I never thought that I could love something like this Vegan Dandelion Greens Pesto with Roasted Potatoes because bitter greens, like dandelion leaves, have always been a bit of a struggle for me as I have (or had) very strong bitter receptors. But over the past several years I’ve begun to tolerate bitter flavors more. It’s either my “maturing” palate, or the fact that I’ve burned my taste buds to death with my strong preference for very spicy foods. Ether way I enjoy them so much more now; from kale to rapini and arugula to dandelion greens, they make their way to my plate a lot.
In the early days of this quarantine business, sometimes bitter greens were the only ones left at the market after the more familiar iceberg, romaine and baby lettuces had been cleaned out. I assure you that if that is still the situation where you live, you have nothing to fear. Even if you cant fathom eating a big, bitter bowl of them, there are many ways to subtly introduce them to your meals. You can blitz them into a smoothie (blueberries and other dark berries help mask both the color and flavor). You can add them to pasta dishes. Or you can turn them into pesto as I’ve done with these dandelion greens.
Pesto is essentially a blend of green things (traditionally basil), pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. In this version, we’ve swapped the more usual fragrant herb for dandelion greens, and the Parmesan cheese for umami-rich nutritional yeast. I loathe pine nuts, so in this Vegan Dandelion Greens Pesto with Roasted Potatoes I used a combination of pepitas and shelled sunflower seeds (it’s all I had in the pantry so…) and it turned out great. If pine nuts are your thing, then feel free to use them, or any other nut that floats your boat.
We enjoyed this dandelion green pesto as a dipping sauce for some garlicky roasted potatoes, but it would also work well in the usual applications like a sauce for grilled chicken, over pasta or spread onto a pizza crust. It was a hit with the whole family and zero people could guess that the pesto was made from dandelion greens.
If you can’t find dandelion greens at your supermarket, you can swap them for arugula or baby kale.
LOVE GREENS? TRY SOME OF OUR OTHER HEALTHY RECIPES!
- Delicata Squash Stuffed with Collard Greens
- Kale Sausage Vegetable Soup
- Winter Salad with Radicchio Apple and Walnuts
If you make this recipe, or any of my others be sure to tag me on Instagram, and use the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes!
- 1½ pounds of baby potatoes, washed and cut in half
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons good quality, extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch of dandelion greens, washed and dried
- ¼ cup of shelled pepita seeds, or nut of your choice
- ¼ cup shelled sunflower seeds, or nut of your choice
- 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- ½ cup of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese)
- sea salt to taste
- Roast the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the potatoes, olive oil, garlic (and salt and pepper to taste) on a sheet pan until evenly coated. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and tender when pierced with a knife.
- Make the pesto. Chop the dandelion greens down a bit and put in a blender (or food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment) with the pepita seeds, sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse until finely chopped.
- With the motor on, drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream.
- Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese), and pulse a few more times to combine. If the mixture seems very thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin to your desired thickness.
- Taste for seasoning and add additional salt to taste. This will keep well in the fridge, in a tightly sealed container, for a few days; top the pesto with a layer of olive oil to decrease any browning.