Recipe by Mae Tipple
Spring is here in the Pacific Northwest! The sun is out (sometimes) and temperatures are in the 50’s.
As someone who enjoys cooking from scratch, one my favorite ways to challenge myself is by avoiding a trip to the grocery store at all costs, and simply working with what I already have in the kitchen. This time of year, I can even step outside of the kitchen, and use what’s in my backyard (without even having a garden!) Dandelions grow in almost all parts of the country, and excessively at that. You know you’ve seen this plant…
Did you know that you can eat the whole plant? The greens, the yellow flower, and the roots all make delicious and highly nutritious additions to a meal. Someone once told me that you can identify the greens because they have “teeth”, like a lion. Harvesting them is as simple as picking a handful from your yard, and rinsing them off.
This Indian spiced soup is bright in both color and flavor. Dandelion greens are soft and bitter tasting when eaten raw. If you do not have dandelion greens, try mustard greens, turnip greens, or arugula. For a more mellow flavor, use spinach, chard, or beet greens. You could also use herbal greens like cilantro or parsley for a different flavor.
Yellow Split Pea Dal with Dandelion Greens
A bright Indian-spiced soup that uses greens growing in your backyard.
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups uncooked yellow split peas
- 2 TBS olive oil, divided
- 1 TBS fennel seed
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 TBS maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 TBS cumin seeds
- 1 heaping tsp freshly grated ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
- 3 celery stalks, greens included if present, chopped
- 1 big handful of dandelion greens, cut into about 1 inch pieces
- 1 bunch chives, chopped
- Juice of one lemon (about 2 TBS)
- Place the split peas, water, 1 TBS olive oil, fennel seeds, salt, celery seed, maple syrup, turmeric, and garam masala in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, turn the heat to medium-high and boil until the peas are soft and the liquid is thick. Stir frequently to prevent burning. After the liquid has thickened, turn the heat to low to keep warm.
- While the split peas are cooking, par boil the dandelion greens in boiling water for 2 minutes. This helps reduce the bitterness. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium skillet (or 2 liter saucepan) at medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring to prevent burning . Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and stir to coat. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. You may need to lower the heat slightly or add more oil/liquid if you think the pan is too dry. In the last minute of cooking, add the boiled greens and chives, stirring for one minute.
- Add the celery mixture and lemon juice to the soup. Stir to combine and serve.