Who’s ready to eat from the garden? As someone who is fortunate to have plenty of nature nearby, I can say that spring has truly been a blessing. We’re not done with our backyard – many seeds are yet to be planted, bushes yet to be pruned, and watering yet to be done (save for some casual rain – the more, the better 🙂 ). And yet, I really don’t mind these “imperfections.” As long as my family and I are fit and healthy, that’s all that matters.
There is one plant that doesn’t need our attention at all, and we love it: dandelion. I’ve written about dandelion on this blog before (see here and here), and throughout the years I have tried to raise awareness about this superfood, which is rich in vitamins and minerals and packed with beta-carotene.
My uncle (rip) used to eat dandelion and to tell me about its health benefits, and I just followed his example 🙂
Recently I decided to once again highlight the goodness and deliciousness of dandelion by making a vegan dandelion green salad, which features organic red & white quinoa and an abundance of veggies, all bathing in a light lemony vinaigrette.
Make no mistake: dandelion is bitter! You can “tame” some of its bitterness through cooking (like I did a few weeks ago when I made dandelion linguine with Sitka Salmon Shares lingcod) or through pairing up dandelion with mild and/or cooling elements such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, marinated olives, and homemade roasted peppers in evoo. I added chives and mustard blossoms (the latter pictured below) from my garden – and voila, lunch is ready! Always pick dandelion from a spot you know it’s free from chemicals- not public places, which are likely to be sprayed with nasties.
This salad is bursting with fresh spring flavors which are great for your body and your soul. You cannot look at this salad and not be excited about the opportunities ahead. We all need self care, nutrition, and positivity. I believe this salad delivers on all of these accounts while also encouraging us to go back to nature in the most delicious and sustainable way possible. I encourage you to take a minute, listen to nature and to your body, and “bathe” the beauty of the season.
Have you cooked with dandelion before? Let me know in the comments – and happy spring, everyone! 🙂
Quinoa and dandelion salad
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (cooked according to instructions on package)
- 1 cup dandelion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp wildflower honey
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup marinated olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup marinated roasted red peppers, cut into medium-size pieces
- 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
- Handful mustard blossoms for decoration (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small Pyrex cup or bowl, make the vinaigrette by mixing oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the quinoa, dandelion, and all of the prepared veggies in a large mixing bowl. Pour the vinaigrette on top, and mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Decorate with chives and mustard blossoms (the latter optional). Chill the salad in the fridge until serving time. Serve at room temperature as an appetizer, or mildly warm as a main meal, with fresh crusty bread.