With the goodness of fresh Dandelion greens, Red and Yellow Swiss Chard, Lettuce, juicy ripe Mangoes, some frozen and some fresh berries, the Couscous plays the perfect foil to this summery deliciousness. The Dandelion Greens Salad is complemented in taste by the honey lemon dressing or strawberry poppyseed dressing, links to both of which are given at the end of the post.
The Dandelion Greens and the Swiss Chard, Lettuce and Tomatoes were from the zero pesticide fresh produce supplied by First Agro Farms through their marketing arm Sakura Fresh. Link to their site is given at the end of the post.
The dressing for this salad should be sweet based, with fruit or honey or syrup, to offset the bitterness of the dandelion greens. The leaves may also be blanched for a few minutes in boiling water, to reduce the bitterness.
Health and Nutrition:
Dandelions grow in the wild and in backyards of homes, in many countries. In fact, at one point of time, huge quantities of pesticides were used in America, to eradicate the ‘weeds’ from lawns and gardens. However it is not a common plant in India. I source my greens from First Agro Farms, as they are zero pesticide and safe to consume.
All parts of the dandelion are known to be edible and to be used for medicinal purposes or in food. The leaves are said to have diuretic properties and to be good for the liver. The roots contain inulin and levuklin said to help regulate blood sugar, as well having taraxacin, a bitter compound thought to aid in digestion. The flowers are best known for their use in dandelion wine, but they also can be added to a salad, made into jellies or dipped in batter to make dandelion fritters. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed or braised. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking. The roots of the plant are of scientific interest in treatment of cancer.
Blueberries and Blackberries:
Blueberries are one of the most nutrient rich foods in the world and contain large levels and a broad range of antioxidants. The blueberry has fibre content, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients, and this, combined with its lack of cholesterol makes it a healthy fruit, which is said to help reduce cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease, as well as having anti-ageing effect along with boosting the brain. Scientific research suggests that the gallic acid in the fruit gives cancer fighting properties.
Blackberries too are nutrient dense, with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and dietary fibres that are essential for good health. They are low in calories but rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. They contain significant amounts of phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannin, gallic acid and salicylic acid. Scientific studies suggest that these antioxidant compounds may have potential health benefits against cancer, ageing, inflammation, and neurological diseases.