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Dandelion and White Bean Salad with Mint and Olives

Dandelion, mint, lemon zest and olives all have an aspect of bitterness, which is probably why they work so well together. Mild, creamy white beans soften the robust flavors in this perfect-for-late-fall salad.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 1/4 cups dried white beans (1/2 pound), such as cannellini, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound dandelion, stems discarded
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 8 pitted green olives, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the beans and bay leaf in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until the beans are tender, 50 minutes; add water to maintain the water level. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of salt. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain the beans, discard the bay leaf and let cool.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the dandelion until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and let cool, then lightly squeeze out excess water. Coarsely chop the dandelion.
  3. In a bowl, combine the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and mint. In a large bowl, combine the beans and dandelion. Add the onion, olives and dressing; toss well. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve lightly chilled.

Suggested Pairing

The intense flavors of bitter greens make most wines seem astringent. But a zesty white with bright acidity like a Grüner Veltliner can actually makes the greens taste lively—almost like a squeeze of lemon.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published November 2012

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