Ask a Foodie: Is Weed Good for Me?
Dandelions are legal this time of the year.
Photos by Leah Lizarondo
A certain portion of the population was very excited that the calendar read 4/20 the other day. I was excited, too. Because late April means one thing: weed!
No, not the illegal (unless you’re in the Mile High city) kind of weed. The delicious (and free) kind of weed.
It is no accident that the first things that Mother Nature offers after a long winter are fruits and vegetables, which help us to get rid of all the “heaviness” that our bodies instinctively have hung on to for protection.
Weeds are starting to crop up right now — before you mow them over, pick them and eat them. Yes. Free stuff from nature that we need to stock up on.
Dandelion greens are one of the most easily identifiable weeds. Choose the leaves that are smooth (not spiky) and you are good to go. The dandelion’s bitterness is a signal of its liver-cleansing properties. Asparagus, one of the first vegetables to spring up, is a natural diuretic that cleanses our kidneys. Asparagus also helps to balance our blood-sugar levels and has inulin that feeds the friendly bacteria in our digestive system.
Put those two together and you have a power plate that is detoxifying and delicious at the same time.
Here’s a favorite recipe that pairs these early spring offerings: Dandelion and Asparagus Mess.
Want dessert? Those glorious berries popping up are very high in antioxidants that rid our bodies of toxic buildup. They are also high in quercetin — a supplement used to help tame allergies (and we know that we are going to hear a lot of sneezing soon).
Winter finally is over, and the bounty begins. Celebrate with this amazing dish and top off with a quart of fresh berries. This meal is definitely not something to sneeze at!
Dandelion and Asparagus Mess
Serves 4 as a main dish
- 3 T olive oil
- 8 ounces dandelion greens, chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus – thin stalks recommended (if thicker, peel the tough outer layer), cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can chickpeas (or other beans, such as cannellini), drained and rinsed
- 3 T lemon juice
- 1-2 t salt
- Pepper to taste
1. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Cook the onions with ½ teaspoon of salt, until golden brown.
3. Stir in the garlic and the asparagus; sauté until the asparagus is al dente. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Warm the other half of oil. Add the beans and spread them into a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Stir and spread them out again. Repeat until all the beans are blistered all over. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning the beans.
5. Stir the dandelions and remaining salt with the beans. Stir until the dandelions are completely wilted.
6. Add the onion and asparagus mixture back in, along with the lemon juice. Stir and taste. Add more lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve immediately, drizzling a little extra-virgin olive oil over each dish. Serve with some pasta or brown rice.