If you’ve ever had a garden or a backyard, then you know how annoying it is to get rid of stubborn dandelions.
And while the sight of the yellow flower may make you sigh in aggravation, the stubborn plant actually has a long history of medicinal use throughout the globe.
Dandelion isn’t just used in tinctures and teas, the plant can also be used in everyday meals to compliment goat cheese, eggs, bacon and potatoes. Sometimes, you can even find the leaves at your local farmer’s market, health food store or even supermarket.
Dandelion Health Benefits
Although it may be considered to be a weed, dandelion is actually full of vitamin A, K and C, iron, potassium, zinc as well as eye-healthy beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (1).
Studies show that dandelion can kill leukemia cells, fight bacteria and boost immune function (2,3).
Used in traditional Native American, Chinese and European medicine to treat disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, upset stomach, appendicitis, fever, boils, diabetes and breast problems. Both the flowers and the leaves hold medicinal properties (4).
In modern herbal medicine, dandelion is used to ease PMS symptoms, lower cholesterol, fight inflammation and ease digestion. It’s also a laxative and diuretic which can help prevent kidney disease and relieve constipation.
20 Remarkable Uses for Dandelions
Dandelion can be a little bitter and if you don’t know how to prepare it, it might not even be palatable. Here are few yummy recipes to get some of its health benefits into your diet, think of it as just another vegetable on your plate!
1. Greens And Garlic
Garlic’s sweet and strong flavor cuts the bitterness of dandelion. Just blanch the greens by dipping young leaves in boiling water for 20-30 seconds before sautéing in olive oil, garlic and lemon or try this recipe:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (5 or 6 cloves), plus
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 pound dandelion greens, washed &chopped
- 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add all spices except garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add blanched or raw greens and stock and cover for a about 5 minutes.
- Uncover and cook until the stock has evaporated and adjust seasoning.
- Add garlic and cook for about a minute and serves with fresh lemon.
2. Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
While you may have heard avocado pesto or spinach pesto but have you ever heard of dandelion pesto? Use it on pasta, sandwiches and as a dip. You can also swap pine nuts for nutrient-packed pumpkin seeds.
Makes about 1 cup.
- 3/4 cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
- 3 garlic gloves, minced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 cups dandelion greens
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. you can skip the first three steps buy buying roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes.
- Remove and let them cool.
- Pulse these with garlic until finely chopped
- Pulse the garlic and pumpkin seeds together in the bowl of a food processor until very
- finely chopped.
- Add cheese, dandelion and lemon and pulse until thick, making sure that the mixture doesn’t stick to the sides of your food processor in the process.
- As it runs, add olive oil a bit at a time until the pesto is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Crispy Blossoms
Similar to squash blossoms, you can actually fry dandelion flowers for fun summer snack or party dish. Once cleaned, the flowers are actually sweet and delicious.
- 20 dandelion flower heads, stalks and green parts removed
- olive oil for frying
- 2 tbsp corn meal
- A pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of dried thyme
- pinch of dried oregano
- 1 egg, beaten
- Clean your flowers and pat dry with paper towel.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in your frying pan over medium heat.
- Mix corn with seasoning and set aside.
- Dip flowers in egg and cover with cornmeal.
- Fry the flowers in small batches until golden and set on papper towel to absorb extra grease.
- Let it cool and serve.
4. Flower Vinegar
Use this infused vinegar to flavor salads, soups and more. It’s quite refreshing and floral.
- Fresh dandelion flowers
- Apple Cider vinegar
- A sterilized glass jar
- A plastic lid
- Wooden chopsticks
- Chop flowers and fill your jar about ¾ the way.
- Fill the jar with vinegar, using chopsticks to move flowers and allow air bubbles to rise.
- Close the jar and store in a dark, cool place.
- Leave it aside for a month.
- Strain the vinegar and compost your flowers. Transfer vinegar to a sterilized glass jar and store in a cool place for up to a year.
- Take a teaspoon before meals to help digestion.
5. Summer Risotto
Enjoy the deep flavor of dandelion in this smooth and creamy vegetarian risotto.
- 150g of dandelion
- One red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 300g of Arborio rice
- 125ml of dry white wine
- 700ml of vegetable stock
- 125g plain yogurt
- 100g of grated Parmesan
- Wash and prepare flowers, making sure to sure to remove green sepals to free petals.
- Chop onion and garlic finely and cook in olive oil over low heat.
- Add rice and wine and stir.
- As it absorbs the liquid, add a ladle of stock. Continue monitoring and adding stock for the next 30-45 minutes.
- Add yogurt & cheese and stir.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.
Swap out cabbage for dandelion greens for a more medicinal spin on gut-healthy kimchi. Most of the ingredients can be purchased in Korean or Asian grocery stores or online.
- 1 pound young dandelion greens
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons kochukaru (finely crushed Korean chili powder)
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped into matchsticks
- 2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- Wash the greens well and chop them up roughly.
- Toss them with salt in a bowl and massage the salt into the leaves.
- Let it sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients in another bowl.
- Taste the greens. If they are too salty, rinse with a little water. If not, remove extra salt.
- Add greens to your bowl of seasoning and mix well.
- Pack the seasoned greens into a jar, adding water if necessary to make sure that they are fully submerged in their seasoning.
- Close lid and leave them on you kitchen counter for 24 hours to let them ferment.
- Refrigerate and enjoy over the course of 2-3 weeks. The older the kimchi, the stronger the taste.
7. Garden Muffins
These savory muffins are delicious and satisfying.
- 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup of oats
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup of fresh, pesticide-free dandelion petals
- The night before, mix flour, oats, milk and vinegar.
- Cover and leave out for 12-24 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse and dry dandelion.
- Mix ingredients together in a large bowl and sprinkle baking soda and powder over it all.
- Stir until well combined and divine into greased muffin pans.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Cool and enjoy.
8. Petal Sorbet
This may seem like an unusual combination, but the natural sweetness of dandelion flowers actually make them a great ingredient for homemade sorbet.
- 1 quart just-picked dandelion blossoms
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup mild honey
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Use scissors to remove yellow petals from the green and white bitter parts of the flower. Set aside.
- Heat water sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Once it boils, remove from heat and stir in yellow petals.
- Cover and steep for an hour or more.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer or a muslin cloth.
- Add mixture to an ice cream maker and use per instructions or read step bellow.
- Pour mixture in a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze until set.
- Break the frozen puree into pieces and blend in the food.
- Freeze again until hard.
- Remove from freezer and let it soften a little before serving.
9. Light Jelly
This delicate dessert can be eaten strain or used as a jam to spread on toast or incorporate to your favorite dessert.
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups dandelion blossoms (yellow parts only)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered pectin
- 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Add water and blossoms to a medium saucepan and heat to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain and discard blossoms. You should be left with 3 cups of dandelion tea.
- In a small bowl, combine pectin and sugar. Set aside.
- Place tea back into your saucepan and add 4 cups of sugar.
- Stir constantly and heat to a boil.
- Add pectin mixture and stir to dissolve.
- Add lemon juice and let it boil for 1 minute.
- Skim foam from the surface. Let it cool slightly.
- Pour mixture into an airtight container. Cover with a lid. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
- Serve cold.
10. Pancake Syrup
Replace corn syrup or pancake syrup with this homemade 3-ingredient syrup.
- 1 1/2 cups of dandelion petals, cleaned and dried
- 3 cups water
- 2 – 3 cups organic cane sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup raw honey
- juice of half a lemon
- Place petals in a medium saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to a rolling boil for 30-60 seconds.
- Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep overnight in a cool place.
- In the morning, strain the liquid into a large bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Return the tea to your saucepan.
- Add sugar and lemon, and simmer on low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Check consistency and store in an airtight, glass container in the fridge.
11. Dandelion Cake
This fruity cake combines local ingredients with tropical fruits for light and sweet dessert.
- 14oz self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 8oz sugar
- 10oz honey
- 350ml coconut oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups Dandelion blossom petals
- 1/2 fresh, chopped pineapple
- 2oz walnuts
- 2.5oz unsweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine.
- In separate bowl, whisk sugar, honey, oil and eggs together until creamy.
- Add pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and dandelion petals and mix well.
- Stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture until well incorporated.
- Pour batter into a greased, 9×13 cake pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
- Serve with honey.
12. Flower Cookies
These fun bites are perfect for a springtime tea party or as a party favor!
- 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of organic honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 cup of dry oats
- 1/2 cup of yellow dandelion petals
- 1 tablespoon of dried lavender
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of lemon peel
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Combine wet ingredient and slowly stir them into your dry mix.
- Spoon onto a greased baking sheet and bake on the top rack for 10-15 minutes.
- For an extra special touch, remove halfway and fresh a few petals on top of your cookie, transferring them to the bottom rack of your oven to continue cooking.
- Let them cool before serving.
13. Root Coffee
Spike up your morning ritual by adding a few powered dandelion roots. Be careful, coffee and dandelion have both diuretic and laxative effects.
- Preheat oven to 150 F you can skip steps 1-6 by purchasing dried roots at your local health food store or online.
- Collect fresh roots from a pesticide-free yard or purchase them at your local market.
- Scrub roots, rinse and place on a baking sheet.
- Roast until roots are dark and dry, about 4 hours. (about 4 hours).
- Cool and grind roots until it forms a fine powder.
- Store in a closed jar in a cool, dark place.
- As your brew your coffee, add a teaspoon of dandelion root powder to your coffee beans per 6 cups of drink you prepare.
- Brew coffee as usual, adding 1 teaspoon of roasted roots for each 6 cups of coffee. Adjust this quantity per taste.
14. Iced Tea
This lovely tea is perfect for the whole family and keeps your kidneys going strong!
- 1 quart of fresh yellow dandelion petals, rinsed and dried
- 3 quarts of cold water
- 1 cup of hot but not boiling water
- The juice of 3-4 limes
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- Place water, honey and lime juice to a gallon sized glass jar.
- Add flowers and stir gently.
- Cover with a lid and refrigerate for 3-4 hours
- Strain the mixture and pour into cups.
- Drink immediately.
Add petals to your ice cube trays for an extra special touch!
15. Pain Oil
Dandelion oil can be applied topically to relieve joint pain and muscle ache. To make, simply fill a small glass jar with fresh dandelion petals up to an inch below the rim. Cover with sweet almond oil and cover with a lid. Infuse in a warm place away from the sun for two weeks. Strain the oil and pour into a sterilized jar and store in your fridge.
16. Muscle Salve
For a portable salve, prepare dandelion oil above and use a double boiler to melt 1/4 ounce of beeswax. Add 1 3/4 ounces of infused oil to the wax and stir until melted and well incorporated. Remove from heat, let it cool slightly and pour into small containers with lids. Refrigerate until firm.
17. Lotion Bars
Use these bars to ease dry, cracked or swollen skin. Keep them on hand for long hours of gardening or cold winter months.
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 1/4 cup dandelion infused oil
- a few drops of lavender essential oil, optional
- Add ingredients to a canning jar and set down into a pan containing an inch or two of almost simmering water.
- Heat until the mixture is almost fully melted.
- Remove from heat and stir with a clean stick.
- Add essential oil and stir.
- Pour the mixture into silicone mold and let it cool until hardened.
- Remove from molds and store in a airtight container in a dry, cool place.
18. Wart Remover
Harvest dandelions from your yard and dissect them with your hands to extract their sticky juice. Apply the sap directly to your warts several times a day to help them disappear.
19. Yellow Dye
To dye warn or cloth naturally, add a few cups of yellow petals with equal amounts of water and boil for an hour. The quantity you prepare will depend on the size of the cloth you will dye. For a brighter hue, add a few spoonfuls of turmeric. After an hour, strain and return to your saucepan.
As it cooks, simmer cloth or yarn in 2 quarts water and 2 cups white vinegar for about an hour to help it hold onto your dye. Remove from vinegar solution, drain and add to dandelion mixture. Cook just below a simmer for another hour. remove from heat and let it soak overnight.
Rinse the fabric under cool water until the water runs clear. Let it dry and use.
20. Homemade Fertilizer
To feed your garden, collect dandelion and other weeds you’ve removed from your lawn and let them sit in a large container with 8 cups of water. Cover with a lid and let it sit for 2-4 weeks, stirring once a week. Beware, it will smell very strong! When ready, strain the mixture through cheesecloth and compost the weeds. To use, dilute 1 part tea to 10 parts water to water your plants.
Bonus: Feed the bees!
Dandelions and other weeds are important food sources for bees! Rather than removing them all for personal use or obliterating them with pesticides, leave them for the bees to enjoy.