Authentic Italian Recipes from Italy




                   Can't find what you're looking for? Request a recipe and we'll post it for you!

                                        Never miss a recipe. Join our spam-free mailing list.

                                                                     Our tips & info





Tips & Info

How to Use Dandelion Greens

Perhaps you were in the grocery store or at the farmer’s market in the early spring and picked up something called dandelion greens or Italian chicory. When they are in season, the bunch of prickly looking green leaves on narrow white or red stalks are deep and vibrant. But how do you prepare these healthy greens? Here are some tips and tricks to enjoying this wonderful plant.

The plant sold as dandelion greens is part of the chicory family. In Italy there is a wide variety of chicory available to consumers. The shape and color is largely dependent upon the region you are in. However, in the US, there are typically only 2 – 3 types sold. The most common is a flat leaf version with a white stalk. Other varieties have a red stalk with a flat leaf and a curly leaf on a white stalk (this version is usually called purely “chicory”).

The leaves of these greens bruise easily and do not like being exposed to excess water. It is recommended that they be consumed within 2 – 4 days of purchase. When you are ready to prepare them, discard any yellowed or heavily bruised leaves. Proceed by rinsing each of the leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt and sand contained in the bunch. Once all of the leaves are washed, drain off any excess water using a salad spinner or paper towels.

Dandelion greens support healthy liver function and are excellent sources of calcium, iron, fiber, Vitamins A, E and K, and antioxidants including beta-carotene and lutein so they are a great addition to any diet. However, if eaten raw, these greens can be slightly to very bitter. If you want to enjoy raw dandelion greens, we recommend using the smaller, younger leaves. The larger leaves are more enjoyable cooked by steaming or braising the leaves (along with their stalks).

A popular authentic Italian recipe is to chop up one bunch of cleaned dandelion greens into small ½ inch pieces and braise them in a large pan with 2 cloves minced garlic, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and ½ cup water for about 5 – 7 minutes. Then, to the pan, add 1 cup of your favorite rice and the manufacturer’s recommended amount of water. Stir all of the ingredients well and cover the pan. The dish is ready when the rice is cooked. Serve the greens and rice with extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Once you are familiar with this green, you will find that you can substitute it for many other greens in recipes such as broccoli rabe, spinach and mustard greens. And if you enjoy bitter greens and have never given this one a try, we highly recommend them.