Delight in Dandelion Pesto


I grew up with the understanding that Dandelions, were an annoying pest or weed. Unfortunately, for me, every summer one of my daily chores was pulling Dandelions out of slate patio. Definitely not my idea of fun. Since the roots were spread out and of course beneath the slate, the Dandelions and I had an on going dispute, until I found the perfect gardening tool in the shed!

Dandelion is a (wild) flowering plant native to Eurasia and North America. Ironically, some jurisdictions consider Dandelion a noxious weed! The common name Dandelion is from French dent-de-lion, which means “lion’s tooth.”

My beloved grandmother, who I miss dearly everyday taught me so much about the garden, herbs, flowers, cooking, knitting and sewing. Pun intended she planted a seed or two in my brain as I’ve always had this intense curiosity about flora and fauna.

For many years, I’ve been studying, researching and self-testing various herbs and superfoods. Dandelion is a wonderful superfood and an adaptogen! In hind sight, I wish I’d know what viable nutrients they deliver, this knowledge would’ve saved me valuable playtime !!

In the East coast we are in full swing of summertime!! I invite you to explore your culinary delights incorporating Dandelion to your dishes. The whole plant is edible, make sure it hasn’t been treated with herbicide or any other chemicals. Our bodies are balanced when we consume all five ‘tastes’ - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Dandelion is pleasantly bitter, allowing for a wide variety of culinary, medicinal and herbal uses. The best part, these leafy greens are nutritionally dense compared to other greens.

Traits:

-vitamin K, A, B and C (high levels)

-calcium, iron, manganese, dietary fiber

-1.5 grams protein (single cup)

-digestive aid

-diuretic, helps kidney clear waste

-improve liver functions

-reduce inflammation

-detox the body

-slow down cancer growth

-control lipids to regulate blood pressure and insulin

-potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumor, anti-cancer and antioxidant

How to use:

Tea, tincture, capsule, recipes - wine, bread, pizza, beer, jam, coffee, syrup, smoothies, stews, sauté etc - be creative! You can use the whole plant.

Precautions:

There are no negative side affects from this herb, however, if you have allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies or iodine, it would be best to avoid Dandelion, as it’s the same family of (Compositae).* Consult with your physician before using if you have liver or gallbladder problems. Dandelion (the root and leaves) is a diuretic and may increase the excretion of medications from your body.

*Note I’m extremely allergic to chamomile, however, there are different varieties of Compositae. So I have not had an problems : )

Also, to be aware, if you are on diabetes medications, dandelion could increase the blood sugar lowering effects.

Fun Fact:

112% of daily recommended vitamin A, 535% vitamin K and 32% vitamin C.

Ranks as the 9th best food of vegetables

Fun Tip!

Left over Pesto? Save for another time, freeze it in silicon ice cube trays. You’ll another night of dinner ready in no time!

Dandelion Pesto {Dairy & Gluten free}

1/2 c. pine nuts

2-4 garlic cloves minced

2 c. fresh chopped Dandelion (I used the whole bunch)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp lemon zest

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 c. nutritional yeast

(you can experiment with other nuts as well)

Place all ingredients, except the nutritional yeast into a blender or food-processor. Keep pulsing until smooth. If it's too thick, slowly add a bit more olive oil. Add the nutritional yeast and continue to blend until the mixture has a smooth consistency.

Refrigerate, and eat within 3 days.

Enjoy!!!

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