Purslane High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids Than All Other Leafy Vegetables; Purslane Recipe Ideas

Keep that weed! Purslane, a farmers market favorite, is high in omega-3 fatty acids and perfect for summer dishes

Purslane grows like a weed in my vegetable garden. Until now, I’ve treated it like one, too, even though I know it’s edible. But the lettuces have started to bolt, it’s still too early for tomatoes and peppers, and the purslane is so vigorous I’ve been harvesting it instead of dumping it on the compost pile. Another prompt was that I heard it’s selling like crazy at Manhattan farmers’ markets. Why am I tossing out something that requires no effort to grow, that city slickers are lining up to buy? Good question.

Raw purslane tastes a little like spinach, only crunchy. It contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant, Wikipedia informs me, and is high in vitamin C as well as a slew of minerals. So it’s good for you.

Cooked for any length of time, it gets mucilaginous (OK, slimy) like okra — a texture that I don’t mind, but lots of people don’t care for. But, like okra, it will thicken sauces and soups, and its slippery quality becomes undetectable. Quickly sautéed, or tossed in to finish a dish, it will just wilt and retain its crunch. You can eat the stalks and the leaves. Be sure to wash it well — purslane grows close to the ground and gets gritty.

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I’ve been adding it to green salads, but here are a few other ways I’ve found so far to use my favorite, trendy weed:

  • Add a layer of leaves to a cheese sandwich for a pleasant, almost cucumber-y crunch
  • Mix with chopped parsley, minced garlic or shallot and plain yogurt for a Turkish-style salad
  • Chop equal amounts of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and purslane and top with crumbled feta cheese for a Greek salad with a lemony vinaigrette
  • Add purslane to fresh corn and lima beans in a summer succotash
  • Go Mexican and make huevos con verdolagas: Sauté about a half-cup of chopped purslane and a half-cup of finely chopped onion in melted butter for a couple of minutes. Add three lightly beaten eggs and stir until the eggs are cooked. Salt to taste. Serve in a warm tortilla
  • Add to a rustic pasta dish for the last few minutes of cooking

You can also pickle it in apple cider vinegar, but I haven’t tried that yet. Anyone got other good purslane recipes?

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