My husband and I rarely see weeds as mere yard infestations. Usually he’s the one asking, “Can we eat it? Make something from it? Use it for some medicinal purpose?” It’s no different when dandelions begin popping up everywhere in the spring.
(By the way, the violets in this picture are edible too.)
Dandelions are one of the most common intruders creeping into yards everywhere. While many people spend time, work, and money trying to keep their lawns free of the brightly colored visitor, others spend just as much time and work (though rarely money) to find uses for the golden weed.
Dandelions have been used for human consumption in many different ways. Dandelion leaf salad, dandelion root tea, and dandelion wine are just a few examples to get you started. Today, I will share a recipe with you that my good friend Alexis taught me how to make: fried dandelion heads.
They taste very much like fried chicken cutlets- only the “meat” inside is free from your yard!
- About 2-3 C Dandelion heads
- White Vinegar (just a splash)
- Olive Oil as needed (try starting with about ¼ C)
- 1 Egg
- About 1 C Plain Bread Crumbs
- 1 Tbsp each Garlic, Italian Seasoning, & Parsely (or to taste)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Unfortunately, the above amounts are just estimates. Depending on how many dandelion heads you have, you may need to alter this recipe accordingly. The nice part about breading & frying is that you can always add more oil to the pan or more bread crumbs & seasonings to the mix if you run out.
1) Collect and Wash Dandelion Heads! This is a great time to get your kids helping you. J loves it when I send him on flower-picking assignments.
* Make sure that you haven’t been spraying your yard with anything toxic if you’re out foraging for weeds!
Pick just under the bloom, where the head easily snaps off. Rinse them off well through a colander if you’re not into eating bugs.
2) Coat your dandelions. First, mix your dandelions with a splash of white vinegar. Next, set up your assembly line for coating. Beat egg into one container. Combine dry ingredients in another. It should look something like this:
3) Fry ‘em up! Carefully place the dandelion heads into the hot oil using tongs or some other such tool. (Or jump back as you drop them so you don’t get splattered.)
Turn them partway through frying to get both sides nice and golden brown. This step won’t take more than a couple of minutes if your oil is good and hot, so watch them carefully to avoid burning them.
You’ll most likely keep popping them til they’re gone. If by some chance you don’t finish them, it’s always fun to pack leftovers for lunch and relish in telling your co-workers you’re eating fried weeds. And besides, they’re yummy, I promise! Hope you give them a shot. 🙂
I love, love, love foraging for wild greens from spring til fall. It makes my heart so happy to hunt for backyard edibles, then use them in delicious recipes that unknowing tasters think are delicious. It’s like fermentation or bread baking for me— I get on a foraging kick and just can’t stop!
My yard is currently a feast of dandelions. (One of my favorite early edibles!) Dandelions + egg surplus+ a foraging mama/daughter team= dandelion quiche, of course.
Little V and I set on a trek about the yard and gathered up many dandelion heads for dinner. We also gathered up a small assortment of violet greens, plantain leaves, chives, and hosta leaves to fill out our bowl. (These additions are totally optional.) After collecting a packed cup full of foraged goodies, my two- year old took the opportunity to use the colander properly:
It makes a very fashionable hat, don’t you think?
A note on foraging: Make sure you only take what you need, get permission if you’re on someone else’s property, and be sure that no pesticides/weed killers/etc. have been sprayed in the area you are collecting from. And ALWAYS make sure you’ve properly identified a plant before eating it. (Thankfully, dandelions are pretty easy! 😉 ) Here’s a great article on foraging ethics that you should definitely read if you’re new to foraging.
On to the quiche! Here’s what you need:
- Single pie crust (You can try my lovely lard pie crust– make half now and freeze the other half for later use. Or use your own favorite recipe!)
- Bacon grease or butter
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 C packed dandelions and additional greens (optional), chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt & pepper
- 8 eggs, beated
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese- i used half mozzerella, half cheddar
Gather up dandelions! I took just the heads for this recipe, though you are welcome to use the greens if you feel so led. Just be forewarned that they can be quite bitter later in the season. Wash ’em up and prepare all your ingredients.
Make your crust recipe of choice. Roll it out, lay it in a 9″ pie pan, poke a couple holes in it with a fork, and bake it at 425 for about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat bacon grease or butter in a skillet. Add green onion, dandelions, garlic, and salt and pepper. Cook for just a couple minutes, or until greens are wilted.
Beat eggs, milk, and additional salt together in a large bowl. Stir in cheeses and dandelion mixture.
Pour egg mixture into hot pie crust. Lower the oven temperature to 400 and bake for about 30 minutes, or until set. A sharp knife inserted into the center of the quiche should come out clean.
My kids were suspicious of this quiche at first, but both ate healthy servings, my son exclaiming all the while that it was “really good!” My husband ate nearly a whole piece before knowing what was in it- though he enjoys foraged food just as much as I do.
If you make it, let me know how you like it!
For other delicious ideas, try these posts: