Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad

For the last few years my garden weeding routine has included the pulling up of a thick-stemmed ground cover plant with little yellow flowers that takes over the pathways around the garden beds. It’s pretty actually, but to the gardening books it’s considered a weed. What a lot of these books don’t tell you is that purslane, the “weed” in question, is being sold at farmers markets to chefs for $7 a pound. Not only is it edible, something like crunchy, not-as-spicy watercress, but it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and even Omega 3. In Mexico it is cultivated, between rows of corn in cornfields. Called “verdolaga” in Spanish, it is used in many dishes, in salads, or cooked with braised pork.

So, this year I decided to just let it grow, and my garden stepping stones are now surrounded by a blanket of green purslane, which so loves the room to spread it has happily crowded out the crab grass. I can make a salad in my hands with it, some Thai basil and Sun Gold tomatoes. The following purslane salad recipe comes from my Mexican friend Arturo Vargas, who chopped up the leaves (discarded the thick stems) and tossed them in with some cucumber, tomato, jalapeño, lemon juice, and salt. We at the salad for lunch alongside some quesadillas. Cool, crispy, and refreshing.


If you too are incorporating purslane into your cooking, please let us know in the comments how you are using it.

Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad Recipe

Especially good served with grilled seafood.



  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded, then chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 bunch purslane, thick stems removed, leaves chopped, resulting in about 1/2 cup chopped purslane
  • 1 minced seeded jalapeno chile pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl. Salt to taste.

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Chopped Middle Eastern Salad with Purslane from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
Purslane salad with yogurt from Almost Turkish
Chickpea salad with purslane and arugula from Kitchenography
Verdolaga from World Crops
Purslane, Tomato, Tomatillo Soup from Kitchenography
Pickled Purslane from 18th Century Cuisine

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Showing 4 of 39 Comments

  • Rene

    I was just visiting the states, and was really hankering for some good Mexican food, which is hard to come by here in Sweden. So my brother’s girlfriend, who hails from Mexico, made braised pork and verdolaga. She didn’t know the english word for it, but it was so delicious. it reminded me a little of spinach, but with a more velvety texture. Thanks! Now I can pass on the english translation.

  • Caroline C

    A local restaurant in my area was cited by the city for allowing ‘noxious’ weeds to grow over the limit the city allowed. The restaurant’s owner responded that he did not plant the purslane, but took advantage of its growth and harvested it for use in dishes at his restaurant.

    Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and the case was dismissed by a hearing officer! contains the hearing officers decision.

  • Bob Walasek

    I’ve been harvesting the purslane from my garden for a couple of years now – we usually just mix it with our salad greens. I also like putting it on a sandwich. I usually use the whole stalk, even the large ones – they are not tough and have a nice crunch and flavor!

  • Jennifer Hess

    I have yet to try it, but there’s a recipe in the current issue of Food and Wine for a chilled zucchini soup with purslane. I’ve spotted purslane at our local farmers’ market on occasion, so the next time it appears I plan to pick some up. I’ll be sure to get enough to make this lovely salad, too.

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