Lamb's Quarters is our star and offers one way to feed our 'Wild'...
'Wild-ing' your favorite recipes is so easy. You simply look over the elements that are cultivated and consider what the wild is offering us and then substitute. Then I consider making adjustments for personal flavor choices, such as I love the tangy flavor of goat cheese so I work that in. You may love the flavor onion or green scallions, so Ramp leaves (please leave the bulbs as they are becoming endangered due to wild food harvesting without concern for the plants survival), or onion grass leaves and bulbs will increase the onion flavor and nutrition from some of our wild, original foods.
Lamb’s Quarters is a delicate, leafy green and may be used as a substitute for baby spinach in any recipe you have. I eat this in fresh and cooked preparations. Used widely in Latin cuisine it is often paired with fresh cheeses, chile sauces, fresh citrus and berries, nuts, strong cheeses, spring vegetables such as peas and asparagus, eggs and potatoes, or tossed with hot pasta or grains until barely wilted. For me, Lamb's quarters has a more mild, creamy, and less metallic flavor than mature spinach and is complimented by vinaigrette, fresh herbs, garlic, toasted bread and beans. It goes into my wild weed pesto and most soups while in season. I love it in scrambled eggs with chives or spring onions just cooked a moment before adding the eggs and a favorite cheese. This is one of those versatile ones that enhances any dish so it's easy to add handfuls to just about anything in my kitchen.
Lamb’s quarters ~ Chenopodium album
Producing scalloped, triangular velvety-textured leaves, the entire plant, including the stems, is edible. Small black edible seeds on the plants are most often not fully developed when wild spinach is harvested and are still encased in tiny green pollen-like balls, which are also edible. You can only nourish the one's you feed Lamb's Quarters. All is edible; nothing is poisonous.
Lamb’s quarters, botanically known as Chenopodium album, is also frequently known as lamb's quarter spinach or wild spinach, Indian spinach, goose-foot spinach. Lamb’s quarters is a European cousin to quinoa and beets. Lamb’s quarters is found growing prolifically throughout North America where it’s commonly regarded and discarded as a weed. Usually available spring and summer and year-round in moderate climate regions, this is one the deer LOVE so I love for it to grow big near others they nibble and they will devour this one first and move on.
High in vitamin C and rich in riboflavin, one cup of cooked lamb's quarters provides an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamins E, B6, and thiamine. Lamb’s quarters actually contains substantially more nutrients than all cultivated spinach! It's a super food so work it into your meals.
Lamb's Quarter, Beet & Grain Salad
- 3 medium roasted beets, any color (+1 cup of the finely chopped greens if you have and want)
- 2 cups chopped or minced lamb’s quarter leaves and tops
- 2 medium carrots shredded
- 2 cups cook grain of choice; cooked with 1 tsp fennel seeds - farro, buckwheat, barley, wild rice, quinoa, to name a few
- Pinches of sea salt and pepper to taste – though the feta usually adds the salty part
- 2-3 tablespoons vinegar of choice – rice, apple cider, wine, herbal infused, fig infused balsamic
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
- 2-3 tablespoons oil of choice - olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed Oil, walnut oil
- ½ cup nuts or seeds of choice – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, broken walnut or almond pieces
- 4 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled – more if you like
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, marjoram, chives, peppermint; parsley, chive and peppermint are my favorites.
- Fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice to serve; and fresh ground black pepper
- If using the beet greens, blanch for 1 minute in boiling water. Transfer to cold water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.
- Roast beets in oven covered at 400°F for 1 hour while you cook your grain with Fennel Seeds per directions for that grain. This can be done the day before and put in the refrigerator.
- Peel beets (if large , otherwise we eat the skin of young beets) and chop to bite sized pieces.
- Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegars, pepper, garlic, then whisk in the oil(s).
- In a large bowl, put all ingredients together, toss, and taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. This can be served warm if you make them all the same day. It's equally good served at room temperature or cold too.
- I serve with a little feta or goat cheese crumbled on top and a squeeze of lime or lemon. It will turn pink over time if you have red beets and is good for days in the refrigerator.
Interesting and Delicious Additions:
- Adding the zest and juice (1-2 tablespoons) from a good organic orange whisked into your vinaigrette brings a great citrus twist!
- Use pickled beets. If fresh beets are not around or you just are not up to the work, then yes, you can use pickled beets instead which makes preparing this all the more easier and just as good.
- This pic has fresh roasted beets, avocado oil, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, fresh Lamb's Quarters leaf (our star in making this WILD), fresh minced peppermint, parsley, chives, and wild rice!
I find that bringing in the WILD ones makes my recipes more satisfying. I simply don't get hungry as often. I suspect it's the boosted nutrition from the wild additions that just pack a greater nutritional punch than our cultivated foods, even when grown well. Then there is that which eludes being measured and weighed. It's quite possible that in slowing down to seek these kinds of foods and figuring ways to bring them into our bodies in a beautiful, delicious way actually feeds that wild place that comes forth and eases the body and the mind that struggles with this modern way. Indeed, this is how the wild ones feed me.
There's a start anytime on-line course to get you started or begin the process of tightening the weave of who you are, right where you are, with the medicine plants. In-Person courses start each May in Woodstock, NY. where we walk together for 13 Moons and learn how to find your own way of moving with the medicine plants as an Herbalist for yourself, family and loved ones. Full descriptions below.