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Dandelion greens 101 ... and 14 recipes

Test Kitchen tips

April 05, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Fresh dandelion greens are a rich green-vegetable source of beta-carotene, and are high in calcium, iron and antioxidants.
Fresh dandelion greens are a rich green-vegetable source of beta-carotene,… (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

You know it's spring when the dandelions start sprouting in the yard. You might at first think "weeds," but with a little love these assertive greens can work wonders in the kitchen.

Have you ever bitten into a dandelion leaf? The flavor is tangy, even borderline bitter, with a definite texture. Consider balancing that assertiveness with something sweet or rich. Dandelions work well in a salad paired with sweet fruits and creamy cheese, and make the perfect side dish cooked with bacon or sauteed in a little rich fat or butter.

Try adding them -- cooked or raw -- to a sandwich, or folding them into a soup. The options are almost endless.

RECIPES: 14 recipes using dandelion greens!

While you might consider using the greens you pull from the front lawn, it's probably the last place you want to look for dinner, considering the potential harmful effects from insecticides, treatments and traffic (not to mention if the dog has taken an interest in them first).

You can easily find dandelion greens in almost any market about now; they're in season and are bred and grown for consumption.

To use dandelions, wash them well and trim away the tough stems. Taste the leaves to determine their intensity before adding to a recipe; dandelions can vary from batch to batch, and newer greens are often more mild in flavor and tender in texture.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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