I’ve been eating my dandelions (from my chemical-free yard!) in salads lately, but wanted another fun way to use them. I saw some beautiful wild violet and dandelion lemonade that I also want to try, but I drink a lot of iced tea in the summertime and I thought, “why not put them in my tea?”
Dandelions have many health benefits (this is from the Herb Companion):
“The dandelion has long been used as an herb for its medicinal properties. This edible plant is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamin A. It can be applied externally or taken internally to address a number of health problems, most prominently kidney disorders, liver dysfunction and mild digestive problems. Preparing a root infusion or a tonic often aids in strengthening the kidneys and eliminating toxins from the body. The dandelion is also helpful with its powerful diuretic properties, flushing the system without depleting potassium levels.”
It’s a simple thing to make. Just gather some fresh, clean dandelion flowers that have not been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides. Put them in a jar. I used a quart jar and filled it about 1/3 of the way with flowers.
Pour hot boiling water over the flowers, add a tea bag or two or four (depending on how big your tea bags are … if the tea bags you’re using are meant for one cup of tea, you’ll want to use one tea bag for each cup of water you put in). Any kind of tea will work! Herbal tea, green tea, white tea, black tea. I used a Peach Passion Iced Green Tea bag from Lipton.
Let it steep for 10 minutes. You can then strain out the dandelions and remove the tea bag (or do that step at serving time). Chill in the fridge and serve over ice. Of course you can sweeten it to your liking. I have learned to like my tea unsweetened.
I found the dandelions added a nice floral note to the taste of the tea.
with Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Pecans, and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
It was a “make do with what you’ve got” kinda lunch day. I thought I would have a salad, but I didn’t have enough greens left to fill my bowl.
So I went scrounging in my yard for greens. My spinach is still too tiny to pick, so I came in with a bunch of dandelion greens and a couple flowers as well. I know, these common yellow flowers are not generally well loved. Most people don’t want them in their yard. But they do have a lot of health benefits, they cost nothing and they’re really quite tasty and beautiful. The only problem is the greens do tend to get bitter.
However, bitter greens in a salad are really lovely if you pair them with something sweet. So I went looking for something sweet. No berries left, but I did have some dried apricots and cinnamon pecans. I threw in some chopped chicken and tangy blue cheese and I had quite a nice, well rounded, tasty salad.
If you are averse to using dandelions in your salad, skip the dandelions and use different greens. Arugula mixed with some fresh spinach would be nice.
Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans
- Mixed greens (I used spinach and dandelion greens)
- Cooked chicken (leftover chicken or natural chicken nuggets), chopped … I think this salad would be incredible with some apricot-glazed chicken … as you can see, I used the chicken nuggets.
- Blue cheese crumbles (just a few)
- Fresh or Dried apricots, chopped
- Cinnamon pecans (recipe here)
- Snipped green onion
- Dandelion flower petals (optional … only use these if you have a safe, chemical-free source of dandelions)
Fill your salad bowl most of the way with greens. Sprinkle the salad with chopped chicken, blue cheese crumbles, apricots, pecans, green onion and flower petals. Drizzle with Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette.
Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container.