Finished dish of dandelion greens cooked with olive oil, garlic and lemon

If you’ve ever been to Rome, you know that you really can’t move an inch without running into “Cicoria”.

That bitter, leafy green is all over the place. It’s on just about every restaurant menu. Especially restaurants where the locals eat.

When I was a kid I’d stay far away from dandelion greens. I remember my grandparents making salads out of them or sauteing them in garlic and olive oil. I thought it was so weird.

Now that I’m getting older I love them! And with this easy recipe I think you will too.

Finished dish of dandelion greens cooked with olive oil, garlic and lemon
Dandelion greens with olive oil, garlic and lemon

Romans love their Cicoria, and to be honest, I don’t blame them.

I think I fell in love with it when we were in Rome making pizza with the famous pizza man, Gabriele Bonci. We made a white pizza, or “pizza bianca” as it’s called in Rome, topped with a chickpea puree, olive oil and sauteed cicoria.

It was so simple, but so good. At that moment I was hooked on the cicoria.

Here in America we have dandelion greens which are about as close as you can get to Roman cicoria. If you’re looking for the perfect vegetable side dish or something different to add to your frittata or pizza, this is the recipe for you.

a wooden plate with the ingredients for dandelion greens and a knife
Ingredients for dandelion greens

The ingredients are simple

The Greens. First you’re going to need a bunch of fresh dandelion greens. Not every supermarket will have them. I’ve always had good luck finding them at Whole Foods.

Olive Oil. You’re also going to need olive oil. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one, but a good quality olive oil from Italy or Greece is perfect for this dish.

Garlic. Get a head of garlic. Make sure you use fresh garlic and not the minced garlic that comes in a jar. There’s nothing better than the smell of garlic sauteing in olive oil. Am I right?

Red Pepper Flakes. You’ll also want some crushed red pepper flakes. I like using dried Calabrian chili peppers. But if you can’t find them it’s not the end of the world.

chili peppers

Let’s start cooking!

First we’re going to get the greens ready by blanching them in some salty water.  Don’t be afraid to use the salt!  If the water doesn’t taste like the ocean it isn’t salty enough.

a pot of boiling water near a bowl full of salt

Now let’s flavor that olive oil with the garlic and chili flakes.  This is an important step.

a pot with oil, garlic and chili peppers

Toss in your dandelion greens and you’re done.  How easy is that?!

Dandelion Greens: FAQs

Can I Make the dandelion greens ahead of time?

Yes, you can make these as far as a couple days in advance. They actually taste better the next day in my opinion.

If I don’t have olive oil can I use a different cooking oil?

You can use vegetable oil or canola oil to saute, but I think olive oil will give you the best results.

If I can’t find dandelion greens, can I use another vegetable in this recipe?

Yes. This recipe also works great with Swiss Chard and broccoli rabe.

What to serve with dandelion greens?

Main Course: I think sauteed dandelion greens are a great side dish with something fatty like porchetta, sausages or a nice marbled steak. On the other hand, it’s nice to have a garlicky green with any meal.

Pasta: These sauteed dandelion greens are a great side dish for Pasta all’Amatriciana. It balances out the rich tomato and guanciale sauce well.

Wine: bitter greens go great with a glass of Chardonnay.

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Finished dish of dandelion greens cooked with olive oil, garlic and lemon

Sauteed Dandelion Greens

  • Author: Chuck Sillari
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2
  • Diet: Vegan


Our American version of a Roman veggie side dish made with dandelion greens, garlic, oil and chili peppers.


  • 1 bunch of dandelion greens

  • 2 tablespoons of good olive oil

  • 3-4 thinly sliced garlic cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Calabrian chili flakes

  • Salt

  • Black Pepper

  • 1/2 of a lemon


1. Cut about ½ inch off of dandelion green stems

2. Wash dandelion greens in cold water and drain. Sometimes they have some sand on them when they get home from the supermarket, so make sure you clean them good.

3. Place dandelion greens in a pot of well salted water for about 10 minutes. This will take out some of the bitterness and soften the greens.

4. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.

5. When olive oil starts to shimmer, add sliced garlic, Calabrian chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the garlic to toast and become fragrant and let the chili flavor the oil.

6. Add dandelion greens and toss in olive oil.

7. Cover and allow to cook for about ten minutes.

8. When the stems of the dandelion greens are tender to the bite, transfer to a plate and give them a squeeze of lemon. Let them come to room temperature (that’s when they taste the best).

9. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 15


  • Calories: 152
  • Sodium: 102mg
  • Fat: 14.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1
  • Carbohydrates: 7.4g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  • Protein: 1.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg


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