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Lately I’ve been trying to increase the variety of vegetables I eat on a regular basis, especially those that are wild plants and not cultivated. Dandelion greens fit this bill perfectly, and although I was initially put off by their bitterness, I’ve grown to enjoy using them in my cooking week to week. Making them into a pesto is a great way to concentrate the flavor and save to be added to dishes here and there–try adding to stir-frys, soups, or with plantain crackers.
Here I use the dandelion pesto to add some color and kick to a simple winter squash soup. If you happen to be allergic or sensitive to coconut, you can easily substitute broth for the coconut milk in this recipe, and it would be lovely made with any kind of winter squash.
As always, blended soups freeze wonderfully, and both of these items would be great candidates for a batch-cooking and freezing routine.
- Wash the dandelion greens in a colander, removing any leaves or stems that are expired or wilted.
- Place in a food processor with the olive oil, garlic, sea salt and lemon. Process until desired consistency is reached, adding additional olive oil if the mixture is too thick.
- Use stirred into soups, eaten on plantain crackers, or mixed with stir-fried vegetables.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the acorn squash face up on a baking sheet and cook for 40 minutes, or until a fork can pierce through the flesh easily. Let cool for 20 minutes, and then peel the skin off with your hands. Roughly chop and set aside to add to the soup later.
- Heat the solid cooking fat in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot. When the fat has melted and the pan is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and sea salt and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until fragrant.
- Add the bone broth and squash to the pot and bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the squash starts to break up.
- Turn off the heat and carefully blend the soup in batches, returning to the pot when finished. Stir in the coconut milk.
- Serve garnished with a tablespoon or two of dandelion pesto.