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Has anyone ever eaten purslane?

I recently learned, in my old age, that purslane (Portulaca oleracea) contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acid, a compound touted to be a good cholesterol reducer. This feature is not common in most plant matter.

If you've used purslane in your culinary endeavors, what kind of dish did you prepare?

Purslane is considered a weed by many people, and it propagates profusely.

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  1. I've had it in salad. But there are lots of recipes for using it on the web. Google "purslane recipe" or "verdolago." The range from salads to side dishes. A common one involves boiling for about two minutes, draining it, and melting cheese over it in a skillet. By the way, ornamental varieties of purslane have been bred that have showy flowers. So you can grow it as an accent in your garden, not just as an invasive weed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Father Kitchen

      I've had purslane in a mixed salad as well.... in fact that's the only way I like it. My mother's Italian gardner used to grow it in our vegetable garden so I've been eating it since childhood. It has a mild sweetish after taste that, for me, is quite lovely.

    2. The thing about purslane is, it's only available for a short time of the year in the Spring, so eat it while you can. I think it's beautiful mixed with endive and fresh chive or finely minced shallot, fresh sweet strawberries and a balsamic vinaigrette. fayedelicious.blip.tv

      1. Thanks for the replies so far. I acquired seeds from a West Coast source, the postage cost more than the seeds, and I planted some in a pot. Winter keeps returning to the Mid-Atlantic states, so I do not know when to expect seedlings to appear.

        I'm looking forward to tasting the stuff. If I develop a liking for the stuff, and have a sufficient crop, I may pickle some for the cold weather months after this growing season.

        Of utmost importance to me as far as growing vegetables is my chile crop, the pods of which I use in chili.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ChiliDude

          Oh good luck with that. I too grow my own vegetables and herbs from seed I start. It's terrific to have chilies that no one else has!!

          1. re: ChiliDude

            Apparently it is an easy growing weed, so you might wish to put it in the garden for an abundance. It looks so much different than the other weeds that would show up in your garden, it will be easy to cull.
            I like it raw as salad - kinda lemony. Or just the slightest bit cooked. It has a bit of a goo factor.

            Search verdolagas and purslane (and your Mexican and Turkish cookbooks) for more - there was quite a bit of chat around this healthy weed last summer
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424738
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434267
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/339025

            1. re: pitu

              It grows RAMPANTLY in my garden and I absolutely loathe it. I spend my entire summer pulling it out and tossing it to the chickens - who don't seem to care for it either. Wish I could bring myself to eat the stuff but those succulent little leaves seem kind of slimy to me - I'm sure it's just vegi-prejudice on my part. Familiarity breeds contempt, I guess. Enjoy.

          2. I've seen it in a pasta recipe with bacon, onions, garlic, etc. Although the bacon may cancel out the benefit of the purslane!

            3 Replies
            1. re: katecm

              Thanks for the suggestion. As much as I like bacon, it can be left out of the dish. The rest of the ingredients are some of my favorites.

              1. re: ChiliDude

                If you like the idea of a pasta dish, google "italian purslane" and you'll come up with a lot of info on how to prepare it. Apparently, it is quite popular in Italy.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  BTW - I saw it at the Union Sq. farmer's market yesterday.

            2. ChiliDude,
              I just received Purslane seed from Johnny's Seed catalog. It's a hybrid I believe (Golden Purslane) which is larger than the other. I am going to try it in my garden this spring for it's nutritious value. My understanding is that it has a lemony flavor and would be a great accent to salads. Looking forward to trying it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: houndlover

                Thanks for the contact. Let me know how well your crop production of the purslane goes. We've got a cool spell lingering at this time. That'll delay germination here.

              2. A local Mexican restaurant (San Diego) makes a wonderful pork stew with verdolagas and tomatillo.See my comments in http://www.chowhound.com/topics/366888, and search for verdolagas.

                1. I ordered some seeds this year because our CSA had it last year and I liked it so much. My favorite use of it was as an added ingredient in potato salad.

                  1. I've made tiny tea sandwiches with it. Mix the leaves with softened cream cheese to make a sandwich spread. A little S&P is helpful.

                    1. We cook it with some veg oil, onions and tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable stock, s&p, and towards the end of cooking we add some rice and let it sit for a while. Then eat it as a main course with a dollop of plain yogurt.
                      It is my most favourite vegetable; in spring summer time, I scour the Union sqr mkt every week to get my weekly fix :)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Nuray

                        I found it at the Arab market near my home, My questions are: 1) do you chop up the whole thing, leaves and stems, or remove the stems and only use the leaves, to cook in your recipe or 2) place it, whole in the pot?

                        1. re: nshinpo

                          i have only eaten the leaves. tasty, fresh, lemony in flavor. i would only use those, but i have never cooked it, so i'm not totally sure. maybe if the stalks are really baby ones those would be okay. i have had it before as an element of ravioli filling, yum.

                      2. At my former job, I watched in fascination as the vineyard foreman filled a couple of grocery bags with the wild purslane that grew in the olive grove. The next day he handed me a little taco with purslane stewed in a moderately spice red sauce. It was delicious.

                        1. Thank you all for your input. The preparations cited look quite interesting and I will keep this posting in mind once I find out how I like the taste of the stuff.

                          BTW, the purslane seeds have sprouted. They're in a pot with hardware cloth over it to keep the squirrels from digging in it.

                          1. Yes, it's excellent. I grow it and eat it. Traditionally we eat it with a sort of stew or it could be fried up with eggs.
                            I also learned recently that it's very healthy, I used to look for it everywhere and wondered if those wild growing weeds were in fact purslane and what I've been looking for, but it was too risky to try until I finally learned that that's what I've been looking for, so I started growing it.
                            There are some turkish recipes with yogurt too.

                            1. I've had it when I was growing up, gathered from the wild, or purchased from market stalls for little money. I cannot accept the idea of paying pretty penny for tiny bunches or two figure amounts per pound at North American farmers market. While the weed has been used as a staple for many old world cultures, it is perceived as a trendy food in North America and positioned as a premium green. I sometimes miss the thing, but I am not going to give in and let them charge that muchg. I am planning to check Latin American groceries to see if they are sold for fairer prices there. I wish I have a garden.

                              Turkish preparations are pretty simple. After cleaning out any possible seeds, they are usually blanched briefly, or kept raw if they are exceptionally tender. Then they are mixed with a dressing made with yogurt, garlic and olive oil.

                              Another preparation is made with again raw or blanched weeds, crushed walnuts, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, garlic and red pepper.

                              Lastly, you can braise them in olive oil with tomatoes, onions and just a little bit of rice. A classic "warm olive oil dish" preparation. Goes well with plain yogurt.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                You don't need a garden, a shallow big pot would be good, once you find a clean source it grows like a "weed" but you have to eat it early spring and summer because around this time it seeds and basically loses most of the leaves and has these little cups with tons of black seeds in them, which isn't too good.

                              2. Here in No. California it seems you only have to turn the soil and a week later, there it is.
                                I have used it in salads. I have made "ice box pickles" with it. Use any pickle recipe you keep in the fridge. Good on sandwiches. And I have made a Mexican dish with slow cooked pork shoulder, purslane and a serrano chili. When cooked it still has a slight lemony taste but it acts a little like okra does in slow cooked foods