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.
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.
A tribute to the bounty and beauty of nature, this chocolate bark is studded with nuts, seeds, and berries and flavoured with the warming spices of ginger and cinnamon. Adding sweet paprika and chili also gives an interesting kick to a winter favourite. Cut back on the red pepper flakes if you prefer a less spicy version. Chocolate contains tryptophan—an essential amino acid—that helps our brain produce serotonin. Eating chocolate is a delicious way to get a mood boost, which can help lift our spirits when sunlight levels are low. Food of the Gods In the taxonomy of plants, the cacao plant, from which chocolate is derived, is called Theobroma cacao. Theobroma comes from Greek for “food of the gods.” Cacao comes from the Mayan word for the plant.
Up your omega-3 intake with these easy-to-make salmon parchment pockets. The sockeye fillets are first rubbed with a marinade of juniper berries, citrus zest, and garlic before being enclosed in parchment. Juniper has a strong and piney flavour and lends a unique tang to this dish. It also contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to capture the juices that arise during steaming. No mortar and pestle? Crush juniper berries by laying them between two sheets of parchment and bashing them gently with a rolling pin.
Escarole is a bitter green that stands up to heat and is suitable for grilling, braising, or using in soups. In this salad, it’s broiled with radishes before being dressed in a sweet, garlicky dressing that cuts the bitterness. Escarole is high in folate (vitamin B9), important in red blood cell formation, and vitamin A, important in immune function and eye health. Like kale and other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also very high in vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting. Bitter green substitutes If you can’t find escarole, use frisée (also called curly endive), mustard greens, or radicchio. Romaine also stands up to heat well and makes a good substitute, but it lacks the characteristic bitterness of the others.
In Japan, it’s a custom to eat kabocha squash on the day of the winter solstice as a symbol of good health. In fact, kabocha squash contains cancer-fighting antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein. It’s also full of fibre and vitamins A and C. We’ve made a roasted version dressed in a sweet and tangy marinade that’s sprinkled with sesame seeds before roasting in the oven. The remaining marinade, full of ginger, tamari, and red pepper flakes, is used as a dressing to further flavour the squash. Know your squash You’ll recognize kabocha squash by its dark green rind and round shape. Its yellowish-orange flesh is sweeter than other types and has been likened to a cross between sweet potato and pumpkin. The rind is quite hard but is edible when cooked. Wash squash well and take care while cutting. You can microwave the whole squash for 4 to 5 minutes prior to cutting to help soften the rind and make things a bit easier.