WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU WEEDS…make a salad!

Gardeners detest them. Children make wishes on them. And the more you try and weed dandelions from your flowerbeds, the faster they will grow! So as my husband and I were busy in the garden, pondering how we might patch together a last minute meal for that evening, a little light bulb went on. We’d harvest a dandelion salad to accompany our grilled steak and organic roasted sweet potatoes. Delicious!

In his book Wild Edibles, Steve Brill assures us that “there are no poisonous look-alikes,” so I confidently went about the yard gathering an armload of the long, lace-shaped leaves. Higher in beta-carotene than carrots, this herbaceous delicacy is at its most tender before the plant has flowered, but today we had to make the best of what was on hand. And anyway, the sunny blossoms helped me identify my quarry without delay.

Too bitter or tough for your taste? Dandelion leaves are also delicious sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil and finished with a squeeze of lemon. Tonight, however, we chose to eat them au naturel and lightly dressed with lemon vinaigrette. Recipe below. Enjoy!

Lemon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper

3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme

Gently stir the first five ingredients together, do not emulsify. Just before serving, add the fresh thyme leaves.

About Smallpeace

Michele Karas is a poet, essayist, and longstanding professional copywriter, who currently works for a top-five US book publisher. Her poems and prose have appeared in literary journals, including Tinderbox, THRUSH, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Narrative magazine, among others. Michele holds a BA in Journalism from San Diego State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY, The City College of New York. Find her on Twitter @small_peace.
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4 Responses to WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU WEEDS…make a salad!

  1. David says:

    F. and I pulled up about seven thousand of these delicacies this weekend and I seriously considered this option. Were they any good? Seriously. I’m guessing the smaller ones were better than the ones with the flower stalks that reach my sternum, right?

    • Smallpeace says:

      They WERE good, D. Though as I mentioned, getting them early is key if you’re going to eat them raw. These had a kale-like texture which is too much for some pallets. Apparently the flowers are edible, too. But I think I’ll stick with the leaves.

  2. Bobbie says:

    This reminds me of one of my favorite kid memories! My dad had me go out to the yard and pick dandelions for dandelion wine. I remember bringing in loads of those yellow flowers to his utter delight. I now think that he could’ve had ulterior motives…maybe cheap weeding labor. But the wine was certainly real. It was brewed in a closet in big class jugs. He let me take a sip one time out of a little paper dixie cup. It was so sour and bitter and had a lingering flavor that wasn’t pleasant. I can still taste it…blech. I don’t remember the dandelion wine manufacturing lasting longer than one season. That may tell you something. But it sure was fun picking them!

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