Those pesky dandelions growing in your backyard are one of Nature’s greatest gifts. Put them to good use by making this zesty Bacon Parmesan Dandelion Salad. You’ll love it!
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BACON PARMESAN DANDELION SALAD RECIPE VIDEO
This nourishing salad couldn’t be simpler to make. If you’re new to the Kitchen, my videos are done with a vintage twist. If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
DANDELIONS = NATURE’S GIFT
At some point in history, someone decided to go to war against the dandelion. Troops of herbicidal homeowners were riled up to destroy this sunny plant and the war continues to this very day. I really don’t understand it, because dandelions are one of the healthiest plants out there, and they’re FREE!
Dandelions are truly God’s gift to humankind because they are brimming with vitamins and minerals. These nutrient-dense weeds are full of vitamins A, B, C, K and E, and pack more potassium than a banana. Sulphur, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, and silicon, are just some of the other minerals found in dandelions. One thing that might turn some folks off from eating dandelions is that they are bitter, but not so fast!
BITTER GREENS ARE GOOD
A lot of us have a hard time eating things that are bitter because our taste buds have been spoiled. It’s easier to eat a banana than it is to eat dandelions, even though dandelions are way better for us. If you don’t believe me, check out this nutrient comparison.
The thing is, our bodies need bitter foods. Bitter foods like dandelions help our bodies to secrete bile. They cleanse our livers and our digestive systems. Our immune systems get a boost, nutrient absorption is improved, and our bodies detox. Incorporating bitters in our daily diets is such an easy way to improve our health and one that’s often overlooked.
HOW TO SNEAK IN MORE BITTER GREENS
I get it. It’s not always easy to include something bitter in our diets, especially when we’re not used to the taste. That’s why I’m giving you a recipe for bacon parmesan dandelion salad. The fat and the salt really help to cut the bitter taste. Another way to incorporate more bitters is to dilute them with milder greens like bibb lettuce or romaine. If this is your first time venturing into bitter greens, try gradually building up the ratio of dandelion greens to milder ones.
SOURCING DANDELION GREENS
The easiest place to get your hands on some dandelion greens is in your own backyard. Not everyone has this luxury, though, in which case you might get lucky at the grocery store. That being said, when you harvest dandelion greens yourself, you’ll get more nutrients out of them because they’ll be fresher. Fortunately, dandelions grow almost everywhere, so if you forage for them, pick them from areas that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals!
HARVESTING THE GREENS
Whenever I pick dandelion greens, I make sure to leave the root so my dandelions will grow back. In the video, I cheat a bit because I was short on time. In cases like these, I’ll go outside with my kitchen scissors and snip off the best leaves I can find. Otherwise, cut the floret of leaves at the base, so that they come off in one clump. The first method makes cleaning a lot easier, but the second method is the way it should be done.
One thing to keep in mind when selecting the leaves is that smaller leaves are less bitter. The larger the leaves, the more bitter they are. By keeping the leaves short, they’ll stay small. As long as the season allows it, you will have a continual harvest of free fresh greens. Wash the leaves well, rinsing off the dirt and then letting them soak in a vinegar or baking soda rinse. The closer you can harvest the leaves to when you’re going to eat them, the better.
MAKING BACON PARMESAN DANDELION SALAD
There are four steps to making the salad:
THE VINAIGRETTE FOR THE BACON PARMESAN DANDELION SALAD
I like keeping salad dressing as simple as possible, following the basic rules of making a good vinaigrette. If you’ve never made your own salad dressing before, it couldn’t be easier. This one is pretty classic, with a light oil (avocado is my favourite), red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, mustard, honey, and a bit of salt and pepper. It’s what makes this salad so bright and zippy! Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar, or blend them for a thicker dressing.
I don’t need to tell you how to make bacon, do I? Cook it slow and low to render out the fat, which you will need for this recipe! When the bacon is crisp, pat it dry and chop it up. I’m a pretty frugal gal in the kitchen, but when it comes to meat, I always splurge by supporting local farmers. While it’s tempting to buy a $4 pack of bacon when it’s on sale, nothing beats thick slices of bacon that come from pastured pigs.
TOSS THE GREENS
Here’s the thing. When I make a vinaigrette, I always make more than I need, and my salad dressing recipes reflect this. I love having a jar of salad dressing in my fridge that I can use throughout the month, which is how long it lasts. I can’t tell you how much dressing to measure out for your salad, though. Some of us like less dressing, others, more. Follow your heart and put as much dressing as you’d like on your greens.
In addition to the vinaigrette, drizzle on a bit of the warm bacon grease. My mom swears that this tenderizes the leaves. It also adds a beautiful smoky flavour. I usually add one or two tablespoons of grease, depending on how big the salad is. Pour the leftover grease into a small jar or ramekin, and store it in the fridge for later use. Use it to fry up potatoes, cabbage, and eggs.
ARRANGE THE BACON PARMESAN DANDELION SALAD
Now that all of your ingredients are at the ready, divide it between two plates and serve immediately. If you still have dandelion flowers kicking around, why not garnish your salad with a couple of sunny blossoms? They’re completely edible and they’re good for you, too!
OTHER INGREDIENTS YOU CAN PLAY AROUND WITH
There are so many different ways you can serve up a dandelion salad. Here are a couple of other ingredients that work well with dandelions that you can play around with:
Roasted or boiled potatoes
or slivered almonds
THANK YOU FOR DROPPING BY THE KITCHEN!
After you get used to incorporating dandelions in your diet, you’ll start craving their healing bitter taste. I can’t get enough of these powerful greens, especially since they’re basically healthier than everything in my fridge. Well… except for maybe my jars of homemade raw sauerkraut and Lacto-fermented chilli lemon carrot sticks. Garlic mustard is another edible weed that might be growing around you. This invasive species has been spreading around North America since the 1800s and it’s showing no signs of stopping!
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PRINTABLE BACON PARMESAN DANDELION SALAD RECIPE CARD
Bacon Parmesan Dandelion Salad
- 1 bunch dandelion greens chopped
- 2 bacon strips
- 1/4 cup parmesan shredded
- 1 avocado sliced
- 3 oz avocado oil or other light oil
- 1 oz red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- salt & pepper to taste
- Shake the vinaigrette ingredients together in a jar or run them through a blender.
- Cook the bacon slow and low to render out the grease. When done, chop the bacon and save the grease–you will need it!
- Toss the dandelion greens with a bit of vinaigrette (you will have extra for later use) and a tablespoon or two of bacon grease.
- Divide the greens between two plates and garnish with the avocado, bacon and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
- The warm bacon grease will tenderize the dandelion greens, but don’t use the full amount! Store the extra grease in the fridge for later use.
- If you don’t like the idea of having a jar of homemade vinaigrette in the fridge to use throughout the month, make a smaller batch of dressing by measuring the oil and vinegar with tablespoons. Remember: one part acid to three parts oil, mixed with a bit of mustard and sweetener (ie. honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.)
PIN IT FOR LATER
Love and gratitude,