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Dandelion – dream or nightmare?

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Dandelion – dream or nightmare?

As we head toward Spring, some of us are pondering our lawns and how on Earth we’re going to get rid of the nightmare weed.. dandelion!    But IS it a nightmare?

Dandelion lawn

Or could it be a dream?  I’m here to tell you there’s another way to live with this flower.

With their tenacious tap root, dandelions are actually improve soil health.  It breaks up compacted soil, creating little roadways for earthworms.  The root also pulls up nutrients from the subsoil into it’s leaves, delivering more beta carotene than many other fruits and vegetables!

On that note, it will also pull up toxins – so do NOT eat dandelions that have been treated with chemicals EVER.

I can hear a lot of men right now bemoaning me.  My husband included.  He wants our lawn to be plush and green always without a hint of dandelions.  It’s just not gonna happen.  First off, our neighbors lawns are loaded and those puffballs just float on over – second, I’m not a real huge fan of herbicides to the point necessary to kill all the weeds.  I’d rather find other ground covers but that takes time, money, and labor.  It’s a slow process.  RANT OVER.    Almost…. and another thing, dandelions are GOOD for POLLINATORS!

Dandelion puff balls

The leaves are a veritable treasure of good stuff for you.  Loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamins A and C, you’ve got a medicine cabinet in your lawn.  My Organic Life magazine features this yellow gem and adds recipes.  Ian Knauer selects the young plants before they flower for the best flavor.  As the season changes to summer and the flowers bloom, the leaves become tough and bitter.  However, that’s when Knauer changes up the cooking direction and uses their peppery taste in garlic pestos or blanch the leaves to temper their bitterness.


Dandelion and Farro Tart – this recipe from Ian Knauer

1 tsp. salt plus more to taste     6c. chopped dandelion greens – about one 8 oz bunch   1/2c. farro (grain)   2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing       2tbsp fine dried bread crumbs (panko)   2 garlic cloves chopped      2 1/2c. ricotta cheese (24 oz.)       1/2c. finely grated parmesan cheese  1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper       2 egg y0lks    1 egg      1/4c. heavy cream

  1. Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to boil.  Blanch dandelion until tender, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon, reserving water in pot.  Let dandelion cool; squeeze gently to remove as much water as possible.  fluff and separate leaves with your fingers.  2.  Bring water back to a boil, add farro, and cook until tender and chewy, about 12 min. Drain and cool to room temperature.  3.  Heat oven to 375 degrees Butter a 9 inch glass pie plate and lightly coat with bread crumbs.  4.  In a large skillet over low heat, melt 2 tsp. butter, add garlic, and cook until fragrant – about 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in dandelion, farro, ricotta parmesan, 1 tsp. salt, pepper, yolks, egg until combined.  Fold in cream and transfer mixture to pie plate, smoothing top.  Bake unitl just set and top is pale golden.  35 to 45 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving!

More recipes at Rodales Organic Life – Dandelion

dandelion tart


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