Back home in the Fatherland (Germany), I always thought my mom was slightly kooky for turning weeds into all kinds of food.
So, yeah. Some weeds are edible – that doesn’t mean I have to throw them in my salad or soup or make some whacky syrups… is what I thought back then. Luckily, I discovered my mom had it right all along! (Sorry, mom. I’m a spoiled brat).
Dandelions – a great source of potassium and fiber
Dandelions belong to the sunflower family and are a terrific source for potassium which helps regulate blood pressure plus they are loaded with fiber which benefits digestive health. On top of that, these greens contain a bunch of vitamins and are a key ingredient in liver cleansing formulas.
Flavonoids protect from cancer
Dandelion greens contain more than 100% of the daily minimum requirement of vitamin A which is good for your skin and your eyes. They also contain flavonoids that protect the retina from UV rays and lung cancer.
A natural cancer cell killer
The most amazing health benefit of dandelions is that they have proven to be an effective alternative to conventional cancer treatment! Dandelion root and greens have shown to significantly reduce leukemia, breast cancer and prostate cancer cells in different studies. Go nature!!
I have been dying to make a dandelion pesto and thought that I would have to wait until they’re in season in North Carolina (whenever this may be – I grew up on a different continent in a different climate so my senses are a bit out of whack). I was lucky, though. Our local Fresh Market carries organic dandelion greens so I bought a whole bunch of them!
Dandelion Pesto is definitely a tad more bitter than regular pesto. I love it, though. Especially with pistachios — although feel free to use any other nut you enjoy.
The beauty about pesto is that you can whip up a meal with it in minutes! Take this asparagus penne for instance. I boiled pasta (grain free preferred), sauteed asparagus, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes for a few minutes, tossed it with dandelion pesto – done! A super delicious, quick and healthy meal made in under 15 minutes.
Adding Parmesan cheese to this pesto is optional, of course but if you have access to organic Parmesan cheese… do it. Mmmm. Cheese is going to be my downfall!
- 4 cups dandelion greens
- ½ cup pistachios (or other nuts)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Transfer to a container with lid and keep refrigerated. Toss with pasta, use as pizza sauce or top your crostini with it - it all tastes delicious!