Dandelion Recipes: A Wonderful, Edible Weed

Dandelion greens, jelly, wine, and more!

May 21, 2020
Dandelion Syrup
Ulyana Khorunzha/Shutterstock

Did you know that dandelions can be used in cooking? Instead of mowing them down, harvest them for greens, soup, jelly, pesto, and even wine! Learn more about dandelion’s benefits and find a selection of dandelion recipes to try.

A History of Dandelion Delicacies

Native to Eurasia, this humble member of the aster family has traveled far and wide. Believe it or not, the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) was not always thought of as a weed. Cultures around the world thought of the dandelion as a “common herb” and have used every part of the plant as both nutritious food and powerful medicine. 

The dandelion is rich in nutrients, including protein, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C.

Dandelions are good for digestion and may ease rheumatism or liver problems. In fact, one of the plant’s common nicknames in French—pissenlit (pee-the-bed)—attests to dandelion’s use in traditional healing cultures as a valuable diuretic agent (rich in potassium).

Dandelion Recipes

Dandelions are so abundant that they’re easy to harvest! And most of the plant can be used—flowers, leaves, and roots. Yes, even the flowers can be eaten!

Eat Your Greens

As with most greens, the plant leaves are best when they are young and tender. Ideally, gather dandelion leaves before the plant blooms as they will become increasingly bitter and tough.

Young dandelion leaves make an excellent addition to salads, bring a sharp taste to the mix. 

Or, the young leaves can be looked ike spinach, sautéed in oil and garlic like many leafy greens.

Try one of these recipes with your next summer dinner:

recipe-pesto_quanthem_ss.jpg
PhotoQuanthem/Shutterstock

Eat Your Flowers!

One of our favorite recipes is a Dandelion Syrup (also called Dandelion Honey) which you make from the flowers. (See photo at the top of this page.)
It’s great over over pancakes and waffles or mixed with oatmeal. Or stir into tea or a carbonated drink which is an old-style European favorite!

Pick newly yellow dandelion heads (ones on short stems) and try these yummy Fried Dandelion Blossoms

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Photo: Lyudmila Mikhailovskaya/shutterstock

For something spreadable, try Dandelion Jelly!  Harvest 1 quart of bright, fresh dandelion blossoms! 

Dandelion Jelly. Photo by minadezhda/Shutterstock.
Dandelion Jelly. Photo by minadezhda/Shutterstock.

Dandelion Drinks

To wash those down, try a “spirit” of spring, like Pink Dandelion Wine or Dent-De-Lion Wine. Dandelions have been used to make these brandy-like drinks for centuries.

pink-dandelion-wine.jpg
PhotoVuk Saric/shutterstock

Even the dandelion roots can be used for making a caffeine-free coffee-like drink. For a refreshingly different brew in the morning, try Dandelion Root Coffee.

A couple safety notes: Obviously, only eat dandelions from areas that don’t use chemical weedkillers; we’d also avoid public areas where dogs may have peed on them. If you are foraging on public land, it’s harvest sparingly do you don’t disturb the plant population and leave plenty for the pollinators! Learn more about safety harvesting dandelions.

Do you eat your weeds? Ever made food or drink with dandelions? Share your recipes or comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

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dandelion fritters

is it possible that you, Ramona Jackson, is a friend of mine from long long ago? Startling! does FDU ring a bell?

Dandelion Fritters.

I love to find Dandelion flowers with long stems. Wash well and dry. Place the heads in a batter like pancake batter and fry them in a skillet. Children love this. Can do the same thing with Clover Blossoms.

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Many, many years ago a family moved into my brothers' neighborhood on Long Island, N.Y. The husband told my brother that one of the reasons they had chosen that particular house was because of the hundreds of beautiful, golden flowers growing in the yard. It didn't take long before neighbors (not my brother, the son of a savvy, old Italian) enlightened them to their "weed infestation" and they were shopping for a lawn company to eradicate the now noxious dandelions. Go figure!

Can I grow Dandelions away from my lawn

Could I start seedlings from the Dandelion Puffs (White) so I can have a clean product to harvest?

dandelion seeds

The Editors's picture

Yes, you can grow more dandelions from the white puff balls. The ball is made of several single-seeded fruits called achenes, which are each attached to a filament with a feathery tuft on the end. Separate out the small achenes and plant individually. (Just to be safe, select a dandelion that has not been exposed to chemicals or pollutants.) Be sure that you are choosing seeds from an actual dandelion, as there are several lookalikes. Also, if you prefer, there are cultivated gourmet forms of dandelions that you can find at mail order seed companies and other sources that are bred for their larger, less bitter leaves. Hope this helps!

Pretty Dandelions!

I love the bright yellow polka dots in the yard. I think the weed killer manufacturers have worked really, really hard to convince people that dandelions are weeds. They don't harm a yard at all.

pretty dandees

Personally, I have ethical difficulties picking dandelion flowerheads. I too think they are beautiful and, considering the speed in which the bees are dwindling away, much needed to feed these wonderful creatures when winter has ended! Without bees, we don't have flowers or food.

By the way, on my walk with the dog this morning, I noticed that the elastic ties used to tie 'Alnus' trees to the supporting pole (which are more of a corset to the tree) were gone! Some enlightened being cut those rubbers--and freed the trees! Good thing that it's not only me doing that! :-) Spring wishes, all.

Dandelion

Thanks for the great article.

Dandelion syrup

Dandelion syrup is our favorite (my youngest would rather have this than maple any day).

https://naturesnurtureblog.com...

Cleaning dandelion, even

Cleaning dandelion, even after field cleaning, can be a chore. I devised an easy method. Wash you washing machine good with bleach. After a thorough rinse, put your dandelion in and run it on two short cold cycles and rinse, spin dry. It comes out perfect for eating or bagging for the refrigerator. We serve with a hot bacon dressing and diced hard boiled eggs.

Rodity's Greek restaurant in

Rodity's Greek restaurant in Chicago makes a wonderful side dish called "horta;" boiled dandelion greens with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon. So simple, so healthy, so very, very, very delicious!!!

A traditional Easter soup in

A traditional Easter soup in our Italian family is Dandelion soup. I make a chicken soup and then to that I add chicken meat, tiny meatballs, carrots, dandelion greens, escarole, cabbage and kale. Also important is the coarse ground pepper and salt. It looks much like an Italian Wedding soup. It is very yummy and very good for you!