Sauteed Greens

With all the rain we’ve had, unusual for this time of year in Denver, the most delicious greens are available for the picking! A group of Urban Foragers joined me on Saturday to find out what was available to eat right now. We found so many delicious plants, we hardly left the backyard of People House at Federal and 25th Ave! Even though we found over a dozen different plants of interest, next month we’ll expand our search to another part of this neighborhood. I’d like to share a recipe with you for the greens you pick. Today I’m focusing on Dandelion Greens because you all know what they are, and they can even be bought at some grocery stores if you don’t have time to bend over and pick your own.

Sauteed Greens:

Saute chopped onion, garlic, and a hot dried pepper if you like until soft, add washed, chopped dandelion greens and any other greens you have on hand (Dock, kale, escarole, collard greens, etc). Stir them into the hot oil until wilted and bright green. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a splash of your favorite vinegar. Enjoy!

If you want to know what wild edibles grow around your home, I can do a walk with you and your neighbors. Just contact me! I also love to take older school children, all sorts of groups, and gardeners who would rather eat the ‘weeds’ they pull than just throw them out!


There are one or two weeds that can be confused with dandelions. On the left is prickly lettuce. The differences are quite evident when you see them together. Dandelions have very deep serrations on the leaf and prickly lettuce leaves are relatively smooth. Dandelion leaves grow in a rosette without a stem, and prickly lettuce has a stem with opposing leaves. Most evident of all, prickly lettuce has a single row of ‘hooks’ or prickles along the central rib on the back of the leaf, and dandelion’s leaf back is smooth.

The whole dandelion plant is edible and nutritious – root, leaves, and flowers. It grows in most climates and terrains, although the growing season is dependent on seasonal rains in the desert. This is a valuable survival plant as it will keep you alive even if you have nothing else to eat. It contains all the nutritive salts the body needs to purify the blood and is a liver tonic as well as a safe diuretic since it replenishes the potassium as it does its job.  Dandelion is also an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, and contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. It also supplies phosphorus and iron as well as some nickel, cobalt, tin, copper, and zinc.*

Dandelion root has been roasted for a coffee substitute, and the leaves are wonderful in salad when young and a good pot herb when older. The flowers can be dipped in batter and fried for a treat! There is a wonderful recipe for Dandelion and Bacon Salad at and this is one of my favorite blogs as well!

* Today’s Herbal Health, 3rd Edition, by Louise Tenney, M.H., 1992, pg. 57.

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