Purslane… An Edible Weed for Dinner?

First of all, I just want to give a big THANK YOU to these awesome women who bid on the auction last week to help Jennie’s cause!

Emily from Nomnivorous

Beth Anne from Cats in the Kitchen

Amy Beadle

The Daily Spoon (sorry, your comment did not include your name or your site)

Beth Anne, you were the highest bid! Congratulations! And hope everyone will still donate for Jennie and her girls. If you want to see the other auctions, head over to Bloggers without Borders!

Now I want to introduce you to a vegetable which is considered invasive species here. I wish it invaded my backyard!

Have you ever heard of purslane?

This fragile looking, tiny-leafed plant contains high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, making it a unique vegetable in that sense. It also contains decent levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin A. It can be substituted wherever you use spinach—in salads, soups, and stews.

In other parts of the world, purslane has been used in cooking and medicinal applications for centuries. In the States, it’s usually considered an invasive weed. You should have seen my husband’s face when I was able to bring the seeds here from Turkey because I could not take “not having purslane salad” anymore. He was surprised that I was able to pass through Customs and afraid that I will turn the backyard into a purslane haven. We agreed on using big containers so it does not spread. At least that is what he thinks, I will let the nature do its work!I babied the plants for a while and then recently, I was thrilled to find that Compare Foods sells purslane under the name “Verdolaga”.

In Turkey, it is also common to cook purslane with onions, ground beef and tomato sauce, and serve it with a healthy ladleful of  yogurt on top. As an alternative, you can also combine your purslane with minced garlic and yogurt to serve as a side dish.

If you want to try, this salad is a good introduction to purslane. Chop most of the plant except the harder stems on the bottom, and combine with your favorite salad ingredients. I like to keep things simple, so just a red, plump tomato  does the trick for me. You can add crumbled feta or goat cheese to brighten things up. The basic dressing in the recipe below, more importantly garlic and vinegar, surely brings out the flavor.

Next time you are weeding out your backyard, pay attention! You might be stepping on your dinner!

Purslane Salad

  •  2 small bunches of purslane, cleaned, chopped in 1 inch piece
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine purslane and diced tomato in a salad bowl.
  2. Whisk together garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and pour over the vegetables. Give it a stir.
  3. Add cheese on top.

22 Comments:

  1. by Angie@Angiesrecipes
    1:14 pm
    Aug 29, 2011

    Love lamb’s lettuce! They are so delicious!

  2. by Beth Anne
    9:37 pm
    Aug 29, 2011

    I love this concept! I’m addicted to dandelion salads now, hopefully I will find some purslane seeds or starters sometime :)

  3. by redmenace
    9:28 pm
    Aug 30, 2011

    I love any leafy green. Delicious! It looks like mache? Any similarity?

  4. by Ilke
    4:21 am
    Aug 31, 2011

    Hi Robin, I just checked mache/lamb’s lettuce and I never realized they looked so similar with their tiny leaves. i think purslane have thicker stems and leaves than lamb lettuce but hey, they are both good :)

  5. by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    12:51 pm
    Aug 31, 2011

    Never heard of this but coz its green, I m so ready to try. Need to find it now.

  6. by Peggy
    4:22 pm
    Aug 31, 2011

    I’ve never heard of this before – but will definitely be on the lookout for it now =)

  7. by rebecca
    9:35 pm
    Aug 31, 2011

    oh have been reading about this never tried it though looks tasty oh man your not kidding waiting is so hard

  8. by Jeanette
    9:40 pm
    Aug 31, 2011

    Funny how weeds to some are jewels to others – I’ve never tried purslane but your salad looks enticing! I’ll have to take another look at my “weeds.”

  9. by LonnieCraig
    7:17 am
    Sep 1, 2011

    Any stores or restaurants in TX or Ft Worth that offer the whole plant? where can the seeds be bought from?

  10. by Ilke
    7:36 am
    Sep 1, 2011

    Hi Lonnie,
    I am not sure about your area but I searched the web and found this store where you can buy the seeds….
    http://www.wildgardenseed.com/index.php?cPath=49

  11. by Betty Saunders
    8:20 am
    Sep 1, 2011

    What area of the USA might you find this plant / weed? Sounds like an interesting option from the run of the mill salad. Are they also good cooked like spinach?

  12. by Ilke
    8:26 am
    Sep 1, 2011

    Hi Betty,
    I found these options online for seeds:
    http://www.wildgardenseed.com/index.php?cPath=49
    It is unavailable right now on Amazon but even Amazon sold it apperantly: http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Golden-Purslane-Seeds-Veggie/dp/B001I49RV0
    I found at the Compare stores during spring time mostly, might depend ont he climate.
    It is a good alternative to spinach at least. They are good as cooked too. We cook them with some olive oil, grated tomato and a little bit rice and eat cold during summer. I bet it would go well in soups and stews, or where you are using spinach.
    Another option is to visit local farmers market in your area and talk to the farmers there, see if they have every grown it, if so, if they would be willing to share/sell the seeds.

  13. by jaybird
    12:52 pm
    Sep 1, 2011

    Hi betty, I live 60 miles west of st louis mo. my garden is about 50’x50′ and it’s covered with it,never knew what it was nor did i care because it was a weed,but when I get home I will have a purslane salad:)

  14. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    9:51 pm
    Sep 1, 2011

    Tee hee! My dad’s a retired agriculture professor, he’d be very surprised that you got through customs with your purslane! I’ve never tried it before. But I’ve discovered that pretty much anything will taste great with feta cheese on top! ;)

  15. by Ilke
    9:55 pm
    Sep 1, 2011

    Tori…sshh! lips sealed please … :) It is all about if you can keep a straight face :) But I have to admit, it was only one time! My husband checks my luggage now before we depart from Turkey and cleans it out since he does not want any trouble, wants to get home as quick as possible :)

  16. by Lana
    2:36 pm
    Sep 6, 2011

    It’s funny that we bring in food as “contraband”! One summer I brought a whole suitcase of ziploc baggies filled with different teas I had someone prepare for me:) I have brought the seeds from my favorite Serbian heirloom tomato and managed to grow it to my utmost delight.
    Purslane looks familiar, but I don’t know what it is in Serbian. Does it have flowers of various colors?
    I am really curious about its taste as though. I love all different types of lettuces (bibb lettuce being my favorite:)

  17. by Ilke
    3:10 pm
    Sep 6, 2011

    Lana, it has subtle lemony, tangy flavor, and thicker leaves and stems than spinach. The flowers are yellow. I could not find the translation for Serbian, came as portulak for German and Danish. It is called “semizotu” in Turkish. I am curious about your heirloom tomatoes. Maybe next time I will try to bring some other vegetables’ seeds.:)

  18. by Vicki Bensinger
    9:49 pm
    Sep 8, 2011

    Hi I’m visiting from DID and wanted to say that I have also used purslane in a vegetable salad. Although I had the hardest time finding it. Your recipe looks delicious and your site is lovely.

  19. by alice
    2:06 pm
    Jan 13, 2012

    Hi, I live in Alberta, Canada and the perslane grows wildly here. Up until now I considered it a weed. It is so persistant that if you toss it down on the ground it will root. Therefore, when weeding it out one must put it in a container and dispose of it in the trash. However, now that I know how nutricious it is I will try the various recipies.

  20. by Linda
    1:04 pm
    Mar 11, 2012

    I cant waite to try Purslane. I have a small candy store and we dip almost everything in chocolate I am going to try Pursline dipped in milk, white and dark chocolate. I”ll let you know how it turns out. I will of course try a salad of Pursline ,I think some slivered almonds with it will add a interesting touch.
    We’re going to leave a spot in our garden just to let Pursline grow at will.

  21. by Gerryl-ann Mason-vanGelderen
    5:12 pm
    Jul 30, 2012

    I would like to find some place to buy purslane?

    Thanks so much,
    Gerryl-ann

  22. by Ilke
    6:31 am
    Jul 31, 2012

    You can check your farmer’s market and ask the sellers to see if anyone is harvesting it. Or try ethnic food stores (Mexican, Korean, etc) they always seem to bring different variety of vegetables.

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