One of the things I love about Spring is that many of our familiar religious holidays incorporate foods that encourage a physical transformation of the body in addition to the spiritual one. Many people eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Cabbage, a member of the vegetable family known as “Cruciferae” (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy), is a powerful detoxifier of the liver. This recipe combines Savoy cabbage, which is softer than traditional green cabbage with dandelion greens, another champion detox vegetable. Bitter greens like dandelion stimulate bile flow within the liver. One of the functions of bile is to remove toxins through the bowel, as well as removing unfriendly microorganisms. The other job of bile is to break down fats during digestion. The dandelion greens are a little less bitter with some help from the cooking method and both greens get sweetness from red bell pepper and golden raisins. It’s a delicious veggie side dish to balance well cooked meats if they are part of any of your Spring holiday celebrations. When the weather turns warmer we naturally crave lightly cooked or raw greens.
2 – 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into very thin strips
1 head Savoy cabbage, (about 1.3 lbs.), cored and very thinly sliced
1 bunch dandelion greens, stems removed and washed. Leave water clinging to leaves.
1/3 cup golden raisins
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional but delicious)
1. To remove some of the bitter taste of the dandelion greens, put the still damp leaves in large skillet or wok, sprinkle liberally with sea salt and dry toast for about 3 minutes until just wilted. Remove the greens to a cutting board and loosely chop.
2. Add olive oil to the skillet and add the garlic for about 30 seconds – just until you get the aroma of garlic. Add the red pepper strips and sauté for a minute, stirring.
3. Add as much of the savoy cabbage as will fit and stir until cabbage starts wilting so you can add it all. Sauté the cabbage and pepper strips for 3 to 4 more minutes until cabbage is crisp tender. Add in chopped dandelion and stir to mix. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds to garnish or pass the toasted sesame seed on the side.