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Dandelion Greens with Roasted Garlic Dressing — A Nature All Around Us Recipe

[image] Dandelion Greens with Roasted Garlic Dressing — A Nature All Around Us Recipe

Image ©NHMU

By Megan Mullineaux

DON’T WEED IT—EAT IT!

The Dandelion Café inside the Nature All Around Us exhibit gave visitors the chance to virtually select from a menu of delectable dishes, each featuring an urban weed as their primary ingredient. Our Chef, Megan, is sharing her recipes, along with tips on foraging and preparing a five-course meal from the weeds that may be popping up in your own backyard. Our second course is the salad: Dandelion Greens with Roasted Garlic Dressing. This recipe is broken down into five components: the greens, roasted garlic dressing, toasted pine nuts, shredded parmesan cheese, and dandelion flowers for an optional garnish. 

Dandelion greens in a pyrex bowl.


Ingredients

Greens & Garnish

  • Three bunches of dandelion greens *
  • Dandelion flowers (optional garnish) *

* Wash dandelion greens and flowers and allow time to dry prior to use

Roasted Garlic Dressing

  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon (approximately 2 TBS)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Toasted Pine Nuts

  • Pine nuts

Recipe Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Cut the top off of a head of garlic and place on a sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake on the center rack for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Allow garlic to cool before using in recipe.

As the garlic cools, toast the pine nuts

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
  • Spread desired amount of pine nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake on center rack for 4-5 minutes until golden brown, stirring once during baking.
  • Remove from tray immediately once they are toasted, as the residual heat from the tray will continue to cook the pine nuts even after they are removed from the oven.

Prepare the dressing

  • Combine roasted garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey, and lemon juice in a blender.
  • Blend until well combined.
  • With the blender running, slowly add olive oil and continue to blend until it emulsifies, becoming smooth and creamy.

Prepare the Salad

  • Place dandelion greens in a large bowl.
  • Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of roasted garlic dressing; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss until greens are well coated.
  • Place greens on a serving dish and sprinkle with desired amount of pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with dandelion flowers if desired.


Chef’s Notes

Dandelion greens have a slightly bitter taste that is balanced by the sweetness of roasted garlic and honey in this salad dressing.

Toasting the pine nuts enhances their texture and flavor, rounding out each bite of the tender greens with a delicious, nutty crunch.

The blossoms of the dandelion have a very mild, sweet flavor; however, the sepal at the base of the blossom—although edible—is quite bitter. I recommend removing as much green from the blossoms as possible while keeping the blossoms intact.


Forage Dandelions like a Pro

A woman picks dandelions in a garden.

Avoid toxins. Dandelions love to grow in grassy areas, and are a common target for chemical lawn treatments. Only forage in areas you know to be free from herbicides, pesticides, and other toxins.

Get permission. Eying your neighbor’s lawn, or that nearby field? Make sure you ask before you start digging up dandelions.


Dandelion Identifiers

  • Dandelions have bright yellow flowers that make them easy to spot. There is only one flower per stem, which differentiates them from their doppelgängers.  
  • Dandelion leaves and the hollow flower stems are hairless and grow directly from the root stock. 

A hand plucks a dandelion.


Dandelion Fun Facts

  • Dandelion leaves have toothed edges that give the plant its French name, “dent de lion.”
  • A few dandelions can be good for your lawn. Their deep taproots aerate the soil and pull minerals closer to the surface for the grass to use.
  • Dandelions are nutritional powerhouses, rivaling popular health-conscious choices like spinach and kale.

Check out the first course appetizer, Chicory and Scallion Gratin!


Megan Mullineaux has over 20 years of training and experience in professional kitchens. She left her career in culinary arts to pursue a college education. She is a proud employee of the Natural History Museum of Utah and a Graduate Student in the University of Utah’s Department of Anthropology. Megan found the perfect way to blend her skills in recipe creation and hobby as a forager of wild foods in her role as the Chef of the Dandelion Café inside Nature All Around Us, a special exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Utah, a part of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Our mission is to illuminate the natural world and the place of humans within it. In addition to housing outstanding exhibits for the public, NHMU is a research museum. Learn more.

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