I went for a walk in the hills, and the wild forest dandelions were calling to me! So, I filled my backpack with bright green leaves. How to eat them? I love sautéed dandelions, but today I want them raw with all the precious un-sprayed nutrients and enzymes intact. Aha! How about a pesto? An hour later I was spreading this yummy pesto on crisp, organic rye crackers.
Often considered a noxious weed, fresh dandelion greens are filled with healthy phyto-chemicals. In folk medicine, the dandelion is said to purify the blood, settle digestion, and dissolve gallstones. This simple weed is loaded with Vitamin K, an essential vitamin that many of us are lacking. Vitamin K strengthens bones and fights Alzheimer’s disease. The humble dandelion is rich in Vitamin A and the anti-oxidant carotenoid, which supports the skin, mucus membranes, and vision. Dandelion supports prostate health, and helps improve circulation for a healthy heart. I was amazed to learn that Italians call it denti di leone, or lion’s teeth.
What about avocado? Well, in the Aztec language, “ahuacatl”, means “testicle”. While avocados do look like that body part, they contain lots of energizing folic acid, hormone stimulating vitamin B6, and two elements that increase libido in both men and women. Pumpkin seeds contain 3 key ingredients that support sexual health: Phosphorous, Magnesium, and Zinc.
An invigorating snack or appetizer, this pesto has a surprisingly mild flavor. I took it to a gathering, and everyone thought it was regular pesto – no one guessed it was dandelions. That’s probably because I used quite a bit of garlic, pumpkin seeds, and olive oil to mask and soften the dandelion flavor. You can adjust and balance to your own taste depending on your greens. Fresh, young greens have the sweetest flavor. If they’re old or large, your pesto may be bitter. Buy dandelions in some healthy groceries, or you can gather them yourself, however just make sure they’re unsprayed, free of toxic lawn chemicals and weed-killers. I hope you try this recipe! Makes 2 cups yummy pesto.
- 1 ripe avocado, seeded and peeled
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 big handful fresh unsprayed dandelion greens (c 120 g)
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/8 heaping teaspoon unprocessed salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and process well until smooth. Adjust flavors to your taste, adding more garlic, lemon, olive oil, or pumpkin seeds if you find it bitter. Every batch of dandelion greens is different.
- Spread on your favorite crackers or veggies!