The ubiquitous dandelion is entirely edible. When picked small, and unopened, the flower buds have a surprising sweetness, reminiscent of honey. Young greens are also tasty either raw or steamed, and dandelion petals are great for a colourful garnish. While dandelions are rather easy to come by, make sure to harvest them only from organic gardens.
2 cups (500 mL) unsweetened almond milk
2 cups (500 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) uncooked polenta or medium ground cornmeal
2 cups (500 mL) dandelion leaves, chopped, divided
1/4 cup (60 mL) nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder, divided
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, divided
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 – 150 g packages soft silken tofu
2 tsp (10 mL) onion powder
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) white wine vinegar
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh dill
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh chives
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat breadcrumbs or rice breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp (30 mL) dandelion petals
In medium saucepan, bring almond milk and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, until thickened and creamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) dandelion leaves, nutritional yeast, flaxseed, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 3 minutes before pouring out onto parchment-lined baking tray and spread out until it measures 8 x 10 in (20 x 25 cm) and 1/2 in (1.25 cm) thick. Let cool for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
While oven preheats, in blender, combine and blend remaining 1 cup (250 mL) dandelion leaves, tofu, onion powder, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder until smooth. Stir in dill and chives before transferring to airtight container, then refrigerate dip until ready to use.
Slice polenta in half to make 2 long rectangles. Slice each rectangle crosswise into 16 equal pieces. On plate, place bread or rice crumbs and dredge polenta sticks until well coated. Return coated polenta to parchment-lined baking tray. Bake, turning halfway through cooking time, until polenta fries are crispy, about 30 to 40 minutes total.
Transfer to serving platter while warm and garnish with dandelion petals. Serve with Dandelion Dip alongside.
Extra Dandelion Dip is great as a sandwich spread or used as a salad dressing.