Creamy Dandelion Salad
from Ayurveda Today, Volume 20, Number 4, Spring 2008

Dandelion greens are among the first leafy greens to arrive at spring markets. Thanks to their bitter nature, they are a quintessential spring vegetable to assist the liver in its cleansing from the rich, oily and heavy foods of winter.

As enticing as the cleansing action may sound, for some dandelion greens are difficult to enjoy on their own. Eaten with this sweet, light and creamy sauce, they are like a dessert.

Additional spring (and summer) benefits of this salad are daikon radish, which aids the liver in assimilating fat, and carrots, which help to cleanse and nourish the liver. Bitter greens reduce pitta even in the heat of summer.

 

Ingredients for the salad

1 bunch dandelion greens
2 small carrots
2-inch piece daikon radish
1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight and peeled
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup fresh coconut milk*
1/2 tsp. lightly dry toasted and ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. lightly dry toasted and ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. mineral salt
   
  Optional Garnish
1/4 cup unsweetened, desiccated coconut, lightly toasted

Vata :: Pacifies/reduces the dosha
Pitta :: Pacifies/reduces the dosha
Kapha :: Balancing with added black pepper

 

Preparation of the salad

Remove the spines from the dandelion greens. Finely chop the green leaves and place them in a bowl. Using your fingers, work the mineral salt into the chopped greens. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the fibrous nature of the dandelion greens to soften.

While the dandelion greens are resting, finely grate the carrots and daikon radish in a separate bowl.

In a blender, make a cream by blending the almonds, lime juice, coconut milk and spices.

To the chopped dandelion greens, add the grated daikon radish and carrots along with the coconut-almond cream. Mix together gently. Garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.

Vata and pitta pacifying. To harmonize for kapha, add freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4 as a side salad.

Note: For those who don’t have time to crack open a coconut, here’s a quick way to prepare fresh coconut milk: soak 2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut in 2 cups boiling water for 10 minutes. Blend the coconut and its soaking water in a blender or food processor for a minute. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined colander. Gather the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the squeezed coconut meat. The coconut milk not used in the above recipe can be refrigerated for a day or two and is delicious for use in sauces, smoothies, soups, grains or over fresh fruit.

Although Ayurveda discourages processed food, in a pinch should you need to use coconut milk from a can, dilute the coconut milk with water (1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup coconut milk).


Michele Schulz’s love for Ayurveda began over 10 years ago and encompasses yoga, nutrition, and cooking. After a recent six-month stay in Nepal where she taught Ayurvedic cooking, she is currently delighting in preparing Ayurvedic meals for a dharma center in the French countryside. Michele gives courses and consultations internationally and can be contacted at micheleschulz@gmail.com.
Greens image © Suzannah Skelton, suzifoo@istockphoto.com
 
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