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Sowthistle Fritters Recipe (Cooking with Wild Greens)

Wild edible greens are nature’s perfect food. Hardy and packed with nutrients, these foraged plants are an extremely healthy part of the human diet. Sowthistle is one of my favourite edible wild greens, and today I would like to share a cool recipe for the best plant-based fritters with it.

wild sowthistle fritters

Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus L.) is a plant from the Asteraceae family (same as dandelion). Its young leaves are edible and super tasty in salads or cooked dishes. It is less bitter than dandelion, which makes it suitable for many delicious recipes.

wild sowthistle greens

Instead of sowthistle, you can actually use any other edible greens of your choice in this recipe! I’ve made these fritters with other greens such as goosefoot, a mixture of local wild edible plants (famous Croatian “mišancija”) such as wild fennel, dock greens, wild leeks and others.

I decided to make this recipe as easy and versatile as possible so that you can experiment with your favourite foraged greens. Besides sowthistle or other edible wild plants, I used chickpeas and spelt flour as the main ingredients.

wild sowthistle fritters

Ingredients for the sowthistle fritters

To make these delicious sowthistle fritters, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh sowthistle greens, or other freshly foraged edible wild plants.
  • Cooked chickpeas 
  • Aquafaba (water from cooking chickpeas) – its viscous consistency makes it good for binding the mixture. In combination with spelt flour, it will ensure that your fritters don’t fall apart even without any eggs.
  • Spelt flour – both whole-grain and white spelt flour are great choices. Spelt is my flour of choice because it really binds the mixture well (unlike for example oat or rice flour which would make it a bit less compact and more prone to falling apart). Other wheat varieties will give you good results too.
  • Salt
  • Pepper and/or other spices (optional)
  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) or baking powder – it will make the fritters rise a bit in the cooking, which will make them more fluffy and tender.
  • Oil (optional) – I only use it to grease the bottom of the pan when I make fritters. Sometimes I will make them on a dry non-stick pan, without any oil. My cooking oil of choice for this recipe would be cold-pressed sunflower oil because it is the most local ingredient in the north of Croatia. If I was at the seaside, I would choose olive oil. Feel free to choose any that works best for you.
Cooked chickpeas, aquafaba, salt, baking soda and spelt flour.

Foraging for sowthistle

Sowthistle is widely distributed and can be found on all continents. It can grow in fields, gardens, farmland, roadsides and other disturbed habitats. Older leaves form a basal rosette near the ground, while new shoots carry younger leaves and end with yellow flowers somewhat similar to dandelion flowers. 

wild sowthistle greens

It will taste best if you pick it for food when the rosette leaves are still young and the flowering stem has not yet developed. The older the sowthistle plant is, the more bitter the taste.

Its leaves are easy to recognise with their prickly edges and pointed lobes. A similar species, Sonchus asper L. (spiny sowthistle) also grows all around Europe and is edible as well. In some cases, it can be distinguished from the common sowthistle by the leaves without such distinct lobes. 

They have almost the same taste and can be cooked in the same ways, so don’t worry if you cannot determine which of those two species you have.

Using other edible wild greens

I absolutely recommend trying out this recipe with other wild edible greens along with, or instead of sowthistle. One of my favourites is goosefoot (Chenopodium album L.), I’ve used it in my fritter recipes many times. 

Goosefoot is much gentler than sowthistle, so when measuring the amount for the recipe, check how much you get when it is cooked. It should be one and a half cups of cooked greens no matter which plants you are using.

Making the fritters

Add a tablespoon of oil or water to a pan, heat it up over low to medium heat, and add chopped sowthistle. Add a pinch of salt and stir-fry until tender (a minute or two should be enough). It will decrease in volume, and you should get around one and a half cups of cooked greens.

cooking sowthistle
I cooked the chopped sowthistle greens in a wide, shallow pan with two tablespoons of water. You can also use oil to stir-fry the greens if you prefer it.
cooking sowthistle
After a minute or two, the greens will soften and lose a lot of their original volume.

Put aquafaba, spelt flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and whisk well to combine.

In another bowl, mash cooked chickpeas with a fork and add cooked greens (and spices if you are using any). Add the liquid mixture from the first bowl and mix with a spatula to combine.

I like to bake these on a non-stick pan; that way I can get them perfectly cooked without using too much (or any) oil. Normally, I will add about a tablespoon of oil to cover the bottom of the pan, heat it up over medium/low heat and add the fritter mixture. I use a small ladle as a measure.

baking fritters in a pan

After the fritter is baked on one side (about two minutes at low heat), flip it and bake for another two to three minutes on the other side. The exact time required will depend on the particular pan and stovetop; the fritters are done when their surface on both sides turns golden-brown.

baking fritters in a pan

Serving and storing

These delicious wild greens fritters are excellent in combination with…

wild sowthistle fritters

You can store these fritters in a closed container in the fridge for up to three days or at room temperature for a day.

Yield: 6 fritters (3 portions)

Sowthistle Fritters Recipe (Cooking with Edible Wild Greens)

Sowthistle Fritters Recipe (Cooking with Edible Wild Greens)

Sowthistle fritters are an excellent and creative way to cook these tasty wild edible greens. This recipe works great with other types of greens too, so if you like to forage for edible plants, feel free to experiment with different ones.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 140 g fresh sowthistle greens (1 + ½ cup cooked)
  • 250 g cooked chickpeas (or strained chickpeas from 1 can)
  • 150 ml aquafaba (or liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 100 g spelt flour
  • 1-2 pinches seasalt or Himalayan salt
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper or other spices of choice
  • 1-2 tbsp oil (optional)


  1. Wash the sowthistle greens to remove soil from them and chop them coarsely.
  2. Heat up a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water or a tablespoon of oil over low to medium heat and add the chopped sowthistle leaves. 
  3. Cook the leaves until they get tender (about a minute or two) and remove them from the heat.
  4. Drain cooked chickpeas and save the water they were cooked in. 
  5. In one bowl, mix 150 ml of the strained cooking liquid (aquafaba) with spelt flour, baking soda and a pinch of salt, and whisk well to combine.
  6. In another bowl, mash the cooked chickpeas with a fork, add cooked sowthistle greens, spices and a small pinch of salt (spices and salt are optional, up to your taste), and mix everything with the fork.
  7. Pour the spelt flour and aquafaba batter and combine everything with a spatula or a spoon.
  8. Heat up a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan over low to medium heat (if you are using a non-stick pan, it can be done without oil too).
  9. Use a ladle or a large spoon to transfer the fritter batter into the pan. For me, this amount of ingredients was enough for making six fritters (2-3 portions).
  10. Bake the fritters over low to medium heat for two to three minutes on each side. I recommend lower heat and longer baking time in order to have them turn out evenly cooked on the inside and not burnt on the outside. The exact time will depend on the heat and the pan, so you can check how they look - if they got golden-brown on both sides, they are done.


If you are using canned chickpeas, check the mass and volume that are written on the can. Most cans here in Europe have 250 g of chickpeas and 150 ml of aquafaba (cooking liquid), which is exactly what you’ll need for this recipe. A bit more or less is okay, it won’t change the result too much.

If you are cooking your own chickpeas, you can further reduce the cooking liquid after straining so as to make it thicker and more egg white-like in consistency.

I used cold-pressed sunflower oil for making these fritters, but any oil of your preference will work fine. Baking them without oil in a non-stick pan is also a good option! They will turn out only slightly drier than with oil, but still perfectly tasty.

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