Tried and Don’t Bother: Dandelion Greens

I’ve become pretty adventurous with my veggies lately, and the most surprising discovery I’ve made is that I particularly like bitter greens. But I’m tiring of collards and swiss chard so when I saw fresh, local, organic dandelion greens at the store last week, I decided to give them a try.

So yeah, wow. These guys give a whole new meaning to bitter.

You’ll have to tell me what I’m doing wrong because there’s no way I can convince my family to try these again unless I totally disguise them in a donut or something.

I looked them up online and it seems as though some people eat them in a salad mixed with a variety of other (and I’ll assume sweeter) greens. But I needed a dinner side dish and had no other lettuces on hand, plus I had a ton of the dandelion — way too much to mix into a salad — so I went for a promising recipe that cooks them in boiled water and then mixes them with sauteed onion and garlic. I figured onion and garlic makes almost anything taste good. Except I had no onion, and the only garlic I had was this spring garlic I picked up at the farmers’ market.

I’d been wanting to try it, though, and this seemed like it might be a good way to use it. I even had aspirations of creating my very own new and fabulous dish with dandelion greens and spring garlic. Such high hopes . . . dashed in an instant.

I washed the greens and chopped them up, just like the recipe said. Except I didn’t wash them in salted water. Hmmm… I wonder if the salt would have altered the taste at all or if it was just for the purpose of cleaning them. I did, however, put salt in the boiling water.

While the greens were boiling happily in a saucepan on the stove, I worked on the spring garlic. I think I probably should have used more, but it was a bit of a process to peel them and I did what I could.

Then I sauteed the garlic in olive oil. I didn’t have a dried hot chile pepper so I threw in some red pepper flakes.

Once the greens and the garlic were done, I tossed them all together.

And tasted.

Yeowzahs!!!!! There was no way my kids were going to take a second bite of that. So I did the only thing I knew to do . . . add butter! A lot of it.

I was hoping it would soften the bitterness, and it did, just a bit. But it needed more than just a bit of softening. Still, I shredded some parm for the topping, as suggested in the recipe, and confidently set it on the table without comment.

Cause you just never know with kids and husbands. Sometimes they surprise you.

My kids are getting used to finding strange and unusual things on the dinner table, so they were unfazed when I told them these were dandelion greens. My son gamely took a bite. He chewed thoughtfully, swallowed and said, “Hm. Not bad.”

See? You just never know.

The others, however, weren’t quite so gracious with their responses. They each took one bite and promptly went back to nibbling their hot dogs. I didn’t push it.

I did manage to eat my own small portion, so it wasn’t too awfully bad, but let’s just say I won’t be making this recipe again.

Do you eat dandelion greens? Is there any way I can cook them so that they’re palatable? Or should I give up on dandelion and try kale next time?

Comments

  1. mary b says

    I was thinking of trying them again because I do remember eating them as a child and liking them. Then again I was also the child who in school would trade dessert for spinach (to the delight of my classmates).

  2. says

    I think you are supposed to boil them in salted water to leach away some of the bitterness. I think I’ve even heard that you’re to switch to a fresh batch of water for a 2nd boil.

    I wonder if they’d be good sauteed and then put into a quiche or maybe ravioli?

    I just wrote a similar post– if you happen to see horned melon in your produce aisle, don’t bother :)

      • says

        Ahh, gotcha. Seems like a lotta work no matter how you slice it.

        Horned melon is actually in the cucumber family… think cucumber seeds, each encased in a jelly capsule. That’s what the whole inside is like. It’s really cool looking and slimy and gross and fun to play with, and then you remember you’re supposed to actually put it in your mouth and eat it. Yuck.

  3. april says

    I’ve seen Rachel Ray cook bitter greens like dandelion in chicken broth “to give the bitterness somewhere to go.” Apparently it comes out of the greens and into the broth and makes them taste good. Probably the same idea with salted water… :)

  4. says

    I couldn’t swallow them either! We got them one week with our CSA. I know Zareen mixed them in with a salad and said they were good that way. But yah I can’t do ‘em either.

    I’m loving the Kale tho. I have to post about that soon, we go through bunches of it. Yum.

  5. says

    My kids love arugula. It’s a little spicy but not bitter. They love it either raw or cooked. If cooked I add some butter, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and fresh rosemary. They also love it raw like a salad mixed with spinach leaves and tossed with Kraft, Tuscan House Italian. It’s the best! Oh and a few croutons and fresh parm cheese on top.

  6. says

    So glad you posted this, I had been toying with trying some dandelion greens but I’ll live through your wisdom! Here’s to some nice arugula or kale or beet greens!

  7. says

    Those look kinds of big/mature. They are best when they are young & small. I boil them in salted water, then change it out, rinse them, and boil again in fresh water. My favorite way to cook them is with a hot dressing like in wilted spinach salad, either alone or mixed with baby spinach.

  8. says

    I would probably juice them with some lemon and celery and just take a shot. :)

    Go for kale. I eat 2-3 bunches of it a week. It’s fantastically healthy and I honestly love the taste. I put it in smoothies (only works if you have a turbo blender, otherwise you’ll get big chunks in your straw), saute it, bake and/or dehydrate it into ‘chips’ (google it) and eat it as a salad. If you eat it as a salad, you have to massage the dressing into it which really helps to soften and tenderize the leaves.

    I hope to read a Tried and True post on kale soon. :)

    • Jo-Lynne says

      I’m not into juicing and I don’t have a turbo blender. But I have been wanting to try kale. I do like the kale chips I buy at the store but I know they are way over priced. I’ll try it next week!

  9. T with Honey says

    I’m surprised you haven’t seen the PA Dutch recipe for baby dandelion greens with hot bacon dressing. It’s in almost every Amish/PA Dutch cookbook.
    And as others have pointed out use the baby dandelion leaves. The ones you had look way too mature. You should only make wine out of those!

    • Jo-Lynne says

      No I’ve never seen that! My roots aren’t here in PA and I don’t think I have any Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks. But that sounds delicious.

  10. Brittany says

    We used to get dandelion greens in our farm share sometimes, and I don’t remember them being super bitter. Of course, we rarely got one type of green…so if we were lucky, I’d have some milder greens and make a mixed salad. If we only got “assertive” greens, then I usually ended up cooking them in my mix-and-match bean soup. I don’t know if we got baby greens or more mature ones, though.

  11. KANG says

    HAVE BEEN EATING THESE WILD GREENS SINCE I WAS A KID
    STILL LOVE THEM
    I TAKE ABOUT 1 GALLON WATER 1/4 QUARTER OF GALLON CIDER VINEGAR BRING TO BOIL
    ADD BACON RENDERINGS FROM 1 LB. OF BACON DON’T ADD BACON
    WHEN BOILING ADD GREENS WAIT TILL IT BOILS AGAIN COVER AND TURN OFF STOVE LET SIT ABOUT 10 MINUTES
    YOU CAN ADJUST ACCORDING TO YOUR TASTE FOR VINEGAR
    THINK YOU WILL LIKE IT MY WHOLE FAMILY LOVES THIS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>