Can You Eat Lambsquarters Leaves – How To Use Lambsquarters Plants

Can You Eat Lambsquarters Leaves – How To Use Lambsquarters Plants

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Image by seven75

Have you wondered what in the world you can do with that gigantic pile of weeds you just pulled from your garden? You might be surprised to learn that some of them, including lambsquarters, are edible, with an earthy flavor similar to chard or spinach. Let’s learn more about eating lambsquarters plants.

Can You Eat Lambsquarters?

Are lambsquarters edible? Most of the plant, including the leaves, flowers and stems, are edible. The seeds are also edible, but because they contain saponin, a natural, soap-like substance, they shouldn’t be eaten in excess. Saponins, also found in quinoa and legumes, can be irritating to the tummy if you eat too much.

Also known as pigweed, wild spinach or goosefoot, lambsquarters plants are highly nutritious, providing a fair amount of a number of vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, and generous amounts of vitamin A and C, to name just a few. This edible weed is also high in protein and fiber. You’ll enjoy eating lambsquarters most when the plant is young and tender.

Notes About Eating Lambsquarters

Don’t eat lambsquarters if there’s any possibility the plant has been treated with herbicides. Also, be careful of harvesting lambsquarters from fields that have been heavily fertilized, as the plants may absorb an unhealthy level of nitrates.

University of Vermont Extension (and others) warn that lambsquarters leaves, like spinach, contain oxalates, which should be used with caution by people with arthritis, rheumatism, gout or gastric inflammations, or who are prone to kidney stones.

How to Use Lambsquarters Weeds

When it comes to cooking lambsquarters, you can use the plant any way you would use spinach.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Steam the leaves lightly and serve them with butter, salt and pepper.
  • Sauté lambsquarters and drizzle it with olive oil.
  • Toss lambsquarters leaves and stems into stir fry.
  • Add a few leaves to scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • Mix lambsquarters leaves with ricotta cheese and use the mixture to stuff manicotti or other pasta shells.
  • Use lambsquarters leaves in sandwiches in place of lettuce.
  • Add a handful of leaves to tossed green salads.
  • Add lambsquarters to smoothies and juices.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes or otherwise, please consult a physician, medical herbalist or other suitable professional for advice.

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