Dandelion

Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
3 garlic gloves, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 bunch dandelion greens (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper, to tasted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a shallow-rimmed baking sheet and roast until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Pulse the garlic and pumpkin seeds together in the bowl of a food processor until very finely chopped.

Add parmesan cheese, dandelion greens, and lemon juice and process continuously until combined. Stop the processor every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The pesto will be very thick and difficult to process after awhile — that’s ok.

With the blade running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Greens and Almonds
1 bunch beets, both tops and roots
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup toasted almond slivers

Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan or cake tin with a big square of foil, large enough to complete enclose the beet roots. Lightly rinse the beet roots to remove any really clumpy dirt and pat them dry. Place them in the foil square and lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Fold up the foil and crease to seal. Bake the beets for 60 minutes or until they can be just pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, chop the beet greens into bite-size ribbons. Discard the stalks between the roots and where the leaves start, but chop the leaf ribs along with the leaves. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt and grit. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook on low for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the chopped leaves and stir to coat with the garlic. Cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes or until the leaves are soft and tender. Remove from the heat.

When the beets are cool, rub them with a paper towel to remove the skin. Then chop into bitesized pieces and toss with the cooked greens, goat cheese, and almonds. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold. (This also makes an excellent pressed sandwich filling, especially with some extra goat cheese.)

 

Crispy Pan-Fried Beans and Wilted Greens

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4-6 as a side

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson and Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
8 ounces (1/2 bunch) Swiss chard
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces (2 cups or one 15-ounce can) cannelloni or other white beans, drained and rinsed
Zest from one lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon za’atar spice blend
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Trim the center stem from the Swiss chard and slice the leaves cross-wise into ribbons. Chop the stems into bite-sized pieces.

Heat one teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt until they are very soft and uniformly golden-brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the chopped chard stems, 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl.

Warm another 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil, enough to coat the entire bottom of the pan. 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.

Stir the chard leaves, the za’atar, and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the beans. Stir until the chard is completely wilted and tastes tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture back in, along with the lemon zest and juice from 1/2 lemon. Stir and taste. Add more lemon juice, salt, or other seasonings to taste.

Serve immediately, drizzling a little extra-virgin olive oil over each dish. Add a poached egg, a scoop of pasta, or a piece of toast to make a more complete meal. The beans will lose their crispiness as they cool, but leftovers still make a tasty meal. This dish will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

 

Kale, Bacon & Egg Whole-Wheat Breakfast Sandwich

Makes one sandwich

1 whole-wheat bun
Mayonnaise or softened butter (optional)
1 strip bacon
1 1/2 cups kale, chopped into 1/2-inch ribbons
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg

Toast the bun and set it on a plate. Spread with mayonnaise or butter, if desired.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off the bacon grease, leaving just a thin film on the pan. Add the garlic and kale to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, tossing frequently and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Taste and add salt if needed. Cook until kale is tender, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if needed to keep kale moist as it cooks. Sprinkle with vinegar, then remove from pan and set aside.

Wipe skillet clean and add vegetable oil (or 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon grease, if you’re feeling frisky). Over medium heat, fry the egg. While it cooks, assemble the rest of the sandwich: Place the kale on the bottom half of the bun. Cut the bacon in half crosswise and place on top of the kale.

Top the kale and bacon with the fried egg and the top bun. Serve immediately, cutting in half just before eating.