Can You Eat Purslane – Tips For Using Edible Purslane Plants
By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Purslane is a weedy bane of many gardeners and yardperfectionists. Portulaca oleracea istenacious, grows in a variety of soils, and regrows from seeds and fragments ofstem. An important question for any gardener trying without success toeradicate this weed is, can you eat purslane?
Is Purslane Safe to Eat?
Purslaneis a pretty tough weed. Native to India and the Middle East, thisweed has spread throughout the world. It is a succulent, so you’ll see fleshylittle leaves. The stems grow low to the ground, nearly flat and the plantproduces yellow flowers. Some people describe purslane as looking like a baby jadeplant. It grows in a range of soils and most heartily in hot, sunnyareas. A common spot to see it is in cracks in the sidewalk or driveway.
It may be tough and tenacious, but purslane is not just aweed; it is also edible. If you can’t beat it, eat it. This is a greatphilosophy to live by if you have tried to control purslane with limitedsuccess. There are even cultivated varieties of purslane, but if you alreadyhave it invading your garden, start there for a new culinary adventure.
How to Use Purslane in the Kitchen
Using edible purslane plants, you can generally treat themlike any other leafy green in your recipes, particularly as a substitute for spinachor watercress.The flavor is mild to sweet and slightly acidic. Nutritionally purslanecontains omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin C, several B vitamins, calcium,magnesium, potassium, and high levels of vitamin A compared to other leafygreens.
The simplest way to enjoy purslaneherbs in food is to eat it fresh and raw, any way you would spinach.Use it in salads, as greens in a sandwich, or as a green topping for tacos andsoup. Purslane also stands up to some heat. When cooking with purslane, though,sauté gently; overcooking will make it slimy. You can even pickle purslane fora bright, peppery flavor.
If you do decide to eat purslane from your yard or garden,wash it very well first. And avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your yardbefore you harvest the succulent leaves of this tasty weed.
Disclaimer:The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only.Before using or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes orotherwise, please consult a physician, medical herbalist or other suitableprofessional for advice.
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Purslane Recipes: 45 Things To Do With Fresh Purslane
Have you ever cooked with purslane, or Portulaca oleracea as it is known to botanists? It is a succulent plant whose edible, delicious leaves are crunchy and slightly mucilaginous, with a tangy lemony and peppery flavor.
It is generally harvested from early June till the end of summer, and can either be foraged or purchased, usually from a farmers market or through a CSA share. The wild variety, which is actually considered a weed by many gardeners, is rampant and has pinkish stems (see picture above), while cultivated varieties tend to grow vertically and display greenish stems.
Purslane has been consumed since ancient times, and because it grows easily in hot and not too dry climates, it is represented in many cuisines of the world, from Greece to Mexico, and from Turkey to India by way of South Africa. (Here’s a handy list of its aliases in different languages.)
It is a bit of a nutritional powerhouse, offering remarkable amounts of minerals (most notably calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (A, B, C), and antioxydants. It is thought to be an important component of the Cretan high-life-expectancy diet, and Michael Pollan has called it one of the two most nutritious plants on the planet in his In Defense of Food manifesto (the other is lamb’s quarters if you want to hunt for that too).
Although the stems are edible when still young (and can be pickled), cooks usually keep only the leaves and thin, spindly stems at the top, which are simply plucked from the central stem. The process is slow-going, but rewarding in the end. Because purslane grows so close to the earth, and especially if it is foraged*, it should be rinsed very well, in several baths of fresh water (I usually do three), with a bit of vinegar.
And once you have your bowlful of squeaky clean and vibrant little leaves, what do you do with them? Purslane is mostly eaten raw, but can also be cooked for a change of pace. I’ve gathered 45 purslane recipes for you — and hope you’ll add your own favorites in the comments section!
* Some people report that they find it growing from sidewalk cracks or in city parks, but I wouldn’t recommend foraging it from there.
Best Pairings for Purslane Recipes
– Purslane + cucumber
– Purslane + tomato
– Purslane + avocado
– Purslane + nuts (esp. almonds and walnuts)
– Purslane + garlic
– Purslane + lemon
– Purslane + vinegar
– Purslane + marjoram
– Purslane + chili pepper
– Purslane + eggs
– Purslane + cream
– Purslane + fresh cheese (esp. feta)
– Purslane + hard cheese (esp. parmesan)
– Purslane + fish
– Purslane + shellfish
– Purslane + duck
– Purslane + lamb
– Purslane + legumes (esp. black beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
– Purslane + stone fruits (esp. peaches, nectarines, and plums)
Purslane in salads
– Purslane salad with sesame oil, rice vinegar, gomasio, and strips of nori
– Purslane and potato salad with capers or anchovies
– Purslane salad with chunks of peaches and fresh goat cheese, or with a peach dressing
– Fattouche salad with toasted chips of pita bread
– Purslane salad with a white dressing (i.e. a classic vinaigrette with cream or buttermilk in place of oil)
– Purslane salad with black barley and watermelon
– Purslane salad with diced red bell peppers, lemon juice, and olive oil (the vitamin C in the bell peppers and lemon juice helps with the iron absorbency)
– Purslane salad with grilled corn and a creamy avocado dressing
– Purslane salad with walnuts, crispy bacon, and finely diced red onion
– Purslane salad with quinoa, peas, and radishes
– Purslane salad with diced tomatoes and cucumbers in a pomegranate molasses dressing
– Purslane salad with fregola sarda or Israeli couscous
– Purslane salad with chickpeas and a zaatar dressing
– Purslane salad with walnuts, sumac, and “grated” tomatoes
Purslane with meat
– Serve as a side salad with duck magret
– Stew with pork in a tomatillo sauce, Mexican-style (puerco con verdolagas)
– Stew with lamb and lentils
Purslane with fish
– Use purslane in a stuffing for baked fish
– Process purslane with a little cream or yogurt and make a green sauce to drizzle over fish
– Serve as a side salad with wild salmon, lobster, or crab
– No-cook cucumber and purslane soup
– Portuguese purslane soup with potatoes
– Purslane and almond soup, adapted from this green bean and almond soup
– A Moroccan-style cooked salad
– Purslane spanakopita
– Purslane borek
– Sauté briefly (2-5 min) in olive oil
– Steam briefly (2-5 min) and dress with olive oil and lemon juice
– Make tempura with the tender tops
– Add to dal
Purslane in beverages
– Make green smoothies (purslane will make them creamier) with blueberries, kiwis, peaches, or tropical fruit (it’s okay to freeze purslane for use in smoothies)
– Make a cucumber and purslane slushie
– Make tea with the leaves it is said to help ease headaches, bring down a fever, soothe sore throats, and combat inflammation.
Other purslane uses
– Pickled purslane
– Purslane vinegar
– Purslane pesto
– Purslane tzatziki (use purslane instead of, or in addition to the cucumber)
– Add to scrambled eggs and omelets
– Make green pancakes (recipe from my book!)
– Toss with pasta as in this pasta with tetragon
– Sprinkle over pizza just before serving
– Use as a garnish for gazpacho, chilled zucchini soup, or asparagus soup
– Add to sandwiches for crunch it would be great in a lobster roll or an ABLT.
– Add to salsa and salsa verde
– And if you ever tire of it, feed it to your chickens! Their eggs will be richer in omega-3 fatty acids.
Is Purslane Safe To Eat: Learn How To Use Purslane Weeds - garden
If you garden at all, you're probably familiar with purslane since it's a pretty common weed. But that's just one way of looking at it. It does tend to grow all over but it's also downright tasty and ridonkulously good for you.
A succulent, low-growing plant, purslane has a mild lemony flavor with a hint of pepper and a pleasing texture that is half-chewy, half-crunchy. I like it so much that I actually planted it between the rows of my garden this summer.
Known as verdolaga in Spanish, semizotu in Turkish and pourpier potager in French, purslane is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and has the highest Omega-3 content of any leafy green. It's so full of goodness that Michael Pollan actually called it one of the two most nutritious foods on earth in his treatise, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto . Says Pollan, "Wild greens like purslane have substantially higher levels of Omega-3s than most domesticated plants." His other top pick is lamb's quarters, also considered a weed.
Best of all, it has a lovely taste and texture. I like to eat it in salads. Or if you feel like something even simpler, just slice up a ripe tomato, add some purslane and a little crumbled goat or feta cheese, drizzle with good olive oil and vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. The sweet juicy tomato pairs so nicely with the crunchy, lemony purslane and the cheese adds a rich, creamy element that makes it even more addictive. MWAH - so good!
Purslane is very versatile - you can eat it pickled, in a chopped Middle Eastern salad, in a green salad, in tacos, with garlic, yogurt and salt, in potato salad, in a cucumber-yogurt salad, in a hearty lamb stew, in soup, and more.
To sum up, purslane is a wildly nutritious, tasty vegetable that grows like a weed. What's not to like?
You might also like:
- Eat Your Weeds - Wild Garlic
- Wild Raspberries, Invasive, Yes, But Mighty Tasty.
- On the Hunt for Wild Greens - Miner's Lettuce
10. Mallow (Malva species)
There are many different varieties of mallow, which are a genus of plants from the malva family.
"They can pretty much all be used interchangeably. Although they vary from core mallow, which can be 2 or 3 metres tall, to little ground covers," Mr Grubb said.
Again, the leaves are best cooked and eaten like spinach, but can also be eaten as a salad green.
"They have a kind of umami richness … And they also, a little bit like okra, thicken things," Mr Grubb said.
"Primarily [you eat] the leaves or you can also eat the seed head, which get called mallow cheeses. They're like mini okras."
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