Mmm, healthy salads (and no, that’s not always redundant – just ask any chain restaurant)!
Earlier this week I sang the praises of wheatberries, and suggested adding them to a salad. I followed my own advice and made them one of the staple bases of this filling lunchtime salad, along with some dandelion greens!
Dandelion greens are new to me in terms of food. I’ve heard health food types sing their praises for the past few years, but I’ve never picked them up for my own use until now. Whole Foods had some nice bunches for sale, and one of my goals each week is to never get the same leafy greens twice in a row, with an extra incentive to try and get greens I don’t normally buy. Dandelion greens fit this bill, and I’m excited to try them in some new dishes, especially since they supposedly do amazing things for your health* (the website claims that dandelion greens could, among other things, improve liver function, cleanse and purify both the skin and blood, and help treat various illnesses), and are a natural source of loads of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, iron, potassium, fiber, and more. Huzzah!
But the million dollar question – how do dandelion greens taste? I ate these greens straight up and raw in the salad (save for a pesto dressing) and the first thing I noticed was that they were very bitter. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a flavor to note – if you’re not a fan of bitter greens, then you may want to cook the dandelion greens a bit or perhaps swap out another green for this salad (I would recommend arugula on the stem, or kale). Have you ever eaten celery leaves? It’s a similar bitter flavor, but not quite as zippy. It’s kind of hard to explain. I, however, didn’t mind once I processed the flavor, and actually really enjoyed the way it paired with tangy tomato, sweeter asparagus, and neutral wheatberries, not to mention the pesto (I also love celery leaves, for the record).
This salad is very dense thanks to all the fiber, not to mention a good share of protein coming from the wheatberries and veggies. I used a pre-made pesto sauce, so no recipe for that (today) – use your favorite! I think the pesto adds a nice zip to all of the vegetables and especially the wheatberries, but you can use another dressing if you like.
Wheatberry and Dandelion Green Salad with Pesto (serves 1)
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped dandelion greens
1/2 cup prepared wheatberries
1/2 of a medium tomato, sliced
3 stalks of asparagus, chopped
1-2 TB prepared pesto sauce
Toss all ingredients in a bowl until the pesto covers all of the ingredients evenly. Serve immediately.
*Just a note that I’m not a doctor and am not claiming that dandelion greens *do* perform health miracles, but rather *may.* Always consult a professional for advice on herbal medicine (or any sort of medicine) – certainly don’t consult a food blog!