Dandelions. Their yellow flowers are ubiquitous in lawns; some people make wine from them; children make necklaces out of their stems; and we’ve all blown wishes with their fluffy white seed heads. But it’s the nutritional benefits of dandelion leaves that surprises most people and is a great reason to use them in a salad. Higher in beta-carotene than carrots, greater in iron and calcium content than spinach, dandelions also provide a myriad of vitamins: B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, P, and D, and minerals: biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
As with any green, the younger the plant, the more tender it is. Dandelion greens become bitter as they grow larger and are best for salads when picked early in the season. For the safest crop, be sure to pick greens well away from major roads or other chemically treated areas, and wash the greens well before you use them.
1 quart baby dandelion greens, washed
1 quart baby spinach, washed
1 quart arugula, washed
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and crushed
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup orange segments, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
salt and pepper to taste
Mix dressing ingredients with a whisk and set aside. Toss greens with enough dressing to coat lightly and garnish with toasted pecans, oranges, and crumbled goat cheese. Enjoy!