Have you tried eating dandelion greens yet? Yes, dandelion greens — the toothy-looking leaves of those small, sunny, invasive flowers that overtake fields and yards every spring and fall, are completely edible. The flowers can be harvested for wine, and the leafy greens are actually, believe it or not, delicious. They are also super versatile and cheap. Like a heartier version of arugula, they lend a punchy bitterness to salads when raw, but that bite is tempered somewhat when they are cooked. Raw dandelion greens are also packed with iron and are a good source of prebiotics.
And don’t worry: You don’t have to let your lawn go wild or forage in the nearest public park to enjoy them. Dandelion greens are widely available at farmers markets. They’re also showing up at more and more grocery stores, and if you’re a member of a CSA, you might even be lucky enough to find a bunch in your box. While dandelion greens are available year-round, they’re at their best in the spring and early summer, when the less bitter, more tender young leaves can be harvested.
But once you snag a bunch, how do you actually use them? Like many other bitter greens, they are incredibly versatile. They can be eaten raw in salads and blitzed into a simple pesto sauce that can be tossed with a pot of pasta, as a topper for Buddha bowls, or sandwich spread. When using them raw, I like to tame their peppery bite by combining them with more tender and mild leafy greens, like spinach or lettuce.
Dandelion greens also hold up well to cooking. You can sauté them with a little garlic and a squeeze of lemon for a simple side, toss them into a stir-fry, or try them in a soup. In fact, dandelion greens can be used any time you’re making something that calls for kale, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, or beet greens. Ready to give them a try? Here are 10 ways to cook with dandelion greens.