Dandy Pesto

Dandy Pesto

The dandelion greens in your share are cultivated here at the farm (not foraged), and just like the greens with the yellow flowers that grow so prolifically in your yard, they are a nutritional powerhouse. High in beta carotene, vitamin A and C, calcium, and iron (twice as much calcium and iron then broccoli!) this bitter green is considered a health tonic specifically for liver and digestion. Yes, it’s bitter, but it’s so darn good for you, it’s worth experimenting with to find a way that you enjoy eating it. Seriously, every crop can’t be sweet and juicy like a strawberry! You could easily saute garlic scapes and scallions, and toss in your dandelion greens mixed with some kale or kohlrabi greens. Pair those garlicky greens with creamy white beans or pintos and you have a delicious meal. Or toss it in your sweet fruity breakfast smoothie- you may just fool yourself that its even in there. Feeling adventurous? Here’s another option- pesto! Pesto is traditionally made with basil, but in the following recipe, dandelion greens take center stage. The addition of lemon juice and lemon zest add the perfect zing.

1 bunch dandelion greens
3 sprigs basil or more to your taste
2 garlic scapes, or to your taste
1/3 cup grated parmesan, or more if desired
1/4-1/2  cup olive oil, to achieve consistency you want- start light and add more as needed
1/4 cup walnuts or roasted pecans, or your nut of choice (pine nuts are the pesto standard, but I usually look for a more affordable option)
lemon zest of 1 lemon
juice of half a lemon

Place all ingredients except the parmesan cheese into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. If it’s too thick, slowly add more olive oil. Add the parmesan and continue to blend until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Feel free to add any ingredients if you like it more garlicky, more nutty, or more cheesy. The lemon helps cut the bitterness a bit, but it’s still going to be bitter, no getting around it. I enjoyed the pesto spread on a gluten free wrap rolled with lettuce, shredded kohlrabi and carrots, avocado and chicken. Or it makes a great dip for your crunchy vegetables.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 13th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

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