“Dandelions are weeds.” I’m sure that’s something everyone has heard – I remember being told that dandelions were not the cute little flowers I thought they were, but rather are pesky weeds that needed to be removed. I still continued to pick the dandelions whenever I saw them, pretending they were in fact flowers (like the everyman’s flower) even though I couldn’t shake the thought that they were just a simple garden weed. Since weeds grow rapidly and usually in places you don’t want them to (like my entire front patio), they have a bad reputation. Little did I know, though, some weeds are not only delicious, but also super charged with nutrients!
I’m not saying you should go into your backyard, pick out all your weeds, and then sauté them for dinner. I am, however, saying that dandelion greens are more than just the weeds attached to that pesky little flower – they’re a delicious herb that can be used in a ton of recipes.
This weeks’ CSA box came with a bunch of dandelion greens, and while I was intimidated, I knew right away what I’d do with them. After sampling a leaf to see how it tasted raw, it was clear sautéing was the obvious way to go. They taste like bitter spinach, but if you sauté it enough and add in some garlic and other spices, you’re golden. I mixed it with chickpeas and threw it over pasta, giving me a quick and easy meal! Since I’m still trying to be mostly gluten-free (the complete elimination did nothing, so I’m just trying to limit typical trigger foods – gluten and dairy), I used corn pasta with this recipe. Of course, you can use regular pasta (any shape will do), or another grain like quinoa.
Dandelion and Chickpea Sauté
– Serves 2 –
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of dandelion greens, stems removed and roughly chopped (you’ll get about 4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (you can use more or less depending on your heat preference)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast for a little cheesy taste, if you’d like
1. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the dandelion greens and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the chickpeas, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano; lower the heat and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Serve over pasta or your favorite grain – and feel free to add some shredded or grated cheese, or nutritional yeast!