When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food…” he may well have been talking about dandelion.
Dandelion has been used in many traditional medicine systems as a remedy for liver, kidney, and spleen diseases. Today, dandelion gets a nod in its role as a diuretic or treatment for minor digestive problems.
While the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says that there’s no compelling scientific evidence to using dandelion as a treatment for any medical condition, you might consider dandelion greens solely for their nutritional value.
These bitter weeds has some serious nutritional bite. Two cups of chopped, raw dandelion greens has:
- 50 calories
- 4 grams of dietary fiber
- More than 100% daily value for vitamin A
But how do you use dandelion greens? If you try to cook them like spinach, the result is often bitter and unpalatable. Offset the bitter bite by sauteeing in high quality oil, and cook for a bit longer than you would other greens.
I recently experimented with a unique use of dandelion greens – incorporating them into pasta. This recipe is adapted from the Cook’s Garden Catalog Spring/Summer 1989 issue:
Dandelion Green Fettucini
- 2 cups Dandelion greens
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 cups Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Process dandelion greens and eggs in a blender until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl, add salt and start adding flour while beating with a spoon. Keep adding until dough is stiff.
- Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes).
- Roll out with rolling pin to 1/8″-1/4″ thickness.
- Allow to stand and dry 1 hour, then cut into strips.
- Drop into boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes.
While most everyone can – and should! – enjoy these delicious greens, people who take Coumadin (warfarin), should avoid large doses of dandelion greens, because they are a very rich source of vitamin K which can interfere with the anti-clotting effects of your drug therapy.