Embrace Your Dandelions

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Rather than be annoyed when dandelions begin to pop up on my lawn, I choose to embrace them as free food. Dandelion greens are super high in vitamins and minerals, so I am quite pleased when they appear.

Dandelion greens are best (most tender/least bitter) in the early spring before they’ve had a chance to flower. If plucking them from your yard, make sure they are unsprayed and not too close to the road (and haven’t been urinated on by your dogs).

If you can’t find a clean source of dandelion greens, you can substitute baby salad greens, preferably ones that are homegrown. I like the crunchy saltiness from the bacon here, but it’s optional.

Recipe for Dandelion Greens, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Salad

Salad Ingredients:

* 3 strips bacon, preferably pastured and preservative-free
* 8 green onions, bottom parts only
* 4 cups chopped organic dandelion greens or homegrown baby salad greens
* 1 cup chopped organic parsley, homegrown if possible
* approximately 3 tablespoons blue cheese (I used Cashel Blue Irish Farmhouse cheese)

Dressing Ingredients:

* juice from 1/2 fresh lemon, preferably a Meyer lemon
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
* 1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
* pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. Cook the bacon in a hot skillet until crisp on both sides. Remove to a towel to drain and cool. Leave the hot bacon fat in the pan over medium heat.

2. Toss the green onions into the hot bacon fat. Allow to cook for a minute or two, until nicely browned on all sides. Remove and allow to cool, then crumble into a small bowl and set aside.

3. Coarsely chop the green onions and mix in a medium bowl with the greens, parsley, and crumbled bacon. Set aside while you make the dressing.

4. Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over the salad. Crumble the blue cheese over the salad and serve.

–Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.

Photo credits: Winnie Abramson

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