Doesn’t thistle lasagna just sound sooooooo appetizing. Most of us have memories of getting pricked and poked by this plant, so the thought of actually eating it conjures up a lot of skepticism. All of the ‘true’ thistles are of the genus Cirsium are edible (along with others). Many people like artichokes, spiny lobster, and tequila, so just think of those thorns as protecting a very good food source. Once you remove the thorns you can eat the leaves, peel the stalks for a crispy raw vegetable, or use the roots as you would other root vegetables. Of course all thistles vary in taste and palatability.
Common/ smooth sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is not a ‘true’ thistle. It does have very small thorns, but young leaves can easily be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Although the photo is poor, below you can see a full grown plant, it looks like a large overgrown dandelion. Click here to see more detailed photos of the plant.
Common sow thistle is a nutritional superstar. Click here to read a 2002 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found the plant to be high in lutein. Click here to read a study published in Food Chemistry in 2000 showing Mediterranean green pies, which contain Sonchus oleraceus , to have 12 times more quercetin than a glass of red wine and 3 times more quercetin than a cup of black tea. Click here to read a study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition in 2004 showing its high content of flavonols.
Sow Thistle Lasagna
one large onion, chopped
dried basil & oregano
7 medium cloves garlic
1 quart jar of canned whole tomatoes
9 lasagna noodles, pre-cooked
6 cups chopped sow thistle greens
15 oz. ricotta cheese
shredded mozarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
The best is to take your favorite lasagna recipe and add this delicious chopped green to your recipe. Otherwise, give this one a try. Saute onions in well oiled pan until translucent. Add garlic, dried basil and oregano, drained tomatoes, salt and pepper. Mash tomatoes and let simmer for roughly 5-10 minutes. Cook lasagna noodles, strain and place a layer on the bottom of a 14 × 9 × 2 1/2” pan. Then put a layer of ricotta cheese, layer of onion/tomato mix, and a layer of chopped sow thistle greens. Repeat this layer and cover generously with shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and place into preheated oven at 350° for 45 minutes. Take out of oven and remove foil. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy!