Lambsquarters recipe: simple steamed wild yumminess!

Handful of lambsquarters, with collie

Out walking the dogs the other afternoon, I paused to pull a couple handfuls of lambsquarters for our dinner.

Sometimes I feel downright silly

. . . sweating and toiling to grow a garden full of vegetables and herbs when so many carefree and hardy wild foods grow (quite literally) all over the place, nutrient-rich and free for the picking!

I wrote an earlier post highlighting a fabulous book on wild foods, called The Wild Table,Β by Connie Green.Β  If you’re interested, you can check it out here. Just on our few acres, right now I can think of several nutritious wild foods that I could waltz out to pick and eat: dandelion, nettle, violet, dock weed, purslane, and the loveliest of all these (not to mention the subject of this post), lambsquarters.

silly dog rolling on the ground

Talk about being silly . . .

Lambsquarters, or Chenopodium album

is also called white goosefoot or fat hen–charmingly!–and grows wild nearly everywhere. It prefers places where the soil has been disturbed. It’s coming up at our place–a place of many many areas of disturbed soil, *sigh*,Β  right now! The plants are very small this week, but if one leaves them alone, they’ll easily grow several feet tall and one will need to send ones lanky 16 year old son, armed with a machete, to take them down.

If you want to eat lambsquarters, it’s best to cut them when they are small and tender.

Lambsquarters are about as common-looking as weeds come, but they will surprise you at how delicious they are!

Lambsquarters are about as common-looking as weeds come, but it will surprise you how delicious they are!

How to add this nutrient-rich green to your daily diet

It’s quite simple–while you’re out weeding, planting, or even walking the dog–pull a few handfuls of these wonderful greens and you’ll have the basis of a delicious soup or stir-fry, or a nice addition to a green salad or a sandwich. Take them inside and immerse them quickly in cool water, then spin or pat them dry and store in the ‘fridge in a plastic bag. So easy.

Lambsquarters are wonderful wild plants. Stems and leaves alike are edible, versatile, delicious and nutritious. You can use them in any dish that you would use spinach, raw or cooked.

Steam these greens like spinach and serve as a side dish, or stir into an omelet or pasta dish. They are one of my very favorite wild foods, and actually I think they taste better than spinach, especially steamed with a bit of butter and some freshly-ground salt and pepper, or a dash of olive oil and vinegar. Have I talked you into trying some lambsquarters yet?


In this close-up, you can see that the leaves are a triangular shape, and are slightly fuzzy.

In this close-up, you can see that the leaves are a triangular shape, and are slightly fuzzy.

two dogs with handful of greens

In this close-up, you can see a fuzzy photo because two goofy dogs were thrashing around.

Hopefully you’ve slipped out and grabbed some lambsquarters by now, and are anxious to move on to the recipe, already.

Here we go: the quickest, easiest thing to do with lambsquarters. For a very simple summer supper, make these greens, scramble a few eggs, and saw off a hunk of good homemade bread. Yum.

Simple Steamed Lambsquarters

A simple steamed greens dish with the princess of wild greens, lambsquarters!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes


  • e tender leaves and stalks while they are small. I prefer to let some keep growing in my garden and keep the tender shoots well trimmed. It is also handy to be able to use the small plants that you have just weeded from around your garden plants.Steam these greens for several minutes until they turn a bright green, only a few minutes, because you do not want them to get mushy. Drain the water from the greens and place onto your serving dish. Pour a dash of olive oil onto each serving. Top with minced fresh garlic and a bit of Bragg's or your favorite seasonings.Voila! In just a few minutes, you have made the best plate of greens that this world could offer! Olive oil
  • double handful fresh lambsquarters, rinsed
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • garlic, smashed
  • thyme, oregano, parsley, or other favorite herbs
  • Butter
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper


  • Wash fresh young lambsquarters leaves and put into saucepan.
  • Add a half inch of water, bring to a simmer, and cover.
  • Simmer and steam for a few minutes, until lambsquarters are bright green.
  • Remove from heat, drain quickly and add butter or olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with fresh minced garlic and chopped herbs. Voila! Ready to serve.
IMG 7382

IMG 7382

How’s that for quick and easy?

That’s it for today, but do me (and yourself!) a favor and subscribe to this blog, and you’ll get a note in your inbox when I post new recipes. I’m working on a recipe for lambsquarter soup, and one of lambsquarters spread, too, so you’ll be the first to know when these recipes are finished and released into the world!




Pin it for later? Why not!

lambsquarters graphic


Thanks again for popping in, gentle reader. You’re da best.


26 thoughts on “Lambsquarters recipe: simple steamed wild yumminess!

  1. Francene Stanley

    I’ve never seen this herb growing close to me. What a great idea to eat it the way you suggest. I’d be too afraid to eat anything growing close to me for fear of pollution from fumes of a constant stream of traffic going by.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Francene, sweet lady, you just come visit me and I’ll fix you up a mess of these lovely greens. Not much fumes or pollution out at our place!

  2. Susan Evans

    Who knew there were so many ways to cook a weed? Now you’ve made me want to go eat it. My kids eat dandelion leaves all the time, even though they are a bit bitter. If you mix them with lettuce and pour salad dressing on them, they’re not too bad, and very nutritious.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Lambsquarters, in my humble opinion, are more tasty (and not bitter!) than dandelions, and just as plentiful!

  3. Chef William

    I don’t seem to be able to find any around me. I’ll keep looking. I would ask you for some seed when they go to seed but I do plan to be heading south soon and if I have my way, I might just miss next years planting season.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Ah, Chef, say it isn’t so! I’ll save you some seed, anyway, just in case you end up in the states next spring!

  4. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    What a coincidence! We went to a library book sale today and picked up a Weight Watchers cookbook with recipes from the Culinary Institute of America. One of the recipes was a Spinach Avocado Dip that was made with cooked spinach, avocado, plum tomatoes, onion, a little lime juice and cilantro – and low fat buttermilk. You pureed the spinach, added to mashed avocado, and added the chopped plum tomato and onion. Sounds a little bit like your recipe, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’ve eaten lambs quarters many times – my son, growing it up, loved it in a spinach pie (using egg roll wrappers and feta cheese). For some reason, we don’t have near as much of this coming up in our community garden anymore than used to even a few years ago. Not enough to eat. I miss it!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      That recipe sounds delicious! I’m happy to hear of somebody else who has eaten this delicious wild green. Not many folks have tried it!

  5. Anita-Clare Field

    Hey hey hey, what a wonderful blog to wake up to on a Sunday morning. I have a feeling your ‘Fat Hen’ /Lambsquarters may be the same as the Good King Henry we wrote about the other day ? So many different names for given in different places in the world huh? These recipes are an absolute delight, especially the soup. NOM

  6. Cher

    Fab post Amy, and surprise surprise I have the book LOL – I get so excited about wild greens and it never ceases to entertain me (for hours) when new arrivals pop up from nowhere – Love Nature πŸ™‚ xx

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Me too, Cher! I just love spring and having the chance to pick and cook wild foods, as well as what I plant in my garden! I’m very content not to go to the grocery store so much, too! πŸ™‚

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I think that sounds delicious! If it were me, I’d steam the chopped lambsquarters first, and then drain and pat them dry, though, before adding to the cheese, to avoid spoiling your cheese with too much moisture. Does that sound good to you?

  7. Andrew Strasfogel

    Last fall I allowed a plant to go to seed and then broadcast seeds just by the front wall of the house in front of my living room. This spring, I have a forest of edible greens. Steamed a bunch and chopped up the leaves to include in an omelet with cheese and Genoa salami this morning. Off the charts delicious!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Whoa. Andrew. I’ve never even once thought about planting lambsquarters. I’m so glad you shared this with me. I actually prefer the taste of lambsquarters to that of spinach, and it grows wild here in Nebraska all season. Love this idea!

  8. Horace Barnes

    This old Cherokee Indian has to have wild greens! It’s something I grew up with and have never gotten my fill. My wife, a first generation Italian, likes lambs quarters more than spinach. That makes me happy…. we eat both, but the wild greens are always a treat.
    Make frittatas the Italian way with the wild greens. Fantastic!

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