Dandelion Fried Rice

Dandelion Fried Rice

Sharing the kitchen with Kelley

I was talking to our talented dramaturg, Kelley Rourke, about how she sources nutritious, delicious dishes from her garden, just outside Cherry Valley. So I’ve decided to turn this week’s recipe over to her. I will say, her culinary prose way out-smarts mine, so you are in for a treat.

Kelley writes: I have great affection for the humble dandelion. She goes where the wind takes her (often with the assistance of a wish-making child), and she puts down deep roots (as any gardener knows). This pair of traits makes her remarkably persistent. The dandelion is also the first edible thing to appear in my garden, and right now, just before the cheery yellow flowers appear, her leaves are at their tenderest and sweetest. One of my go-to spring dinners — even before this time of avoiding grocery stores — has always been a simple preparation of dandelion greens, a starch, and a few other pantry items. There’s a good chance you already have all the ingredients for some version of this recipe in your house (or in your yard).

Dandelion fried rice (or whatever)

  • For one hefty vegetarian dinner or 2-3 side portions, you will need:
  • Cooking oil (olive, peanut, canola or ghee)
  • Aromatics: a large chopped clove of garlic OR 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger OR a small sliced onion, or a combination. 
  • ½ – 1 cup of leftover cooked rice OR any leftover cooked pasta or grain (barley, quinoa), or soaked rice noodles
  • A heaping handful of nuts, chopped (peanuts, cashews or almonds work well)
  • 2-4 cups cleaned, chopped dandelion greens OR substitute kale, thinly sliced cabbage, arugula, even spinach
  • For seasoning: something salty/umami-y (soy sauce, tamari, miso thinned with water) and something acidic (lemon or lime juice, rice wine vinegar)

Over medium-high heat, warm a few glugs of oil in a large skillet, one that will allow you to spread out the ingredients. (If you want to double the recipe, you may need to do it in two batches.) Add your aromatics and stir for a minute or so. (Onion and ginger can take a bit more heat than garlic.) Add the rice and nuts, stir once to coat, then allow to sizzle in place for a bit. Once rice is heated through and has a few crunchy bits, stir, scraping the bottom, as you add the greens. Continue stirring to wilt and evaporate any water clinging to leaves. Season to taste with something salty and something acidic. That’s it. Optional toppings include chopped fresh herbs (chives, cilantro, Thai basil), an egg, sriracha, citrus zest (or a wedge for squeezing), sesame seeds, a few drops of sesame oil, sliced radish.

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