A Recipe for Dandelion Hearts

By Hippo (a hippopotamus) and Al (a bird)

When we noticed dandelions popping up, we looked for a recipe and found Forager Chef Alan Bergo’s Apulian inspired dandelion crowns with garlic, chili, anchovy, chickpea and water oak acorn oil. “Let’s give it a go,” said Al, so we did. You can find it here. Alan also has a new book called The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora: Recipes and Techniques for Edible Plants from Garden, Field, and Forest, available from Chelsea Green. “We should get that.” said Al. I agreed.

“Dandelion crowns are good!” exclaimed Al, as he taste-tested our cooking experiment. When we got the whole recipe plated up, it was almost too beautiful to eat, but we did eat every one of those bitter-sweet morsels. Many had buds that were just starting to open.

Every spring, I feast upon these succulent hearts and “jewels.” It’s a treat that money can’t buy. . . Once you try dandelion hearts and buds, odds are you’ll have acquired a new springtime ritual.


Personally I enjoy them right out of the ground, but we know that humans are finicky about dirt and grit and even insects – something I can’t understand. But we are trying to appeal to the taste of humans and so we washed and re-washed, blanched, seasoned, and cooked. I can’t complain.

Al and I got the dandelions – a nutritious food – right from our own yard. I know some humans think it’s embarrassing – downright shameful to have dandelions growing amidst the grass. If that’s you, maybe you can start eating them like us. It’s one alternative to lawn pesticides.

If you’ve read our other articles, you know that Al is quite chemically sensitive. This time of year, those little signs warning of lawn chemical applications are posted on lawns all over the neighborhood. Even if you don’t walk on the lawn, it’s in the air. I can smell it and it’s hard for Al to take a fly without getting ill.

“It’s not just me,” said Al. Study after study link the use of pesticides and herbicides to human cancers, nervous-system disorders and other illness, especially for small humans. And what about dogs and bees and butterflies?”

We urge you to read the following link with further information: https://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/lawn/factsheets/LAWNFACTS&FIGURES_8_05.pdf

When Al and I can’t understand something – and we sure can not understand why humans use products that could hurt their children – we start to suspect that giants are at work. And sure enough, they are. The giant known as Bayer (which gobbled up the former giant known as Monsanto), Dow, ChemChina (which apparently ate Syngenta), and others are growing ever larger. They are fed by heavy advertising and promotional campaigns by lawn care companies like Trugreen (which changed its name from the far more accurate ChemLawn), Scotts Lawn Care, and Lawn Doctor. They have tried to teach humans that the only beautiful lawns are those with a monocrop of Kentucky Bluegrass and that each and every dandelion or violet is a blemish. We don’t believe it. This use of pesticides is not a kind practice.

“This was meant to be a recipe, not a diatribe, but I got carried away, Al,” I said.

“It needed to be said,” added Al.

Anyway, we hope you will try the recipe. Here’s the link again: https://foragerchef.com/dandelion-hearts-crowns/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dandelion-hearts-crowns.

Learn more about Hippo and Al in our story “The True Adventures of Hippo and Al.