How to cook dandelion

Orange is the New Dandelion

Today we’re talking dandelions



No, not THAT dandelion. Or friend of Dandelion, anyway. Orange is the New Black is back in a few days! Yay!

But allow me to digress. I haven’t blogged here as much because I’ve been working for The Man. Actually, The Women. The Moms. Three of them. They’re like, pregnant superhero science moms, really. No, honestly (except that one just had a baby and so is not pregnant, and the remaining one with the oldest kids [youngest, age 1] might be PO’d if I suggested she was pregnant again. One is definitely pregnant, but not for much longer). PhD neuroscientists solving the human body’s problems while fending off toddlers. Part of my job responsibility is removing any kryptonite — high fructose corn syrup, bouncy castles, and the pinkeye bacteria, all major distractions — from the vicinity.

Back to my point. Here is why you should drink wine. Here I am, drinking wine with my mom’s group “the slummy mummies,”when I start chatting with an occasional slummy (too busy doing science-y stuff to drink wine as often as me). We realize we both studied neuroscience (you always wondered why my cooking chemistry was so stellar). She realizes I also studied copy editing and that my kids are in full-time school for the first time. And suddenly, I’m working, like, all the time. And suddenly, I can buy, like, new shoes. While still picking up my kids! Living the dream, people. But sadly, I can’t escape to T&T half as often and have to call Pizza Pizza twice as much. So goes the lament of the working mom. Multigrain thin crust, pineapple on half.

But no matter what else I had going on, I couldn’t resist picking up some dandelion leaves I saw in the grocery store last week in the lettuce section.

Cooking with dandelions recipes

You’re telling me that I could eat what most people are trying to get rid of? I’m in. We all know I’m a sucker for armageddon recipes.

(OMG that would be the BEST cookbook)

Next time I’m not going to buy, but harvest instead. And hey, if you decide to do the same, the advice I read said not to eat a dandelion that has been sprayed. You don’t need a PhD neuroscientist to tell you this, people. If you find yourself twitching after a few bites, maybe go a bit deeper into the field next time. But the flower and leaves are edible. The best leaves are the ones on the inside, and the optimal picking time is in spring before the plants have flowered so that they’re less bitter.

And bonus — this freebie nuisance plant is more nutritious than spinach or kale. Allow me to quote “money,”:

“one half cup of dandelions contain more calcium than a glass of milk, and more iron than spinach. One cup of dandelion greens contains 19 mg of Vitamin C, and the leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots. And if you need some Vitamin K in your life, there’s no better source than dandelion leaves; 55 mg of leaves contain a whopping 535% of your daily value.

“Dandelions are also chock full of other essential minerals such as potassium, folic acid, and magnesium.
And that’s not all. According to The New Age Herbalist by Richard Mabey, dandelion leaves are a great source of fiber (which helps relieve constipation). The high fiber content also makes you feel full, making it a great food to eat if you’re trying to cut calories and lose weight. They also help stabilize your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.

“Dandelions are also incredibly high in antioxidants, and because they are a diuretic, they help cleanse your body of toxins.”

Sooo-pur food. I treated them like spinach and made a traditional Martha Stewart spinach dip. It wound up tasting slightly bitter, but I like bitter! When it was re-heated it smelled smoky. I’ve been eating the darn stuff all week (while also reading papers that sound something like those fast-talking side effect guys on Viagra commercials).

Dandelion Spinach Dip (Minus the Spinach)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Two healthy handfuls of non-sprayed dandelion leaves
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2C milk
  • 6 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes hot sauce
  • 3/4C shredded mozzarella
  • Delicious bread or crackers, or one of those pretty round bread bowls that hungry people will eat empty if left with nothing else 

Directions: Follow Martha’s Instructions, but use dandelion leaves instead.

Son overjoyed at posing with dandelion

Son overjoyed at posing with dandelion

IMG_8047 IMG_8048 IMG_8052


Results: 3/5 Yums. I enjoyed this dip, and loved the frugality and nutrition of it. My husband doesn’t love bitter, so he wasn’t a fan, but I’d feed it to the super-neuros. Think of it this way — if you enjoy rapini or arugula, go for dandelion. I’m calling it here — it’s the kale of 2019, when China will have invaded physically instead of just virtually and we’ll be left to our own devices. Muwahhhhaha. (Shouldn’t China be saying that? PS I don’t edit my own stuff, so WYSIWYG)


  1. Leave a Reply

    June 13, 2015

    Goodmorning from Greece. Nice and informative post. I’m trying to recognize from your photos, which plant this is. I have read many recipes with it over the years, but still I’m not sure what it is. It looks like beet greens, is it?? Maybe you ask your sister’s mother-in-law for the translation for me!!:))

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      June 15, 2015

      Oh, you must have them. They’re the cockroach of the plant world! (Yet much prettier and yellower). Hello to Greece!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    June 23, 2015

    The Kale of 2019…I like your prediction! But hey, I watched enough movies to know the dirty pinko Ruskies will have invaded North America long before China does….thank goodness Chuck Norris is still around to save our butts as well as, show us how to get fit for fighting with a Bowflex.

    Really great use of dandelion. Would never have thought of using it in a dip but looks delicious. Btw, why does your child look like you dropped them off in the middle of the wilderness to forage the dandelions leafs for your recipe? 🙂 As usual, always a great read. Cheers!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      June 23, 2015

      Kids are nothing if not workhorses, Burger Nerd. You’ll learn quickly. And regarding invasions and Chuck Norris, I’m pretty good with a bo staff (Napoleon Dynamite ref)

      • Leave a Reply

        Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
        June 23, 2015

        Ahhh yer a hoot and a holler! Not to take away from how informative your posts really are but I can also always count on a laugh or two when “dropping by”. At what age does daddy workhorse become the master? Because right now my boy has got me saddled and he isn’t afraid to crack the whip! lol He’s been teething for the last week. I’m so close to bursting my ear drums with a paring knife and sticking two carrots in them just so I can get more than a couple hours of sleep at a time.

        Bo Staff master? I’m bringing my family to your house when we get invaded. You can teach us all how to forage and turn a tree branch into a deadly weapon. That’s some crazy Xena shit right there lol.

        • Leave a Reply

          Ann Allchin
          June 23, 2015

          Love how that reminds you of Xena and not Hunger Games. Gives me a hint as to your age, Burg Nerd. Thanks for the compliments! Enjoy being saddled. Let me know when he’s old enough to get you a beer, because that is a sweet day in parenting.

          • Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
            June 25, 2015

            Yeah I guess the Xena comment kind of dates me a bit. Drats, I was hoping my immaturity would make everyone think I was still young! 🙂 Your “old enough to get you a beer” comment reminded me of my youth. Aside from being dad’s live in bartender, I was also given the glorious task of running to the store to buy him cigarettes. And now my time is drawing near, when I can, without leaving the comfort of my camping chair, order a smaller version of myself to fetch me an “adult soda”. And who says getting older is bad?

  3. Leave a Reply

    June 23, 2015

    Ooo. I do like arugula and other bitter greens. That sounds yummy as a dip, and your pictures are making me hungry!

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