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From Weed to Wonder: Rediscovering the Magic of Dandelions

Discover the profound significance of this often-overlooked plant, as I share personal anecdotes and culinary wisdom passed down through generations. From the bustling streets of New York City to the tranquil villages of Greece, we'll explore the transformative power of dandelions and their role in nourishing both body and soul.


Yellow dandelion flowers in a field

Dandelions have a special significance in my life. Even more so today than ever. They were my Yiayia’s favorite thing to eat, for so many reasons. In my earlier years I wondered why from all the incredible Greek dishes and ingredients she could have picked from, why would she choose something so…”simple”? But what I’ve learned is that it is when we return to our foundation, our roots, the earth, we can receive great benefits - including enjoyment. 


Growing up on the western side of this world and in the epicenter of the concrete jungle - New York City - dandelions are often overlooked as pesky weeds. They grow in between the cracks of the pavements or perhaps even in the small garden containers for those looking to bring nature closer to them amongst the hustle of bustle of city life. Here we have been taught to throw some pesticides on them or to rip them out because they’re considered invasive, unwanted, and not appealing. 


But when you travel to the other side of the world, to the sun soaked Grecian mountains you learn quite the opposite. These plants are instead treated like gold. You could even call them by the trendy term - “Supergreen” if that’s your cup of tea. They grow WILD, everywhere, as do so many plants and herbs used in Greek cuisine and natural medicine. The beauty about this plant is that every single part of this plant can be used - from the flower, to the stem and leaves, to the root, and depending on various parts of the season.  


Hand holding a cutting of dandelion greens, over a bowl of dandelion greens that has a yellow knife on top

Every time I would make my way to leave after a visit with my Yiayia, she would remind me every single time to stop by the market next time and pick up some more fresh dandelion greens. It was a staple in the kitchen. There wasn’t anything fancy about it - she would prepare them using her trusty yellow hand knife that she had for who knows how long, boil them, drench them in rich golden olive oil imported from of course Greece because every other olive oil was inferior in her book, and soak it in lemon juice, with fine Mediterranean Sea salt. That’s it. She’d fill up her bowl, with a slice of bread, and you’d think she was eating a Michelin star meal. It was a simple dish, but to her, it was a taste of home.


I often wonder what it was about dandelions that captured Yiayia's heart. Perhaps it was the memories of her own childhood in rural Greece, where these humble plants grew wild and free. Or maybe it was the generations of wisdom passed down through our family, teaching us to appreciate the bounty of the earth and the nourishment it provides.


Now that spring is here and dandelions are once again popping up all around us, I can't help but marvel at the beauty and resilience of these little plants. It's incredible to think that something so often overlooked and disregarded can hold such power and potential. Dandelions aren't just delicious – they're also incredibly good for you. The bitterness of the greens helps to stimulate the liver and support the immune system, making them the perfect addition to your springtime diet.


Recently, I attended a workshop led by herbalist Shannon Mitchell, who shed light on the etymology of the dandelion's Greek name, Taraxacum, derived from taraxos, meaning remedy of disorders. Mitchell drew parallels between the plant's resilience to pesticides and its therapeutic potential, underscoring the profound connection between nature's resilience and our own well-being. In a society that often overlooks the healing power of food, dandelions serve as humble yet potent allies, embodying the resilience and vitality of the natural world.



Creamy vegan dandelion soup

To honor Yiayia's memory and celebrate the beauty of dandelions, I'm hosting a cooking class later this month. We'll be making a creamy dandelion soup, inspired by Yiayia's own recipes, as well as a sweet and decadent Ravani cake. It's a chance to come together, share stories, and pay tribute to the simple pleasures that bring us joy.


So if you're curious to learn more about dandelions and their culinary potential, I hope you'll join me on April 20th at 3 PM EST. All proceeds from the class will be donated to St. Basil’s Academy and Chili's On Wheels, supporting those in need in our community. Let's come together to celebrate the beauty of tradition, the power of resilience, and the magic of dandelions.

1件のコメント


This is fascinating!! I find it so difficult to cut dandelions from my garden to eat - I keep thinking they are weeds. I look forward to learning more!

いいね!
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