Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Smoky Dandelion Greens with Spinach and Pine Nuts (gluten free, vegan, ACD)


Spring is here!  That means that fresh greens are too.  One of my favorite spring greens are dandelion greens.  Yep, same dandelion as the lovely little yellow flower that grows in your yard!  Dandelion is a powerhouse of nutrition.  Dandelions were traditionally eaten as a spring tonic, and are perfect for cleansing! I love to include them in green smoothies.  Like all bitter greens, they encourage secretion of digestive enzymes.  They are also very supportive to the liver and kidneys, and help cleanse the system of toxins.  On top of all that, dandelion greens are chock-full of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium!  

In addition to the greens, the flowers and the roots can also be used culinarily and medicinally.  Dandelion root tea - also known as chicory - is a wonderfully robust, dark, strong-bodied beverage that makes a satisfying coffee replacement.  It is also very liver-cleansing, and is delicious.  Dandelion root is also used to make one of my favorite beverages, Dandy Blend.  Dandelion root extracts are mixed with water soluble extracts of barley and rye (it is gluten free how they brew it, read about it here) and it makes the most awesome coffee-like beverage EVER. I got my mom and a bunch of my friends hooked on this stuff.  Dandelion flowers can be added to teas or water kefir to make cleansing beverages or tinctures.  Or, of course, the infamous dandelion wine.  :)

If you have a yard that is free of any pesticides or herbicides (or dog pee!) go ahead and pick those dandelion greens and eat them!  If you don't have access to pure dandelion greens (like me), you can find them at well-stocked grocery stores or natural foods markets.  There are red and green varieties; the color refers to the stem, not the leaves.  They taste the same, and once cooked, the red is barely noticeable, so either way is fine.  When selecting dandelion greens, look for fresh, unmarked leaves that have sturdy stems - you don't want them wilty or brown.  Wrapped well, they will easily store for a few days in the refrigerator.  You can eat them raw, but they are rather bitter, so use them in smoothies or combine them with other greens for salads.

Fresh dandelion greens, ready to be chopped!

My favorite way to eat dandelion greens is sauteed with garlic.  If you follow the blog, you probably know I like just about anything sauteed with garlic, but bitter greens like dandelion really take well to being dowsed with olive oil and garlic, wow.  Lately I have been mixing them with spinach, and adding a sprinkle of smoked salt and toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.  Last night I decided to add a little smoked chicken I found at the co-op - locally smoked, free roam chicken?  Yes please.  


Smoky Dandelion Greens with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Yield: 2-3 servings | Active time: 5 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes

This recipe is so simple, but so satisfying, and takes only minutes to prepare.  I like the added crunch of toasted pine nuts, but feel free to omit and serve without, or substitute another nut or seed of your choice.  Walnuts or sunflower seeds would also be delicious!  Smoked salt really finishes this dish off, if you have it, but regular salt will also do the trick. If desired, add a sprinkling of finely diced smoked chicken, ham, or turkey, or if soy-tolerant, smoked tofu or tempeh for extra protein and flavor.  So good, so easy! 

1 bunch dandelion greens

2-3 cups packed spinach

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 cup broth or water

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

2-3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

optional: 2-4 oz smoked chicken, turkey, ham, or smoked tofu or tempeh (if soy-tolerant)

smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt)

freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat.  Add thinly sliced garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until softened and golden, but not brown.  Watch heat closely, don't let the garlic burn!  Then add dandelion greens and spinach, pour in liquid, and cover tightly.  Let cook 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat, until greens are tender.  Remove cover and cook additional 1-2 minutes, until most of the moisture cooks off.  Remove from heat.

While greens are cooking, heat a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-low heat, then add pine nuts and toast until golden brown and fragrant.  Remove from heat and set aside.  If using, finely dice the chicken or other smoked meat/tofu/tempeh. 

Transfer greens to a serving dish and sprinkle with pine nuts and chicken, smoked sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper.

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Reader Comments (3)

I've been longing for the dandelion greens at the farmer's market lately because they look so, well, green. The green is just the color of spring, health, vitality and all things refreshing after winter. However, I haven't bought any yet because I hardly know what to do with a whole bunch (until now!). Usually I throw a few leaves in my salads, or a handful in a smoothie, but then I am left with a half a bunch of dandelion greens that end up wilting and looking not so green and vibrant in my fridge. I just discovered smoked salmon tonight and I think it would be quite delicious with this. Mmm. I'll definitely add this to our menu for next week. I have to wait for the market on Saturday to pick some up. Thanks for the great ideas!

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer L.

Boy they sure do look tasty , I am told by my nephrologist ( kidney Doctor ) to stay away from greens , beets , lemons , chocolate , peanuts and vitamin C , he says all are too high in oxilates . I am prone to Kidney stones , had them several times already . So I can not enjoy many of the delicious looking dishes that are green, many problems with thyroid so no spiralina , I can not have the iodine that is in the seaweed/kombu ?:( Leaves me with such a poor quality diet . But I really enjoyed reading the recipe and how you prepared them.

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Jennifer - I hope you like the recipe! Hooray for dandelion greens! You can also use them in soup, or anywhere else you'd use kale, collards, etc. Enjoy!

Kathy - do you have hypothyroid issues or hyperthyroid issues, or neither? I know that iodine is good for hypothyroid. I'd be curious to know more about how the iodine affects your thyroid.Oxalates do pose a problem for many people, i've often wondered if I'd feel better going low-oxalate, but I just don't want to go there!!! I love all those high-oxalate foods A LOT. Keep on healing, and some day, hopefully they will be able to return to your life! Best-

March 25, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo