What do you do with dandelion greens? I used to be the first to roll my eyes and think of weed killers every time I saw them in our backyard. Not anymore! After our family physician’s recent spring detox recommendation, now I know I must not “kill” dandelion greens – I can just eat them! 🙂
This is the second recipe with dandelion greens I posted on this blog. The first was a sandwich I made to honor the memory of my beloved uncle, who used to eat dandelion greens regularly. I made the sandwich a few times, and then I stopped because I thought the dandelion tasted way too bitter. Little did I know I was giving up on a superfood, rich in vitamins and minerals and packed with beta-carotene. Thankfully, I have recently had a change of heart. Encouraged by our family physician and the upcoming spring (a time to rethink, rejuvenate and revamp, imo), I’ve decided to make dandelion greens a weekly occurrence on our family’s menu, starting with salads. Enter the orzo and dandelion green salad below 🙂
Orzo is one of my all-time favorite pastas to work with due to its elegant shape and overall visual appeal. For this recipe, I used Delallo orzo pasta, which I cooked according to the instructions on the packet until al dente. I usually add about 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the pasta as soon as I throw away the water to prevent the orzo pieces from sticking to each other and forming one big ball of goopy mess, lol
I added finely chopped dandelion greens as well as red bell pepper cut into tiny cubes. I am a big fan of bell peppers – but you know this by now, don’t you? 🙂
I added a simple extra virgin olive oil & white wine vinegar vinaigrette. I am a fan of this simple vinaigrette – as long as you respect the “golden ratio” of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (check out this site if you need help with cutting down quantities), this is a solid choice especially if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to make a more elaborate dressing. You can also add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, as well as finely chopped fresh herbs, which I sometimes do (we grow herbs in pots in the basement, which come in handy around salad dinner time). I usually make enough vinaigrette to fill a big Pyrex cup, which I then store in the fridge for other salads I make during the week.
Mix the ingredients well, add salt and pepper if necessary…
… and that’s it: the salad is ready!
You can serve this salad at room temperature as an appetizer, or mildly warm as a main meal. I like to eat it on its own for lunch on Meatless Mondays. There’s simply nothing better than the supple orzo, crunchy peppers and wholesome dandelion greens brought together in the same bite and enveloped in the delicate vinaigrette. For complex flavor development, leave the salad in the fridge overnight and eat it the next day. Your taste buds will thank you 🙂
Have you ever cooked with dandelion greens? What’s your favorite recipe? Let me know in the comments!