Weeds are the enemies of gardeners. They are the leafy pests that make maintaining a garden tedious. While all weeds may look dubious, not all are evil. In fact, there are quite a few edible weeds that you might want to let flourish among your vegetables. Here are just a few to keep an eye out for that you can add to your next salad.

1. Dandelions

edible weeds

Photo by Emma Danbury

Cook it up or eat it raw, dandelions are good in a stir-fry, fried alone, or simply eaten as a snack. Eat them in spring and fall when their leaves are still tender and sweet. These weeds are also rich in beta-carotene, a natural form of vitamin A. You can even use this weed to make dandelion wine.

2. Burdock

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @Pethan on Wikimedia Commons

Bearing a spiky purple flower, this edible weed can be stripped of its outer layers and, once boiled, tastes a bit like artichoke.

3. Sorrel

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Images

Tangy and tart, this edible weed can add unique flavor to a variety of dishes.

4. Red Clover

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @Rowan Adams on Wikimedia Commons

Felling lucky? Clover can be eaten raw or added to a salad and can even be dried for tea.

5. Purslane

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @ZooFari on Wikimedia Commons

This succulent grows everywhere and is more nutritious than you think. Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy green and will add a peppery flavor to any dish.

6. Chickweed

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @Harry Rose on Flickr

All parts of the chickweed plant can be consumed and can be used as a topical medicine for cuts or burns. Don’t eat too much though, as this weed may have a laxative effect in large quantities.

7. Plantain

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @F.D. Richards on Flickr

Not the yummy banana kind but still good to eat, plantain weed grows most frequently in your lawn and is best eaten when its leaves are young, as older leaves grow tough. The flower spike that this weed produces can also be ground into a flour.

8. Lambs Quarter

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @Rasbac on Wikimedia Commons

This weed will mix perfectly into your salad, and for those who detest spinach, lambs quarter can substitute it well. It is sometimes even referred to as “wild spinach.” The seeds are also edible and, like quinoa, full of protein.

9. Watercress

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of @Tony Austin on Flickr

An already popular salad ingredient, watercress is indeed an edible weed. Stop buying it at the store and harvest it yourself.

10. Wild Garlic

edible weeds

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

This weed produces a beautiful purple flower and can be used in salads, vinaigrettes or pesto.

Growing edible weeds on purpose, why not? Remember, only pick and eat weeds that you are sure have not been sprayed with any unsafe chemicals or treated with any sort of pesticide or fungicide and wash all weeds just as thoroughly as you would your other produce.