Monday, February 18, 2013

Dandelion Green and Sage Pesto

So lets do a low-down on dandelions. While some may think of them as that pesky weed that's ruining their otherwise prisitne lawns, they are really one of nature's little gems. There's a reason they grow everywhere, because they're screaming out "eat me, eat me!!" A beautiful little flower, yes, but dandelions also produce quite the array of medicinal and delicious edibles parts. Actually, you can eat every single part of the dandelion plant; flowers, leaves, stems, roots and all. All parts are delicious and super healthy. The flowers are great tossed into salads, the roots are great made into teas or even pickled, but what we're concerned with here is the leaf, or greens as some call it. You can do a ton of stuff with the greens, and with a fresh, yet slightly bitter and astringent taste they add great depth to salads, stir fries, soups, or pretty much anywhere that you'd use something, spinach or arugula. One of my favorite things to do with them, however, is to make a pesto! What a great medicinal combination of medicinal ingredients...raw garlic, olive oil, sage, dandelion greens. Perfect for detoxing and cleansing the body. I put this pesto on pretty much everything, but a few of my favorites were on roasted carrots and sweet potatoes (sage goes phenomenally with root veggies), on sandwiches (especially breakfast sandwiches!) and on rice or pasta. Try this one out, it is truly delicious. (PS your local grocer should carry dandelion greens in their produce section, some don't but I've generally had good luck finding them...or alternatively wait till we thaw out of this cold snowy winter and go pick them yourself!)

Dandelion Green and Sage Pesto
-2 Cups Dandelion Greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
-1 Cup fresh culinary sage
-1/2 Cup pine nuts (or shelled sunflower seeds for a nutless version)
-3 Cloves of Garlic
-Olive Oil

1. Place dandelion greens, fresh sage, pine nuts/ sunflower seeds, and garlic in a food processor. Process a few times until everything is roughly chopped up.
2. Drizzle in olive oil while blending until the pesto is smooth
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Health Benefits!!
Garlic- Contains allicin, an incredibly medicinal component, especially in raw garlic (like in this recipe!) Allicin can help prevent high blood pressure, aid in digestion, aid in inflammation reduction, help prevent and cure cold, and much much more!
Sunflower seeds- Sunflower seeds improve digestion, brain power and cardiovascular system; it is rich in magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc and iron.
Dandelion-leaves and root contain substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, and B complex as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon. They are remarkable for detoxing the body as their slightly bitter taste stimulates the production of bile in the liver, causing it to cleanse itself and the intestines. 
Sage- a stimulant, a diuretic and an expectorant, it boosts memory and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial as well as anxiolytic (reduces anxiety) properties


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