Ayurvedic Dandelion Greens for Spring are a great cleansing vegetable, excellent year round, but especially good in Spring. They are a wonderful Sattvic food that helps to cleanse the body of the ama dosha that accumulates naturally over the winter months.
Green Vegetables Vs. Grilled Cheese Vegeterians
Too many of my vegetarian and vegan friends are what I call “grilled cheese vegetarians.” Though they avoid meat, they also seem to avoid green vegetables and eat lots of bread and soy cheese or vegan sausages.
I was on a meditation retreat a few years ago in Quebec, and it was surprising: lots of beans and grains and dairy, too, even ice cream, but zero green vegetables.
Dandelion Greens in Chinese Medicine Diet Therapy
Protein for strength, Grains for energy, Green Vegetables to Stay Clean.
Chinese Medicine is very big on Diet for the prevention and treatment of disease. In the course of teaching Eastern Nutrition at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, I rummaged through about 10 large English translations of Chinese medical texts specifically for nursing diseases with special foods and dishes.
In studying Chinese herbs we also learned about how to combine foods with herbs to increase the effect of the herbs.
At the same time we learned about the properties of every kind of food–light, heavy, dry, moistening, etc.
Perfect for Spring
Ayurvedic Dandelion greens are perfect for spring because of their naturally cleansing quality, both because of their easy to digest fiber, but because the bitter taste of dandelion greens, like many bitter medicines, clears dampness and pathological heat from the body.
Luckily, walking around the uncut fields surrounding my meditation retreat in Quebec if found growing everywhere, in addition to wild raspberries, beautiful large dark green dandelions.
Where to Buy Dandelion Greens
Back home in San Diego I discovered that dandelion greens are easy to grow, as are chicory, their Italian cousin. And chicory grows tall with beautiful blue flowers. If you can’t grow ’em, buy ’em. Here in San Diego dandelion greens are easily available at any of the health foody supermarkets, like Whole Foods.
Dandelions are so delicious and so good for you. They have a nice bitter taste, that can accent a salad or be balanced by sauteeing with onions and spices.
Ways to Prepare Dandelion greens.
In Summer hot weather, tear some dandelion greens into small pieces and add to your regular salad mix. Goes great with any dressing, and well balanced by the sweetness of tomato and the tang of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Ayurvedic Dandelion Greens with Onion, Cumin, and Coriander
Any time of year:
1 onion, sweet or white
1 tablespoon oil: sesame, olive, or coconut all work well
1 head chopped dandelion or chicory greens
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp vinegar
Directions for Ayurvedic Dandelion Greens
–Sautee onion in oil on medium heat.
–When soft or brown, lower heat to low medium, add 1 tsp cumin or coriander powder, salt and black pepper to taste, and stir a couple of minutes until you smell the spices coming out of the pan. Do not burn.
–Add 1 head of washed chopped dandelion greens, and 2 tsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar, or pomegranate molasses, stir well, cover, reduce flame, cook for a few minutes.
–Check quickly as they are very fast cooking.
–Cook till shriveled but still bright dark green.
Serve with pasta, rice and cooked tofu, or as a side dish with a meat dish.
–Instead of onions, try garlic. Or both.
–Instead of vinegar, try a tablespoon or less of Cortas brand Pomegranate Molasses.
–Sautee a little ground buffalo or lamb with the onions.
–Sautee a little tofu with the onions or separately brown tofu in the oven and add at end.
Ayurvedic Dandelion Greens and the Doshas
In Ayurveda, Dandelion greens, being bitter, is excellent for both Pitta and Kapha dosha. It is also excellent in early Spring, when the ice of winter Kapha melts leading to flooding, and in late Spring early Summer, when hot Pitta starts to rise.
Excess amounts of bitter can damage Vata, so dont go juicing a pound of dandelion with frozen pineapple and collagen protein. That’s not food, in the normal sense of what humans have ever in 4 million years eaten.
Dandelion Greens, The Six Tastes and The Doshas
Also, by sauteeing onions with your dandelion greens you are adding the sweet taste, and with vinegar or Cortas brand pomegranate molasses, sour and astringent as well, so you now have all six tastes–which makes this dish nearly Tridoshic
- the three that pacify Vata–sweet, salt, sour,
- the three that pacify Kapha, bitter, pungent and astringent,
- and the three that pacify Pitta, sweet, bitter and astringent.
Adjusting for your Individual Dosha in Elevation
(See, What is My Dosha to find out yours.)
- Now, for an elevated Pitta, you may omit the black pepper.
- For an elevated Kapha, use less onion and vinegar and add more hot spice, even red chili, unless its a Pitta with Kapha dual elevation.
- As this dish is warming, moist, and unctuous, there is mollification of the bitter taste making this dish quite tolerated by a balanced Vata in reasonable amounts.
copyright eyton j. shalom, l.a.c, july 2012 san diego ca all rights reserved use with permission.
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego