I have seen the occasional recipe that called for purslane over the years, but was never inclined to try any. Quite honestly, I wasn’t very familiar with what it was. But I have begun growing it on my front and back patios in huge pots. It is so hardy and has such lovely blooms! I decided I was going to finally taste it today. The leaves, stems are edible. Even those pretty blooms in my pic are edible! To me, the flavor of all three parts of the plant I would liken to a lemony bib lettuce. Purslane is powerhouse of nutrition: http://www.naturalhealth-solutions.net/healthy-eating/powerhouse-of-nutrition-purslane.
To harvest purslane, you can just pinch off individual stems from the mother plant, grab the end of the stem with one hand, and in one quick motion with your other hand’s thumb and index finger, strip the leaves off the stems like you would strip rosemary leaves off the stems. Place the leaves (and blooms,, if using) into a colander or sieve. Rinse under cold water to remove any dirt or insects hiding there. Purslane wilts fast, so wait and prepare your salad right before serving. This is what edible purslane looks like growing:
CAUTION: If you find and gather wild purslane, be sure to snap the stem. If it oozes a white, milky-looking substance, BEWARE! What you have found IS NOT edible purslane!! The plant that oozes the white milky substance when pinched is an inedible impersonator known as spurge that just happens to look like purslane! If eaten by mistake, spurge will make you very sick!
The inspiration for this recipe is a Middle Eastern salad recipe known as Fattoush, which has toasted pita bread pieces in it. Well, I decided to just omit the bread because I don’t need to be eating bread in my salads. Never much liked croutons or bread sticks with salad anyway, so that wasn’t a problem for me.
1 c. purslane shoots and leaves, stripped off stems (I didn’t use stems except tips of stems and small offshoots)
2 c. romaine lettuce, broken into pieces
1/4 c. fresh mint, coarsely chopped
½ c. cucumber, peeled and diced
6 grape tomatoes (I cut mine into halves)
½ oz. red onion, slivered as thinly as possible
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. sumac (optional but traditional in Fattoush)
Dash each salt and black pepper
DIRECTIONS: Harvest the purslane leaves and rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper toweling. Add the torn lettuce, mint, cucumbers, red onion, tomatoes and salt/pepper. In a small dish mix the measure out and stir the oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic and sumac. Drizzle over the salad greens and toss. Serve at once.
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 3 servings, each contains:
9 g fat
4.66 g carbs, 1.43 g fiber, 3.23 g NET CARBS
1.1 g protein
61 mg sodium
258 mg potassium
16% RDA Vitamin A, 25% C, 10% E, 16% iron, 11% manganese