My idea of fast food: real food, made easily.

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.

Chinese medicine says: Protein for strength, Grains for energy, Green Vegetables to keep it all clean.

Luckily, walking around the extensive uncut fields surrounding the retreat, in addition to wild raspberries, I found growing everywhere, beautiful large dark green dandelions. You know, the kind people spray with toxic pesticides so their lawns will have the undemocratic ideal: all the blades standing up straight in uniform perfection. Here in San Diego they give their lawns what I call the Marine buzz cut; everytime the grass starts to look nicely, the gardener comes and cuts it as absolutely short as possible.

And 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 you even see them for sale at the “regular” supermarket. I prefer them organic.

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.


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 balsemic vinegar and olive oil.



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


Sautee  onion in oil. When soft or brown add 1 tsp cumin or coriander powder or both and salt and black pepper to taste, stir a minute, add 1 head of washed chopped dandelion greens, and 2 tsps balsemic or apple cider vinegar, 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 good bread, 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.



Dandelion, being bitter, is excellent for both Pitta and Kapha. 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 Vatta, but given how much sweet food Americans eat, some dandelion will be fine for Vatta. Also, by sauteeing onions you are adding the sweet taste, and with vinegar or pomegranate, sour and astringent as well, so you now have all three tastes that pacify Vatta–sweet, salt, sour, and the ones that pacify Kapha, bitter, pungent and astringent, and Pitta, sweet, bitter and astringent.

Now, for an excess Pitta, you may omit the black pepper.

For an excess Kapha, use less onion and vinegar and add more hot spice, even red chili, unless its a Pitta with Kapha excess.

As this dish is warming, moist, and unctuous, there is mollification of the bitter taste  making this dish quite tolerated by a balanced  Vatta 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



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