Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dandelion Mocha

I love dandelions. 


Yes, I sometimes pull them up in my yard but its only because I want to eat them. I like saving some for the bees but I'd pull them up for this warm dandelion salad with fried shallots or for garden greens pakoras. I know not everyone appreciates this abundant green found everywhere, after my mother refused to eat them. But she has started eating kale from my garden. Small steps.

When a friend gave us Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, it started a whole new obsession with how to use the dandelion in different ways. 

I knew dandelion was beneficial to health, it being green and all, but I didn't realize all the benefits of the roots. The root is considered a liver tonic or "blood purifier". The bitter compounds help with digestion.

Ms. Gladstar's recipe for Dandelion Mocha had me making sure I was pulling the whole plant up, with all the root bits!,  for making this delicious warming drink after making a salad with the greens.

Spring time is a great time to harvest fresh, tender dandelion greens to use in the kitchen. And yes, the roots can be used, but it is a process. A process only undertaken by the most dedicated of dandelion-lovers. 

From the dozens of plants I pulled, soaked, chopped, roasted, ground, I had about 2 tablespoons of root powder. Hmm. I love the fact that my dandelions were organic and local but this was far too much work for so little reward.

Then I found this tea. Organic Roasted Dandelion Root! 

Not only is it organic, but it comes with little words of affirmation for your day. Yep, so worth the purchase. 
You can definitely drink this just as a tea to reap the benefits of dandelion root. But it is so much more delicious in a "mocha" form. This can be a substitute for coffee but really, it is a delicious drink in its own right.

My children love it- it is slightly chocolatey and it is also has the shock value of being made of a weed! 

I highly recommend Rosemary's book if you are interested in dabbling in growing, harvesting or just learning more and using medicinal herbs.

Dandelion Mocha
Serves 2
Inspired by Rosemary Gladstar's recipe in her book. She suggests this as an alternative to coffee or doing half coffee and half mocha to adjust to caffeine-free.

2 dandelion root tea bags
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup milk (dairy or almond milk)
1 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice (I sometimes use some stevia)
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Pour boiling water over the dandelion tea bags in a small tea pot. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
2. While tea is steeping, warm milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, add cocoa, sweetener, cinnamon and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and hot.
3. Pour tea into saucepan and whisk. Taste and adjust for desired sweetness. Serve immediately.