This versatile dish can be served as a thick ragout, piled up on toast to make crostini, or thinned out with additional stock for a hearty soup. The bitterness of the dandelion greens is tempered by sweet, buttery cannellini beans, a good dose of garlic, and a pinch of heat.
It’s mostly our view of dandelions and the way we treat them that affects their impact on the environment. They’re commonly treated as a weed and doused with pesticide. Yet here is a rich source of nutrition that, like other leafy greens, is high in vitamins A and K and also a good source of vitamin C. And as anyone knows, it takes little care to grow abundantly. So instead of reaching for the weed killer, let them flourish, and make something great to eat.
Dandelion greens found in the grocery store are often not from the dandelion plant but, instead, from a form of Italian chicory. For the purposes of this recipe, either this variety or the ones in your garden will do. Both are sustainable choices.
Picks and tips: If you’re harvesting dandelion greens yourself, the best time is before they flower. Make sure you choose a location that you know is free of pesticides and chemicals, and be sure to wash them extremely well before using. The dandelions you see at the edge of the road, although abundant, should be avoided.