Maybe because the weather has been so mild, or maybe because my body is craving greens, I seem to be back to my green smoothie routine. I temporarily left them behind for much of the last two to three months in favor of warm grains in the morning.

The food co-op had beautiful bright green dandelion greens Sunday so I couldn’t resist picking up a bunch from Lady Moon Farms. I’ve learned that dandelions (tampopo, in Japanese—yes, like the movie) are ranked in the top 5 green vegetables for nutritional value. They are incredibly rich in beta-carotene (Vitamin A), as well as Vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in micronutrients like copper, cobalt, zinc, and Vitamin D. The vitamins and minerals found in dandelions can reduce inflammation of the liver, stabilize blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of strokes.

Ok, enough of the science stuff. Dandelion greens taste good. They’re slightly bitter—but not as bitter as, say, arugula, and can be eaten raw in salads or sauteed the way you would other greens. I like their addition to green smoothies as much as, if not more, than spinach or chard, in part because they blend very finely. Drink a tall glass of this in the morning to put a little bounce in your step. Works better than coffee in my opinion. (Seriously, green smoothies have helped wean me off of caffeine.)

Go Green Morning Smoothie

2 c dandelion greens
1/2 grapefruit
1 banana
1 ripe pear
10 oz water

Add everything to a blender and puree until smooth, approximately 1 minute. You could also add a little bit of fresh ginger to spice up the smoothie. Makes about 20 oz of smoothie.

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