What’s for lunch? Dandelion Salad

I admit it; I share the usual North-American prejudice against dandelions. But both the weather and I are so seriously behind this year that I’ve started adding dandelion leaves from my weeding excursions to the few spinach, lettuce, mustard, and chard leaves big enough to cull.

After all, the things are chock full of good stuff: vitamins A and C, plus iron (more than in spinach), phosphorus, and calcium.

I wasn’t at all sure that the various sons and husbands on the premises would tolerate this addition, but there have been no complaints, and the salad has been disappearing at quite a clip. Today I took the next step: I added the flowers to my salad. They, too, have vitamins A and C. Here’s the result:

Dandelion_salad

Several years ago I noticed there seemed to be two different sorts of dandelion around, one with its familiar, deeply lobed leaves, Dandelion_2_kinds_3 and one with much shallower indentations. The second seemed far more palatable–lighter, less bitter, more tender– than leaves of the one, the true, the original dandelion. I prefer the interloper for both texture and flavor.

But I began to wonder if I was poisoning my family (heavy metals yesterday, toxic greens today–as son #2 says, That’s how we roll–) so this afternoon before lunch I spent some time on the Web, with the result that I am now thoroughly confused. In summary: there are two different plants–false dandelion (Hypochoeris radicata), and fall dandelion (Leontodon autumnalis)–that might be mistaken for the common dandelion, but sources disagree about which has shiny leaves and which hairy, and almost no source covers both.

I can’t say, then, what precisely I’m eating, which is not good. However, a number of sources did state that none of the close look-alikes are poisonous, and that’s good. So I went ahead and ate my salad.

Which was delicious.

8 Responses to What’s for lunch? Dandelion Salad

  1. I always think about adding the dandelion weeds to my salads. If I didn’t tell the guys they wouldn’t notice at all.
    But living in the country and knowing where the weeds grow, I always wonder how they were “watered,” if you know what I mean. I have seen my own little dogs contribute. That makes the ones near the house out of the question anyway.
    Robin at Bumblebee
    Er, I see what you mean, Robin. But–do the dogs never–er–“water” the garden? Anyway, the way it’s been raining here, it wouldn’t matter how many dogs peed on the things, it would all have been washed off.
    –Kate

  2. Wish I had a fork! Enjoyed my visit to your featured blog!
    Glad you stopped by, Joey.

  3. interesting, i have always heard that dandelions are edible but never had them, will have to give this a try, thanks for sharing
    http://www.thisorganicgarden.com

  4. I just checked out your website. Love it!!
    I just had dandelions in my salad–2 kinds of D-leaves, cukes, sprouts, green onion, brown rice, and red pepper. Dressing with a light homemade honey mustard dressing. Yum!! I just noticed I had a bumper crop of D’s coming up. At least 3 kinds. Looking forward to lots of them in salads. Haven’t tried the flowers yet, but you convinced me–I will! Thanks, Ginny

  5. Welcome, Ginny. I have the distinct feeling that you live someplace warmer than I do; I won’t be having D-salad for a few weeds yet.
    That was the first time I’d tried the blooms, too, and I was quite pleased.
    Enjoy your salads!
    –Kate

  6. just wanted to comment that the leaves on the left look just like the wild lettuce that grows here in Colorado so those are the ones i would be more inclined to eat but we i guess i have never looked real close at a dandelion i did not realize that there were two kinds

  7. Several kinds, actually, Rick. In this case at least, I’m sure lots of people think that’s several too many.
    –Kate

  8. Also, organic food supplements are the ones that will take over the market someday.

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