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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Rumbly Tummy: Dandelions are Dandy

You know the cool thing about living in the country? Your lawn is likely pesticide free, and if you don't have a dog, it's likely pee-pee free too (so long as your toddlers haven't gotten there first). Which means that you can pick your very own dandelion greens for salads!

If you are wrinkling your nose and thinking "I would rather step on a dandelion than put it anywhere near my mouth," well, I dare you to give them a try. Not only are they plentiful and FREE, they are delicious and full of green goodness. Seriously: 1 cup of raw dandies give you crazy amounts of vitamin A & K, plus 10% of your calcium and iron needs for the day. How's that for a little handful of weeds you pulled out of your lawn?

If you're still skeptical, then hide the dandies in a salad of some sort. You know, like a pasta salad. That's what I did yesterday when my Dad came over for lunch.

Pasta salads are quick and easy. Plus you can throw in whatever is lying around in the fridge. I've chucked in various combinations of spinach, green onion, sweet onion, red onion, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, celery, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, frozen peas, frozen corn, chick peas, kidney beans, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts....you name it, it's been partying in my pasta salad at one time or another.

Pasta Salads are great for using up limp-ish veggies and emptying open jars of artichokes or roasted red peppers you used in some obscure recipe last week. If you want to be extra naughty, throw in some crumbled bacon just before serving.

As for dressing, anything with oil and vinegar is good. Lemon juice and herbs make it even better, and for heaven's sake, don't forget to add enough salt. The pasta tends to suck up all the flavour, so make sure you have enough dressing. I usually add about a cup of dressing for a a big bowl, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, then add a bit more as needed.

And adding those dandelions ensures you get your nutritious greenies with minimal fuss. So get your butt out there and start pickin'!

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