Lamb’s Quaters

The nutritious Lamb's Quarters

A nice big stalk of lamb's quarter popped up in my potato patch as a volunteer. It was a weed, but an edible weed, so I had it for lunch as a green salad. It was great!

Lamb's Quarters

Lamb's Quarters

Lamb's quarters is also known as pig weed, fat hen and goose foot.

It is an annual leafy plant that grows to about 3 feet in height but can shoot up as high as 6 feet, under the right conditions. It is found pretty well all over the globe. It is a very vigorous plant and grows almost any place where people live and have disturbed the soil. It doesn't like remote wilderness.

You can know it by the white powdery coating on the underside of the young leaves.

As the plant matures, it branches out like a small tree and develops great clusters of greenish-white flowers.

You can eat the young leaves and stems raw, mixed in a green salad or as a green drink.
Later on they accumulate too much oxalic acid and they may cause a slight burning in the back of the throat, when eaten raw. At this point it is better to cook the greens which gets rid of the acid. The taste is close to that of spinach, which it is related to.

It ranks in the top 5 for nutrition of wild edibles.

It is high in minerals, especially calcium, and vitamins A and B. The natives of eastern and south western America knew that. It has been part of their diet since about 6500 BC. They even cultivated it for part of that time. To this day it is grown as a crop in Mexico.

This plant is related to quinoa.


It produces an abundance of tiny seeds. You can harvest them, when ripe, by putting a bag over the plant and shaking it. The seeds will collect in the bag. They are very rich in protein. Germinating them will give you a bunch of very tasty and nutritious sprouts. Some folks eat them mixed in with rice or quinoa.

I ran into an intriguing recipe, using lamb's quarters, by Jean Ann Pollard, which I really want to try:

  • Saute one finely chopped large onion and 1 cup of sliced mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil until limp.
  • Spread this mixture over the bottom of a 9x12 inch lasagna pan or similar dish.
  • Put 4 tightly packed cups of finely chopped lamb's quarters leaves and tender stems in a large bowl.
  • Add to that:
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese or crumbled tofu
  • 1 cup of full fat yogurt
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. powdered mustard
  • Mix this well together.
  • In a big bowl or blender beat 6 eggs, 1 tsp of sea salt some black or white pepper and 1/8 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg until fluffy.
  • Pour the eggs into your green mixture and toss well.
  • Spread this over the onion and mushroom layer and bake covered for 30 minutes
  • Then sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • Continue baking for a few more minutes, until the cheese melts.
  • Let stand for about 10 minutes, then cut into squares and serve with a vegetable salad and sliced tomatoes.

Sounds good! Doesn't it?

Get field guides for this and other edible, wild plants, here.

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