanks for openng some eyes to the benefits of Dandelions…Cheers!

  9. me says:

    what are the flowers good for??

    • needleseye says:

      wine

    • Cheryl says:

      type your comment here…We were shown on a nature walk with the Missouri Conservation Dept. that picking the flowers, washing them and drying them, you can make a pancake batter to dip them in and fry them up. Delicious.

    • Anne says:

      The flowers are delicious in soups, and dipped in batter then fried like tempura. The unopened buds are the best for this, and they can burst into bloom while cooking sometimes. Also if you just pull the yellow part of the flower and leave the green part behind then they are not bitter anymore and can be put in salad or to top a dish to look pretty.

    • Beth says:

      I like this article and want more information about natural solutions for health.

  10. Rosara Frenk says:

    Thank you very much for all knowledge I’m having with you.

  11. Ellen says:

    My grandmother fixed dandelion salad when I was a child. I didn’t eat it then but I sure will try the above delicious sounding recipes.

  12. Katrina Adams says:

    Can you/I buy dandelions in stores if so which stores would sell them. Minnesota

  13. Steve says:

    Thank you for the great suggestions Nick.

  14. Jill Namaste says:

    Thank you 🙂

  15. Phyllis Wilcoxen says:

    Thank you for the recipes.

  16. DOROTHY says:

    I can remember in the spring my grandmother would make us dandilion tea to drink. She told us it would thin down our blood for the summer. I don’t know if it did or not, but we drank it and I’m 71 so it must have been ok. My father always said that weeds were just plants that we haven’t found out how to use yet. He was a very smart man. I enjoy your posts. Thank you for these recipies.

  17. verena says:

    Dear Nick, I absolutely LOVE your work – just watched your interview on the Future of Healing online conference and so enjoy everything you are sharing. It is great how you remind us about the plants that grow near us too… I am having my dandelions in a green smoothie, together with some plantain. Thank you for everything!

  18. rick millward says:

    Thank you for these great ways of using this herb.

  19. Marlana says:

    Thank you so much Nick. I saw the Italian grandmothers out by the roads picking dandelions, when I was a kid. They still do here in Australia. It’s reassuring.

  20. April Minkler says:

    We use dandelion leaves in our Nutri-blast smoothies, along with chard, apples, blueberries, figs etc. in whatever combination we have on hand. I cut the medium sized leaves, leaving the smaller ones to grow, and cutting the great big floppy guys back to make more energy available. The plant’s almost seem to say, “HEY! Over here!” I”m thinking seriously of creating a dandelion bed. 🙂

  21. Tracy Whitlow says:

    Thank you for including me when you sent the emailing out. Greatly appreciated.

  22. barbara says:

    Wanted to leave yo a suggestion but cannot as this message format erases the message of you leavexxxxxxxtry to edit or use punctuation….please advise when fixed

  23. pranic roger says:

    thanks for the three great recipes. especially the pesto one. love it.
    type your comment here…

  24. pranic roger says:

    thanks for the three great recipes. especially the pesto one. love it.

  25. Michelle says:

    Thank you for shareing your knowledge…Blessings- Michelle

  26. S Haney says:

    please define “bunch” as in the recipe above. is a “bunch” of dandelion the same as the leaves/stems of one dandelion plant?

  27. Marilyne says:

    Thank you so much . I love Dandelion plants, I used to eat a lot of it in France. A good reminder to look for it here in Florida.

  28. Juana says:

    Thank you for this post! Is it possible to follow this blog and be notified of new posts? I had no idea dandelions were so useful as a medicine. Thank you, again, for sharing that information. I’ll share with my networks, too.

  29. Linda says:

    what great and interesting information. If only man could see how Mother Earth provides!!!!

  30. Vanessa says:

    I regret that I am allergic to this wonderful plant! Nonetheless, I enjoy all the informational posts.

    Thank you.

  31. dawna says:

    Thank-you Nick for all your great knowledge…

  32. Tedi says:

    Very interesting and inviting!
    Curious … pick dandelions anytime? Even if in flower or seeding?
    Thank you for sharing Nick.

  33. Nona says:

    Thanks for the recipies, what is “dulse” the 3rd ingredient on the Summer Dandeloin Salad?

  34. Odhiambo- Nairobi,Kenya says:

    Great eye opener. Super insight no more weed business all plants have a purpose by encroaching into our gardens-God sent

  35. Deeqa says:

    Thank you for this awesome article. Can we know what your boy means by ‘wish-makers’ ??
    I was fortunate in that the Universe led me to discover the anti-inflammatory benefits of dandelion leaf tea….I found it while ‘surfing’ on Amazon. No more ache-y joints! Wahoo! PLUS – and this is huge for all who love their cuppa – it provides a healthy alternative to regular tea for those who cannot be without. Eventually one loses, at least I did, my desire for sweeteners in my hot drink of choice.
    Nature’s Paracetamol/Aspirin/Ibuprofen…etc!
    [Am I allowed to say that? Too late – I did!]

    Deeqa 🙂

    • ZuVuYah says:

      Deeqa ~ I learned that when the dandelion flower turns into white puffs (it is the seeds) ~ to make a wish and blow on the puff to send the seeds floating and your wishes will be planted and come true 🙂

  36. Tracy says:

    I’m curious…. Why do you blanch both the dandelion and parsley in the pesto recipe?
    I have always done my variations of pesto with raw greens.

  37. Molly says:

    I noticed that the shallots were not mentioned in the list but were in the body of the recipe. Can you explain more about the shallots? Are the red onions/shallots interchangeable I suppose? Can’t wait to try these recipes, thank you!

  38. Marianne Clemett says:

    My mother used to make dandelion honey with the flowers. We also had dandelion salad in the spring with hard boiled egg and bacon bits, however I find that later the dandelion is too bitter to eat.

  39. meir mayer says:

    Dandelions are a miraculous herbs and work wonders. Go get some they’re all around for a purpose!

  40. Lisa says:

    I’m going to try thank you

  41. zee says:

    I would like to receive info from. Your site

  42. Linda says:

    I love your articles. They always comfort the soul.

  43. pat says:

    think you will like this

  44. Jim says:

    Hello. Wonderful recipes. Grandparents would make dandelion wine every mid to late spring back in southern Illinois long ago. Delicious. Whole Foods usually has organic bunches year round. Do pick my own when available in the yard.

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