By Fredrica Syren:
Most people, when finding dandelions or nettle in their garden, will with a sigh figure out how to get rid of them. Not me! When I come into my garden and find these little weeds, I cheer. Many weeds are edible and quite nutritional. During spring and summer, my kids and I spend time outdoors picking dandelion flowers, leaves and stinging nettle, and make all kinds of goodies from them.
The nutritional benefits of both dandelions and nettle, I’ve covered here on green-mom.com. You can find out more about dandelions and nettles by clicking the links. But to sum it up, nettle is rich in anti-inflammatory properties as well as iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, selenium, and vitamins A, B, and K. And dandelions, in potassium. The flower is used for everything from a diuretic to a tonic for treating the early stages of cirrhosis of the liver. Dandelions are known for cleansing the body and keeping fluid levels balanced, which is beneficial to many organs and body functions. Both weeds are easy to make into tea simply by pouring boiling water over leaves and steeping for 5-10 minutes.
However, there are so many other fun ways to consume dandelions and nettle. Here are a couple of my recipes:
Nettle Soup — A super easy soup to make, it’s my kid’s favorite, for sure. It’s vegan, healthy, satisfying and loaded with nutrition.
- 2 cups freshly picked nettle
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour mixed with 2 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 cup sour cream (I use Tofutti soy sour cream.)
- 2 Tbsp. minced chives
1. To not get stung, use gloves to chop the nettles.
Dandelion Syrup — My daughter Bella is in love with dandelion syrup and prefers that on her pancakes. Here in Sweden, it’s also called sunshine honey.
1. Remove the petals from the sepal. Be sure not to allow any green into the petals, as it will add bitterness to the syrup.
Nettle Pancakes — A great way to “sneak” green vegetables into a food most kids love. Simply add chopped nettles to any pancake batter.
Nettle Smoothie — Nettle is a super food and one of the most nutritional green vegetables. This a great a great smoothie for the morning or after a great workout.
Blend everything into a wonderful, creamy smoothie.
Dandelion Smoothie — Since the leaves are bitter, they might be hard to eat, but blending them up in a smoothie with sweet fruit can make them easier to consume. This is super smoothie:)
- 1-2 bananas
- 1 mango
- Handful of dandelion leaves, stems removed
- 1 ½ cups water
Mix everything in a blender until perfectly smooth and creamy.
Dandelion pesto — This is a super easy way to add powerful greens to your diet.
- 1 handful dandelion leaves
- 1 handful basil leaves
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 2-4 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Grated lemon peel from one lemon
- ½ Tbsp. honey
- ½-1 tsp. salt
Mix all Ingredients except olive oil in a food processor until it’s like a paste. Scrape down sides a couple of times. Slowly add olive oil and blend just until it’s combined.