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dandelion pesto

I’m one of those people that really craves bitter greens. And France is a funny place because on one hand, radicchio (trevise), frisée, arugula, and Belgian endive are found easily. The more sturdy greens – like kale and broccoli rabe, are frequently absent, although I did recently hear an Italian vendor at the market explaining to a baffled patron what broccoli raab was. He told her it was “…the foie gras of Portugal”, which wasn’t quite how I would phrase it, but I admired how he customized his sales technique appropriate to his clientele.

One green that does turn up from time to time are dandelion greens. So whenever I see them, I scoop up as many as possible to bring home and sauté the chopped leaves with slices of fresh garlic, then toss them with whole wheat pasta, olive oil, and red chile flakes. Then I top the bowl with chunks of feta cheese and dive in.


Dandelions can be a little irksome to clean because of the tangle of roots and tenacious dirt that often clings to them. So last week when I bought a big bag of them at the market, the woman helping me weighed my purchase, rung it up, then added a few more extremely generous handfuls, which she said was “…for the loss after cleaning”, as she knew how much I would toss away during my washing and picking out of the debris.

(Either that, or she was responding to the tin of chocolate-chocolate chip cookies* I brought her the week before.)

dandelion greens food processor pesto

Faced with an overly generous heap of dandelion greens on my counter, I decided to create a batch of pesto. Usually made with basil and always in a summertime, this rugged version is full-flavored like its basil-rich counterpart, but can be made in the midst of winter when the only thing in season are leafy greens—and, of course, chocolate-chocolate chip cookies.

cleaning dandelions blog

It’s a little bit of a chore cleaning dandelion greens (now I know why people have children – and I guess I owe an apology to all those I’ve scoffed at who’ve told me they don’t have time to cook), but my preferred way to prepare the dandelion greens it to use my trusty scissors to snip off the root tips. If you’re dandelion greens are very dirty, I recommend triple-washing them because any grains of dirt will, of course, make the pesto not so pleasant to eat.

making dandelion pesto ravioli with dandelion pesto

I brought some of the pesto to the market with me this past weekend and returned the favor by reaching into my basket and giving them a sample. And though they liked it quite a bit, I still think they might have secretly hoped I was going to follow it up with another tin of cookies.

Dandelion Pesto

Because dandelion leaves are tougher than basil, I use the food processor to make this version of pesto. A blender would work as well. This makes quite a bit and you can freeze whatever you don’t use, or cut the recipe in half. If you can’t get dandelion greens, I’ve linked to other kinds of pesto recipes below.
  • 12 ounces (350g) washed and cleaned dandelion leaves
  • 1 cup (250ml) olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons (40g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 1/2 ounces (70g) Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
  • Put about one-third of the dandelion greens in the food processor or blender with the olive oil and chop for a minute, scraping down the sides. Add the remaining dandelion greens in two batches, until they’re all finely chopped up.
  • Add the garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and Parmesan, and process until everything is a smooth puree.
  • Taste, and add more salt if necessary. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more olive oil or water.


Storage: The pesto can be refrigerated in a jar for up to four days. The top may darken, which is normal. You can pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent that. It can also be frozen for up to two months.
Ideas for Dandelion Pesto
Spread over pizza with cooked potatoes slices, then baked. -Smeared on crostini over a layer of fresh spreadable cheese.
Use to dress potato salad.
Toss with whole wheat pasta with chicken or roasted vegetables. Reserve a bit of the pasta cooking liquid to help smooth the sauce over the hot noodles. (I add a knob of butter, too, which helps smooth it out. Although pesto purists wouldn’t do that.)
Mix with a salad of farro or wheat berries.
Swirl it into a bowl of Soupe au pistou.

Related Posts and Recipes


Pine Nut Syndrome

Spinach and Basil Pesto (Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Arugula Pesto (Simply Recipes)

Grilled Carrots with Carrot Green Pesto (Not Eating Out in New York)

8 Tips for Using and Choosing Olive Oil

Radish Leaf Pesto (Chocolate & Zucchini)

Radish Leaf Pesto (Delicious Days)

Soupe au pistou

Orecchiette with Carrot Green and Hazelnut Pesto (Seasonal Brooklyn)

Arugula Pesto with Wheat Berries (101Cookbooks)

Farro Salad with Mushrooms, Tomato, and Basil

Wheat Berries and Roasted Vegetables

Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash

*Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookie (Recipe from Ready for Dessert)



    • Dejah

    Thank you David for yet another informative post.

    I love dandelions and discovered them only once I had moved to Switzerland when Grandmère returned from a forage in the nearby woods with a huge plastic sack full of what I remarked were “weeds”! (She was also known to return with other treasures such as porcinis and chanterelles from same said strolls). She scoffed at me and quickly put me to work cleaning the damned things – no fun as you rightly point out – but not as bad as nettles IMO.

    Anyway, she produced a rugged mountain salad with said dandelions tossed with a sharp vinegarette infused with shallots, fried lard and a soft boiled egg – yolk running all over the salad. Croutons were fried in butter and garlic and strewn on the top. A wonderful experience indeed!

    I love your idea of the pesto and as dandelion has sprung up in the Lausanne marché as well I just might give it a try this weekend.

    Greetings from sunny Lausanne!

    • Maureen in Oakland

    Great post! I have been exploring winter pesto, well, all winter. So far my favorite creation has been kale walnut pesto, but I haven’t tried dandelion greens yet. Must do that next. And perhaps after that, the stinging nettle pesto (after being blanched first).

    Miamm miamm

    • Anna

    Thank you for the great idea! I hope dandelion leaves will turn up soon here.
    For now I have to make do with Clotilde’s radish leaf pesto which is such a nice way of using (almost) all parts of radishes too. It tastes fairly bitter, but that’s just to my taste.

    • Sharon

    Of course! And as you mentioned, arugula pesto is another treat. It’s now time for ramps (bear’s garlic, Bärlauch) to show up at the local markets and that makes a tasty tasty pesto, too. When the dandelions show up I will try them, too!

    And I’m so sorry you don’t get good greens there. We just finished with “Grunkohl” season – the local variety of kale. Hmmm, wonder if you can make pesto of that??

    • Michmom, Belgium

    Love this! Now I have something new to search for at our Sunday market. While living in Greece we ate warm horta (boiled wild greens) all winter long. So wonderful with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice over the top. BTW… the markets here in Belgium are overflowing in broccoli raab right now. You should take a quick trip over the border for veggies and waffles.

    • Abra (French Letters)

    I’ll definitely be making this, as we have a lot of pissenlit (adorable name for dandelions) in the market right now. The other day I made a delicious salad with them, plus an equal amount of mâche, in a rich walnut oil dressing. You can only eat them raw when they’re very young, but now’s the moment.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Anna: Thanks for mentioning her post. I did add a few other pesto posts at the end of this one to see how creative people got with their leafy greens…of all sorts!

    Sharon: It’s interesting that certain things, like Swiss chard and Belgian endive, are in heavy supply (perhaps because the endive are greenhouse grown?) while other leafy greens can be elusive. I try to shop at market stands of producteurs (producers) rather than from vendors who are just reselling produce they buy wholesale, which can turn up interesting finds, like this mound of dandelions.

    Maureen: Did you blanch the kale first? I thought that might be necessary for the dandelions (and these leaves were tougher than some) but when I ground them up, they got nice and soft.

    Dejah: You have a lovely market in Lausanne. Amazing produce!

    • Nuts about food

    I have never had dandelion and am of course curious now that you told me about it, since I love bitter greens. The pesto idea is great…I have never seen them at the market here, but perhaps on a walk in the countryside I could get lucky…

    • yoanna

    I love pissenlits! I also used to pick it up in the countryside in Switzerland. We have it as a salad with “lardons” and “croutons”, it is so delicious. Where can we find it in Paris?

    The pesto looks great!


    • Suzy

    When I used to live in London, my house was surrounded by dandelion leaves, my mother (visiting from Greece) got so excited when she saw them because of course in Greece, dandelion leaves are used to make Horta (cooked greens sprinkled with lemon juice and doused in olive oil). Love the idea of a pesto.

    • Zo @ Two Spoons

    Ooo sounds delicious! I may re-think using all those dandelions for compost next time, hehe.

    My Dad always found a furry kind of dandelion which tasted really delicious in a Julia-Child style omelette. Not sure regular dandelions would taste the same though. Still… dandelions are looking more and more edible by the minute! There’s even recipes for fried dandelion flowers!

    • meredith

    That sounds good, I will get some dandelion greens Friday my market so I can try the pesto. And yes, I will make my children help me clean them :)

    • Merisi, Vienna

    Bitter greens are in my DNA or so it seems. I love and eat them any which way I can get them, but I have never had dandelion pesto, sounds intriguing!

    I am looking forward to collect wild ramps in the Vienna Woods. They make excellent pest, especially when made with Pecan nuts.

    To spring greens,

    • Merisi, Vienna

    Oopsie, my apologies, I wanted to write that ramps make good pesto.

    • Merisi, Vienna

    Btw, during my first spring in Vienna, my neighbor took me to a meadow in the woods to collect dandelion blossoms. She made “Dandelion Honey” by soaking the petals and then boiling them with sugar. Quite delicious!

    • parisbreakfast

    I was going to say I’ll pass on the bitter greens and take the cookies, but after reading your Pine Nut Syndrome, I’ll pass on Pesto in general.
    China is supposedly labeling nuts and grains as organic and they are not., or so I read at Summer Tomato.
    So far there have been no cookie ‘recalls’ that I know of…

    • Ed

    This is a very timely recipe. My Chinese doctor just told me I have a hot liver and that I should eat more bitter greens. I’d never thought of Dandelion greens although being in Australia I may be a bit of a search to find them – I may just grow them if I can find some wild plants.

    • Amanda

    The foie gras of Portugal? What magnificent marketing. I can’t wait to try this – I crave bitter greens too. No sign of dandelion greens yet, but they can’t be too far away. And do you really bring your vendors cookies? I suddenly feel like a toad. I clearly need to get in gear.

    • Simian

    Excuse me for being ignorant, but people actually BUY wild dandelions or is a different kind and another vegetable/fruit language confusion? I mean they grow practically everywhere there’s a bit of green…Are Paris’s park so drenched in weedkillers,they don;t grow there -or is it the dog poo that prevents people from picking it themselves???? Since I was a kid we would by pick them and make ‘wine’ or tea out of their flowers and salads and pesto from the leaves.
    (and the flower stalks you can cut lengthwise and make funny ornaments by dipping them in water that makes them curl up)

    If you do have some growing nearby you can also cover it with a bucket or pot to “blanche” them. After a week or 2 you get white leaves due to the lack of sun, and they taste far less biter and more suitable for salads –same method farmer’s use to grow endives…

    I’ve seen a form of unblanched endive sold as dandelions in Turkish markets’ in Germany, but they are not really dandelions , however your pictures look like real dandelions… so I’m a little puzzled…..

    • Jenny

    Hmm, I’m looking at my weed filled backyard with an entirely new perspective now.

    I have fallen in love with bitter greens since moving to the southern US where they are so prevalent. But my favorites are radish greens, something I’ve only ended up with by growing them. I mean, radishes are okay, but their bitter spiky greens are fantastic.

    • Sense of Home

    Love pesto! But dandelions? Well this looks like a very good use for those nasty weeds.


    • Kalynskitchen

    I love this idea. And I love dandelion greens too. I could get the dandelion leaves from my neighbor’s yard if it was summer. Is that mean to say?

    • Kit Spahr

    Oh yum, I am totally trying this. I love dandelion greens so much!

    • Nathalie (spacedlaw – spacedlawyer)

    I’d used it on grilled meat too, instead of Beurre Maître d’Hôtel.

    • Nathalie (@spacedlaw)

    And you should come more often in Italy. Have some agretti. Some cicoria.

    • VE

    My Sicilian Grandmother was crazy about dandelion greens- to the point where she would pick the leaves off the dandelions growing in the yard. She never made a pesto out of them though (which sounds like a great idea)- she just sauteed them up in olive oil like you would with broccoli rabe. I never liked bitter greens as a child, but I picked up the taste for them when I grew up (I can thank broccoli rabe and collard greens for that!)

    • Sarah Baumert

    Hello David,

    I am living in Paris currently for a few months. . . coming from Boston. Interesting what you said about kale. When I plan my garden kale is my top priority and I end up eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner at times. I have not been able to find any kale here since arriving in January, and while I am loving every market that I go to and finding plenty of fantastic ingredients to cook with, I am still craving some good lacinato kale. I do the majority of my produce shopping at the market two blocks from me on Boulevard Richard Lenoir which happens on Thursdays and Sundays, and then when I am out and I stumble upon another market I always check for kale. I’ll let you know if I find any!

    This past summer I enjoyed making pesto with nasturtium leaves and basil. It adds a nice subtle spice to the more typical basil pesto.

    Thanks for all of your tips. I am a yoga teacher and so I appreciate your posts on yoga as well as all the tips for places to eat. The Breizh, Chez Michel, etc. . . I still would like to try Dishny. The bit of Indian food I had here so far was pretty horrible, so I’ve been making some of that myself as I LOVE indian food.

    My great grandmother would pick dandelion greens from her yard and whip up a salad. Magnifique!

    • sillygirl

    I have just started experimenting with mustard greens – shredded with cabbage, cilantro, onion, and a vinegrette for a salad (even better with fried bits of a salami) – tried making a pesto with it and roasted walnuts – excellent!!! Love bitter greens!

    • Valery Rizzo

    Yumm, right up my alley, love the fresh idea.

    • angela

    This is such a great idea, thanks so much. I see them in my market and don’t know what to do with them other than add to a salad. It is hard finding fresh greens this time of the year, unless of course you go for the limp lettuces grown under poly tunnels, which have no taste. I did find something in my market which they called Maure de Porc, (probably its Provencal name) its much milder than dandelion and apparently grows wild in the hills nearby, but I haven’t been able to work out exactly what it is. I blanched it and put it in an omelette. It was OK but not earth shattering…..

    • Jane in Denmark

    I used to grown my own basil to make a delicious pesto. Can’t wait to try making pesto with our abundant supply of dandelions. Never used pine nuts – walnuts are a safer bet and are local too.

    • Cecilia

    Thanks for the post, David. I’ll definitely give this a try, as dandelions are coming up in my yard outside of Austin, Texas, as I write.

    The backyard of my childhood home outside of Chicago, too, was a breeding ground for dandelions, which my Italian mother (and father) would harvest and cook–sometimes making a filling for ravioli. I loved and still love bitter greens–I always feel so healthy after eating them. I do not recommend eating lawn greens if you use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in your yards.

    By the way, have you or any of your readers had problems with “pine mouth” from eating pine nuts? Lately, I cannot eat pine nuts raw or toasted without later having a horrible metallic or bitter (not good bitter like dandelion greens) taste in my mouth that can last upwards of two weeks. I’ve read that this is a problem with pine nuts specifically from China. Have you heard about this?

    • Ruth, new yorker in la spezia/vernazza

    i second on the “agretti” ….a must eat in italy….but available for a very short time (now and through the next month). I am making agretti as one of our vegetables for dinner tonight!

    on the pesto: if making a large batch, my Ligurian mother-in-law taught me to freeze the pesto BEFORE adding the cheese and oil. when you defrost, finish recipe and it tastes absolutely the same as fresh-made.

    • Teresa

    I too crave them this time of year. And soon, around here, at least, we’ll be able to go out and harvest them ourselves [at least 6 good spots within walking distance of my house], and now I have yet another way to eat them thanks to your pesto recipe.



    • Kiki

    David; I LOVE this article…. I too crave the earthy slightly bitter taste of real greens… and I often make a ruccola pesto (rocket leaves) with my spaghetti…. I love ALL types of pesto, be it the green stuff (dandelion, basilic, rocket, or bear leek), always generous with garlic and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I like feta too…)! Mmmmmh – another meal is coming up – and I have my own dandelions (by the loads….) from my garden, garanteed ‘bio’ and untreated!!!!
    Merci et buon appetito!

    • Cooking in Mexico

    You are ahead of the curve, with this one, David. I love bitter greens, also, so this recipes really appeals to me. I can’t find any in the markets here. Have you ever heard of eating radish greens? I’ll have to try them, as I have plenty


    • mari

    The dandelions are just coming up here on our island off North Carolina; this will be great to try. Also just coming up is lemon balm, that I use to make a pesto with using walnuts or almonds (sometimes pine nuts, but they are very expensive here). Brings spring closer…

    • Wanda

    Would it be overkill to eat pesto on top of roasted garlic…that is what I am dreaming about from your blogpost!

    • Nancy

    Bitter greens are one of my required food groups! Need them almost every day or I feel like something is missing. I love dandelion greens, usually saute them or if young and tender use them in a salad – but I have never tried them in pesto. That will be next – thanks!!

    • Diane Shaskin

    Very interesting post. I love the “foie gras of Portugal” line. I will try when I can get my hands on dandelion greens.

    • TheQuestForZest

    Okay, stupid question time… Are these the same kind of dandilions I mow down in my back yard? Would love to try this simply becasue I can forage the ingredients from my yard!

    • Norine

    Another lip smacking and nostalgic post. Yes, my German grandmother picked all kinds of greens and she nurtured a patch of Lambs Quarters near a dripping outdoor spiggot (in Seattle). They must take LOTS of water. They were quite delicate; cooked or raw. Greens were okay as a kid, but now I, too, crave them. A farmers’ market will soon open in town that has a delectable BBQ and incredible greens lunch for really cheap. I can hardly wait.

    • Sara

    I love the idea of this. I loved Clotilde’s radish pesto, for example. Yet while I DO generally like bitter greens, I have not had good luck with dandelions and have found them just too bitter (though maybe the greens themself were not top quality, as I bought them at stop and shop and not from my local marche–is it possible they are too bitter?). And my husband doesn’t like bitter greens of any sort, so it’s not like I could get him to eat my portion. I wonder if the pesto concoction tempers the bitterness somewhat, with the oil and pine nuts?

    • adrian

    Hey, David, have you ever tried ramsons pesto? I was looking for the proper translation of the German ‘Bärlauch’ and came up with ramsons. I hope that’s right. Otherwise on offer: broad-leaved garlic (
    It’s pretty common here in Bavaria and you can find pesto made with this a lot. But watch out, there’s a similar plant that is poisonous.
    I lost the instructions on how to make that link above, sorry.

    • Gwen~healthymamma

    I love your site. It’s so helpful and simply well written. I too love bitter greens but have steered away from them often in the market due to the time and patience constraints of cooking with 4 children running around at dinner time. I loved your comment about being ‘enlightend’ about that now. ;) We still eat uber healthy and a ton of greens. I’ll have to plan ahead and try this recipe out on a good day. ;)

    • Michelle Cervone

    Yes, they are the same annoying weeds that grow in your garden! (My mother’s Greek friend is always digging them out of her back yard on Eastern Long Island, NY.) It is also possible to buy cultivated dandelions, which many feel are less bitter and more tender.

    • Kimberley

    I was just eyeing some dandelion greens at the market last week – but out here, I don’t think any grocer could get away with leaving roots and clumps of dirt attached, because so few people purchase it anyhow. I love the idea of the pesto!

    • class factotum

    now I know why people have children

    My dad used to pay me half a penny for every dandelion I pulled from the yard. The entire root had to be included or I wouldn’t get paid.

    I have no idea why my mom didn’t turn them into salad. She grew up on a farm and surely had eaten them before.

    • Teri Y

    Speaking about bitter greens, have you tried bitter melon? They can be found in Asian grocery stores and in restaurants in Chinatown. You might like it!

    • Alyssa

    Lovely springtime post! Plenty of bitter greens in the markets here in Austin, including dandelion leaves, broccoli raab, collards, and so on, but it’s SORREL that I want to try using for this. Thank you!

    • homegrown countrygirl

    Bravo, David! Bravo! You are always such a good read but I like this post especially much! Thank you!

    • Ruby

    how he “customized his sales technique”–this is why I read your blog! Love this post! I’m going to search for dandelion greens right this instant!

    • Joan Bedard

    Dandelion greens must be picked before the flower appears or else they are not edible according to my father.Sorry I can’t tell you the reason for this.Dad used to pick dandelion greens in early spring from our unsprayed yard.Sure wish the 5 feet of snow would disappear from my yard. Maybe around May or June.Then I can try your delectable dish!

    • ND

    ‘Scuse the ignorant question, but are these are the same dandelions with the puff-ball of parachute-style seeds, that little kids always pick and blow on to send the seeds floating all over?

    • Tonya

    Yum!!!!! My children will enjoy this and have finding them.

    • cathy

    ooo! ooo! i just got back from WWOOFING in the gironde – and what did i do there!? picked wild dandelions for a salad. multiple times. at first i thought it was nuts, but now i have fond memories anytime i see dandelions in the ground. thank you for bringing back good memories :)

    • Lisa

    I love to use mustard greens to make pesto – need to try this version with dandelions.

    • elana horwich

    Perfect timing! I am experimenting with an arugula pesto. Last night tried it with walnuts but was too bitter. Tonight is round two. Using your dandelion pesto recipe as a measurement guideline and general inspiration. :)

    • Lora

    I believe, if you blanch the green leaves for 30-60 seconds first (followed by shocking in an ice bath) your pesto will remain vibrant, even if stored for later use.

    Love your blog, and Facebook contributions!! You are a true asset in the food community.

    • tasteofbeirut

    Great post David! We love dandelions in Lebanese kitchens as we used to forage them wild and make a terrific dish of dandelions and onions called hindbeh.
    Terrific idea.

    • Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

    I love this!

    David, did you know that dandelions are super good for you? Actually, all bitters are — and this is my justification for drinking more Averna and Pernod. ;-)

    I heard this guy, Peter Gail, speak once and he blew me away. He said all the “weeds” that we know in America were actually smuggled in mainly via European immigrants. Dandelion being one of them. The immigrants smuggled them in because they not only saw these herbs (not weeds) as food, they also thought they were medicinal.

    • lizzie

    Well, there’s still about a foot of snow on the ground so it will be awhile before we see our first dandelions in Minnesota, but I’ll look forward to eventually try this. Thanks!

    • Kelly Quinn

    Just saved this under my “FAV’S for FOOD” file. Great post!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Ann Marie: A lot of bitter-ish greens (including those in the broccoli family) are supposed to be quite good for you. When I was writing my chocolate book, I learned a lot of women are ‘super tasters’ and often find bitter greens unappetizing and a few health officials expressed some concern because these greens were/are important to women’s health. So eat those greens, ladies! (And men, too.)

    ND: I don’t know if they are or not.

    adrian: I’ve not seen ramsons (wild garlic) in Paris (Parisians don’t eat garlic, like they do in the south of France), but I’m sure it’s great.

    The Quest for Zeal/Michelle: If you have wild plants growing, you can also take a sample to your local cooperative extension or agricultural center, and ask them to identify it for you.

    cathy: Isn’t WWOOFING great? I know some folks that run a farm in the south that have WOOFers and it’s so much fun to visit and eat all the delicious food they grow and prepare.

    Teri Y: I have and bitter melon is one thing I don’t really like. It’s so astringent and bitter, it’s hard to get past just a few bites. But I have great admiration for those who do!

    • tea_austen

    If only you were here in Seattle–I’d invite you over to the garden and you could “forage” baskets and baskets of dandelions. We’ve got half an acre of them.

    Now I know what to do with the suckers. Thanks! xox

    • sandra

    It’s always interesting to read what you can or can’t easily find when living abroad. As a Brit in Spain, I can get most things or at least make them. I have a gripe with baking products though – I wish I lived in the States! Access to peppermint choc chips, caramel chips, a multitude of natural flavouring oils…..sure I can order on line but the postage to Spain or the UK is enough to make my eyes water and my bank balance cringe. I swear, if I ever manage a trip Stateside again, my suitcase won’t be full of new clothes or the latest gadget, it will be stuffed with baking goods!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    sandra: I always find it interesting how regional things are. When people come to Paris and ask me where they can find good bouillabaise or cassoulet, they always seem surprised when I say – “You have to go to Marseilles, or Gascony, for those.” Spain and Italy (and elsewhere) are like that as well, but most Americans forget that regional differences exist here. (Even in America, you’d be hard-pressed to find fried okra in California or real New England clam chowder in San Antonio, Texas!)

    • Elisabet Figueras

    Love this pesto, I put it in my recipe to do list. Thanks David.

    • JenniferB

    Thank you for the inspiration! Another great use for a common plant.

    About the health benefits of bitter greens (kidney and liver drainage and support if I remember correctly), I believe that the French consumption of these keeps them on their feet after with that rich food altho’ I heard that they do have comparatively more liver problems than other countries. The tradition is to drain the liver in the spring after the winter culinary excesses. Et voila! nature provides in the form of the newly sprouting dandelions.
    Pis-en-lit = wetting the bed; diuretic effect in overdrive!

    The pharmacies and health food shops have loads of ‘cures’ for this and others. Birch tree sirup is another cure to be taken in spring, originating from Sweden. I love the living seasonal connection between the eating habit and its cure!

    So David, if you crave bitter greens, especially now, you probably need them!

    • Melissa

    Re: Sandra – your comment made me laugh so hard! For the last three years I’ve been living in Scotland and I travel light so that at least one checked suitcase is always dedicated to boysenberry syrup, 1-pint jugs of vanilla essence, chips of all kinds-and the occasional Baconnaise jar or Twinkie, just to scare the sh*t out of my friends.

    David, thanks for continuing to post such thoroughly GOOD and thoughtful material! What else can I say, but, ‘thank you’!

    • Maureen in Oakland

    Hi David,

    I didn’t blanch the kale though I did de-stem it. It came out deliciously both times. I figured it was the bitterest, toughest part. Oh I suppose I should specify that I was using dino/tuscan kale to which I added olive oil, green garlic (white and part of the greens, but regular dry garlic would be fine too), and freshly grated parmesan. I have used it over pasta, on bruschetta, mixed into a rice bowl and as a base for a salad dressing so far.

    Maureen in Oakland

    • sandra

    Melissa – I even have a relative working for Kraft in the UK and he tells me HE can’t get his mitts on the baking supplies I want! Boo Hooo, not fair! Considering they make Caramel Bits etc, I’m most put out. I have however managed to buy Lorann candy flavouring on ebay (UK), buying 24, the postage isn’t too bad, it’s the heavier stuff that is the problem! I’d do a really big bulk order in the States but no one else I know here bakes!!!!

    • Georgia

    David, I love your posts! Thank you thank you thank you avec un grand “merci beaucoup” thrown in…
    Have you read Ruth Reichl’s excellent post on the state of our world today? I hope so, because on the side of the web page is your picture which of course inspires me to go and create something in the kitchen for my loved ones.
    When the s*** hits the fan I bake… it makes me feel better, it makes me feel better I help others to feel better and the scent of cookies is my way of sending out wafts of good intentions to others.
    So, if you don’t mind, today I will only look at the lovely dandelion greens and reach for my Kitchen Aid mixer… gotta send some positive cookie vibes out to the world.

    • Audrey

    Use hot water for washing. The dirt comes off more easily.

    • Nancy Baggett

    Sad to say I’ve never come upon a market selling dandelion greens, but I’m betting I’d like them. Ditto dandelion pesto–I’ve never seen that either–what a great idea. I wonder if wild cress would work–that I have seen that here–excellent raw as a salad.

    • Ashby

    I love the idea of dandelion greens being sold at market. Here, everyone just kind of picks them from public places whenever they have a hankering. It’s kind of like a public service.

    I love to see less-traditional pesto recipes, as well. My husband went on a pesto-rampage this summer and we still have a freezer full of turnip green pesto, thai basil pesto, ruby chard pesto……if it’s green, it was probably in our food processor at some point! Thanks, as usual, for your great post.

    • Cassandra Potier Watkins

    Thank you for this great post.

    Whenever I return home to California I practically binge on kale and rainbow chard… both of which I can never find in Paris!
    I will give this a try as soon as I find some dandelion greens. Maybe I am wrong, but is this something I can pick growing wild outside, or are these different dandelion greens??
    Can pesto be done with sorel? I have a bunch growing on the balcony that I need to to cook.

    • Claire

    So, I am surrounded by dandelions but they are amongst the vines, and the vines have been recently treated with the bouille bordelaise. Are they safe? I know that bouille bordelaise is okay for “traitement bio” but I’m still worried. Any answers cause I miss my bitter greens too.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Claire: I would contact your local agricultural extension or agricultural department of a nearby university – or even a plant nursery – and inquire with them as I’m not familiar with the edibility of that treatment.

    • Karen E.

    I apprenticed with an herbalist in the Seattle area for three years and during that time made dandelion vinegar at least a dozen times. Did you know that the knobby roots of the dandelion that you are cutting off are themselves a bountiful harvest? Wash them gently, pack into a jar, cover with apple cider vinegar, and then seal with a layer of waxed paper under the jar lid so the vinegar doesn’t rust the metal lid. Let the jar sit for two weeks and voilà, you’re done. You have dandelion vinegar for salads and delicious, fermented nuggets of dandelion root for snacking on – no kidding!

    • Sandra Myers

    I had heard at times that dandelions were edible, but never really saw any recipes prior to this, for making anything with them. Thanks for sharing. Now, this spring and summer, when I am outside in the yard, weeding, the dandelions won’t be tossed, but collected and triple washed and made into pesto.

    • Yon

    Just had our annual rain down here in San Diego, and when I saw the dandelion greens popping up everywhere I thought of this recipe and immediately began pulling them! It was my first time making pesto, very very good!

    18, San Diego

    • Hillary Jeffcott

    Thank you, David, for such a timely reminder of of the tasty fresh produce just outside my front door. Tonight I baked baby dandelion leaves into a quiche where I usually use spinach, and the combination of bacon and itty-bitter greens is to die for!


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