"She wants me to eat a weed??"
I can see you crinkling up your nose as you read the title of this recipe. But hear me out. Horticulturally speaking, a weed is nothing more than a plant growing in the 'wrong' place and the term can apply to any member of the botanical world. Which means that technically any vegetable, fruit, herb, legume or grain can be considered a weed to someone somewhere. Kinda changes your perspective, doesn't it?
This is a slightly modified version of Heidi Swanson's recipe from her cookbook Super Natural Every Day. It's one of my favorite cookbooks of all time — easily one of my top 5 — and definitely worth checking out if you don't already own it.
Her recipe is fresh and vibrant; however, I found it to be a little too bitter for my taste. So I've played with the proportions and added the zucchini noodles to balance out the bitterness of the greens. The result is a dish that I just can't get enough of.
Thin, young dandelion greens aren't as bitter as the thick, older leaves so look for those when purchasing. First, cut off the thick, stalky part of the leaves and find some other use for them. Then gather the leaves firmly in one hand while cutting them into thin little ribbons with the other. Try to cut the leaves no more than 1/4 inch wide if possible. You'll end up with a big pile of greens, but they'll cook down to about a third of what you've prepped.
You certainly don't have to spiralize the zucchini, but it sure is fun. A spiralizer is one of the few kitchen gadgets I own (and I'm always happy when I remember to actually use it). It just makes veggies fun. And it's a great way to get my son involved in the kitchen because he loves to use it too. Speaking of which, he isn't crazy about this recipe, it's a little strong for him. So I'll saute some of the zuchini noodles in olive oil for a few minutes, then top them with some freshly grated Locatelli or Parmgiano cheese (a super-simple tweek for those without allergies to milk) for his portion of the meal. Which means he'll eat his dinner without whining and I don't have to cook something entirely different for him. Which makes a momma happy all around. :)
When zesting the lemon, be sure to only remove the bright yellow outer skin. The white layer beneath (the pith) can be bitter, and can help turn this dish pretty fast. And as a bonus, if you juice the entire lemon you can use the leftover juice to make this Easy Lemon Kale recipe for your lunch this week
One final note: I imagine you could make this recipe raw with great success as well. You could just add the greens, lemon juice, garlic, & salt through a blender to make a pesto-type sauce, then toss it with the zucchini noodles, chick peas and lemon zest. Easy, right? Let me know if you try it — I'd love to hear if it works!
Chickpeas & Dandelion Greens
All of the ingredients in this recipe are either whole foods or minimally processed. I used EDEN ORGANIC Garbanzo Beans and NAPA VALLEY NATURALS Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil. This recipe makes enough to feed two hungry adults as a meal; four to six as a side.
- 1 small can (15 oz) chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans) ; drained, rinsed, and dried
- 1 bunch dandelion greens; cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
- zest from one lemon
- 1 - 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pure olive oil
- himalayan salt
- 1 small clove of garlic; minced or run thru a press
- 1 medium zuchini; spiralized or cut into noodles
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and 3 or 4 big pinches of salt and stir. Continue cooking (and occasionally stirring) the chickpeas until they begin to develop golden skins, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the dandelion greens and stir, just until they start to collapse, which should take about a minute or less. (If cooking the zuchini noodles, add them to the skillet along with the greens.)
Add the garlic and stir, and cook for another 30 seconds or so until garlic is fragrant. Add the lemon juice and stir.
Remove from heat and add lemon zest.