An easy recipe for sautéed dandelion greens with cannellini and kidney beans makes a simple vegetarian meal that’s ready in under 30 minutes. Learn how to cook dandelion greens in a new tasty way!
I think it’s funny that the weeds I happen to despise in my lawn are growing as greens in my garden.
Honestly, I didn’t even know eating dandelion greens was a thing until about 2 years ago.
I saw them in Whole Foods, bought a bunch, threw them in a pan like I would spinach or kale and was like “ok, wow these things are a quite bitter.”
But, I’m weird and like bitter things.
Plus, they (whoever “they” is) say the more bitter, the better for you. Tell me something is good for me and I’ll usually find a way to like it.
So, when I saw a small starter container of dandelion greens at the nursery earlier this year as I started my stock tank garden (Megan has a great post on starting a stock tank garden if you’re interested), I grabbed it and stuck it in the dirt.
Four months later, here we are and along with my Swiss chard, it’s growing like a weed (no pun intended).
In the two years’ time since my first encounter with eating dandelion greens, I’ve come a long way in finding ways to prepare them to tame the bitterness.
This dandelion greens and bean skillet is a recent favorite as a meatless lunch or dinner option and we’ll talk about it in a bit but first, let’s go over some of the details of this weed bunch of greens.
WHAT ARE DANDELION GREENS?
They are exactly what you think they are, the green/leafy part of a dandelion!
We may think of them as a weed but in traditional medicine, dandelions are used quite often for their medicinal properties.
They’re sold in bunches just like kale, spinach, chard and tatsoi (another fun green I grow in the garden) but, they’re definitely more on the bitter/peppery side compared to their leafy green counterparts.
DANDELION GREENS NUTRITION
Like all leafy greens, dandelion greens are full of nutrients. Specifically, vitamins A and K along with calcium and iron.
They’re also packed with soluble fiber from inulin, a carbohydrate found in plants. Soluble fiber plays a big role in helping maintain the healthy bacteria in our guts.
And, like most plants, you’ll find natural antioxidants, beta-carotene and polyphenols specifically, in the greens as well.
BEST WAYS TO COOK DANDELION GREENS
Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw.
When eating raw, I like to use it sparingly among a variety of greens as they are quite bitter!
If you prefer to cook the greens, my favorite methods are: grilling, sautéing or braising.
And my basic sautéed greens recipe is a great way to use up bitter leafy greens like dandelion for a simple side dish.
Their bitter nature allows them to pair with heavier, fatty flavors like eggs or bacon very well.
They’d be great in a breakfast hash. Try adding them to this Harissa Sweet Potato Hash!
HOW TO MAKE THIS GREENS + BEANS SKILLET
Since discovering that pairing the dandelion greens with other foods while cooking is more palatable, that’s often my approach these days.
While the bitterness doesn’t bother me, Ulysses much prefers eating them this way and I think that’s probably more representative of most people’s preferences than my own weird bitter-loving ways.
The best part about this skillet meal is how simple it truly is.
- A large bunch of dandelion greens, washed and chopped
- Sliced red onion
- Herbs of choice – I use fresh thyme but rosemary, oregano or tarragon would be all be great
- Ground nutmeg
- Salt & pepper
- 2 cans of beans – I use cannellini and red beans but choose any assortment you like
And the secret ingredient to the whole dish:
- A generous splash of balsamic vinegar
The method is also simple:
- Sauté the onions until softened.
- Add the herbs and spices and stir.
- Add the dandelion greens, cover and let them steam until tender.
- Remove the cover, add the beans and continue cooking until they’re just warmed through.
- Turn off the heat, add the balsamic vinegar.
- Season to taste and serve!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THESE GREENS AND BEANS
If you prefer to eat this as a side dish rather than a meatless/vegan meal, there are plenty of options!
This is probably how I’d roll – why not keep things simple?!
Nutritionally speaking, this is one heck of a fiber packed meal.
With my own nutrition goals leaning much more heavily in the plant-based direction as of late, this meal is the exact kind of thing I tend to throw together when I don’t really have a “plan”.
This simple equation is always a good fallback when you find yourself wondering what to make for dinner:
skillet + aromatics + greens + plant-based protein (beans/tofu/tempeh/lentils/quinoa)
It’s flexible to what you have on hand and customizable to all sorts of preferences for serving.
For example, take up 75% of your plate with the dandelion greens and beans then add your favorite grain or starch (rice/potatoes/millet/pasta), a fun sauce (hot sauce/tahini/pesto, etc.) and throw a healthy fat (sliced avocado/drizzle of extra virgin olive oil/chopped nuts/seeds) on top for a complete (and nutritionally sound) meal.
When I tell someone what I do for a living (this), one of the first things I always get asked is “what’s your favorite recipe to cook”.
And my answer is always the same: “I don’t really cook recipes, I just throw stuff together based on what I have”.
This dandelion greens and bean skillet is exactly that. I’m sharing it with you as a “recipe” but in reality, it’s more of method to apply to whatever you have on hand.
Dandelion greens are delicious and I’d love for you to try them but, if you have spinach or kale or Swiss chard in your fridge instead, use that!
Even escarole is a great substitute. Better yet, just make some escarole and beans!
And then pick up some dandelion greens if you see them and try them next time!
Dandelion Greens + Beans Skillet
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 large bunch dandelion greens or 2 small bunches, washed, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
- 15 oz. can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. can red beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine with the onions and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped dandelion greens, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until wilted.
- Add the beans and stir until combined. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until heated through.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, turn off the heat and toss to combine.
- Season with additional salt and pepper to taste before serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.