There are lots of edible spring flowers, but where I live in the northeast, the first three to arrive are usually Dandelions, Violets and Forsythia blossoms. So, if you’re up for a little foraging in your backyard for a free salad, you might already have everything you need to make this Dandelion Greens Salad! Plus, your friends will think you’re either really really cool or really weird when you post photos of it online, and both are compliments in my book.
Tips for Cooking with Dandelions and Making Dandelion Greens Salad
Let’s talk about Dandelions for a second. Dandelions are high in potassium, Vitamins C, A, and K.
Only harvest Dandelions that are young when making salad, because the flowers are sweeter when they’re young, and the leaves get bitter as they grow. If you’ve ever had bolted Arugula, older greens are similar in taste; Quite bitter. If you’re harvesting bigger, more mature leaves, consider a warm salad or saute’, where you can first blanch the leaves for a minute to reduce the bitterness and season as you would other warm greens like spinach or kale, plus an acid like lemon juice or a vinaigrette to balance it out.
When harvested young, Dandelion leaves taste similar to radicchio, slightly bitter but earthy and enjoyable. Pairing with things like lemon and goat cheese can complement this flavor.
The whole Dandelion is edible, but the stems are usually removed because they are really good at helping clean the pipes, if you know what I mean. And the little encasement that holds all the petals together should be removed as much as possible too, because that’s another bitter area. You’re left with just the trimmed heads and the leaves for this salad. That’s about all you need to know, let’s get started making this Dandelion Greens Salad!
Backyard Dandelion Greens Salad with Dandelion Fritters
This Dandelion greens salad, plus other edible spring flowers, is dressed in a sweet and slightly acidic apple-cider vinaigrette tossed with sweet violets and forsythia blossoms for garnish. It’s the true spring salad!
For the salad:
- 10 young Dandelions, complete with leaves, washed
- A handful of violets or forsythia blossoms, washed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp dried thyme
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1–2 cups cooking oil
For the dressing:
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly into rounds
- 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Ground pepper
- Wash all flowers thoroughly. Discard stems from Dandelions, and as much of the encasement that holds the flower head, while still keeping them in one piece. Trim Dandelion leaves, and set in a bowl of salted water for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest.
- For the dressing, in a small bowl, add your thinly sliced shallot rounds, top with apple cider vinegar, and mix. Let sit and macerate for at least 10 minutes as well.
- For the fritters, prepare two small bowls, one with a whisked egg, the other with flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. Heat a small skillet to high with your cooking oil of choice. Dip each flower head in egg, shake, then roll in flour mixture, and add to skillet. They should cook quickly, only a minute or two until browned. Remove from skillet to a paper towel to cool and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- In the bowl you intend to use for your salad, combine dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and lemon. Whisk together until combined.
- Add shallot mixture into the dressing and mix until combined. Add a pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper.
- Now add your Dandelion leaves (strain and pat down first) and toss. Top with Dandelion fritters and your garnish of violets and forsythia blossoms. Sprinkle with one last pinch of salt and pepper. Take a photo, then enjoy!
You probably have all the ingredients you need in your backyard this spring to make a dandelion greens salad, plus other edible spring flowers, such as Violets, Forsythia, Borages, Nasturtiums, Lilacs, Clover, Wood Sorrel, and Wisteria. If you enjoy garnishing dishes with flowers, consider planting some of the flowering herbs and vegetables that can double as a snack, such as Squash blossoms, or Pea flowers and Dill flowers.
Will you make this Dandelion Greens Salad? Or is it too weird? Let me know what you think, in the comments.