Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad

Wild purslane salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeño chile, lemon juice and salt. Ensalada de Verdolaga.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Purslane

Purslane

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 ate 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

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Especially good served with grilled seafood.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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

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Links:

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

Showing 4 of 31 Comments

  • Virginia Mesko

    I think I have this growing in between the steps in my yard here in Illinois. Read all these recipes and want to try it. How can I be sure it’s the right thing?

  • Jenni Garcia

    I work in a Hispanic store and most people use it for costillas de Puerco en salsa verde con verdolagas, cebollas rebanadas, y cuadritos de papa. ( pork baby back ribs in green salsa, purslane, sliced onions, and cubed potatoes.) The other ways are in eggs and in soups. I adores the pork recipe and make it frequently. Serve it with divorced rice topped with halved boiled eggs and yellow tortillas.

  • Polly Mac

    I have my own salad recipe similar to this: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and purslane soaking in vinegar & italian dressing mix chilled in the fridge. Yummy yummy and very refreshing, especially in the hot summer!

  • Nancy Yturralde

    I’m glad to see you can cut up and use the stalks along with the leaves in a salad. It takes entirely too long to collect a 1/2 cup or cup of just the leaves.

  • Teresa Schurter

    I grew up eating this as a kid, I’m not sure of the Greek spelling, but phonetically it’s called Andrakla. This will be the first year I’m going to try it steamed. We always cleared a space in our garden in Illinois to let it grow so we could make salad with it after the spring greens were done. We just mixed it with olive oil, lemon juice (fresh or bottled) and fresh tomatoes, green onion, salt, pepper & oregano. We’d eat it with fresh bread & Feta cheese – Yummy!
    I hadn’t had any in years because we moved to Kansas & it’s pretty rare down here. One summer I found some in my hubbies aunt’s garden in Oklahoma while we were down there visiting. The whole crowd at the reunion thought I was nuts for running out in the rain to gather all there was in her little flower bed. I couldn’t get any of those cattle ranchers to eat it though. I lost my patch that I grew from those seeds.
    it was years before I found some in the cracks of a sidewalk at a local hospital. I planted those seeds. Waited a year, harvested the seeds & planted them again, so I wouldn’t get all the chemicals the groundskeeper sprays out there. I can’t garden anymore, but I grow them around the base of my patio tomatoes.
    Ten years later they still keep coming back from the original seeds!
    Best bouquet I ever got to bring home from the hospital :)

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