This week I’m celebrating No-Mow May with a dandelion salad recipe.
If you’re in the United States, you’ve been conditioned to loathe the simple dandelion as a “weed”. Your parents probably spent hours every year spraying your lawn to get rid of this bothersome plant. Personally, young me enjoyed blowing the puffs everywhere, to the dismay of my suburban-lawn-obsessed parents.
The humble dandelion is one of the most underrated plants you never have to try to grow.
Here are a few benefits of keeping dandelions in your yard:
- The deep taproots help aerate the soil. This is particularly useful if you have clay, like I do.
- They fix nutrients into your soil, improving the overall health.
- They provide a fantastic food source for your favorite pollinators.
- If you have chickens, dandelion greens provide nutrition for them.
- They help prevent erosion.
Beyond the yard benefits, there are health benefits as well:
- Dandelion root tea is a diuretic, helping you cleanse your body. Unlike make diuretics (particularly pharmaceutical ones), dandelion root tea provides potassium rather than draining you of it.
- The leaves contain more Vitamin K than kale, and make a great (free) salad.They’re also chock-full of magnesium, iron, and folate.
- The flowers can be fried, brewed into tea, fermented into wine (I haven’t tried this yet), put on your dandelion salad, or made into syrup.
Serve this delicious salad to your family, friends, and neighbors. Encourage them to resist Big Lawn and develop more respect for the dandelion.
Dandelion Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
- 2-4 cups dandelion leaves, washed
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 minced garlic cloves (Be sure to really mince the garlic finely. More pungent garlicky flavor is released the more garlic is chopped.)
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 c. high-quality olive oil
- honey to taste (between 1 tsp. and 1 tbsp. It depends on how sweet you want your dressing.)
- dried thyme (1/4 tsp)
- salt and pepper to taste
Other favorite salad toppings, such as
- sliced pears
- sliced applies
- pecans or walnuts
- capers or olives
- large bowl, small bowl, and a whisk
- Ensure all your greens are washed well, and place them into a large bowl.
- Mix olive oil, garlic, honey, thyme, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk vigorously to emulsify. Adjust to taste. (Start with 1 tsp. honey, then add more as you taste until you get the result the way you like it.)
- Drizzle half the dressing down the sides of the bowl with the greens. Toss the salad.
- Add any desired toppings and serve immediately, passing extra dressing at the table.
Dandelion greens have a bitter, more peppery flavor similar to arugula. If you’re getting used to eating regular salads, add some sweeter things to balance out the taste, such as pears or strawberries. Increase the honey a bit as well if you like. I also recommended the addition of spinach for a milder balance as well, but you can feel free to mix in any other greens you have or like better.
This salad can be whipped up as a side dish for anything, or throw some leftover chicken on top for a nice light lunch.