Wild Purslane Salad
with Olive Oil
and Lemon Dressing
I have lots of wonderful wild purslane growing in my garden, and apart from adding it to salads it is extremely useful in keeping the weeds down. Although purslane is rarely seen on our own tables today this pretty herb has a long and interesting history. English medieval cooks and gardeners loved purslane; in fact, it is often known as the “Elizabethan Salad Herb” in the UK as it was extremely popular as a form of greenery during that era. I absolutely love it in salads and remember eating it in Cyprus when I lived there – my Turkish Cypriot friends picked it from wasteland where the local Turkish word is Semizotu. The weather has been unseasonably warm lately, and on my return to France I noticed that my purslane was still going strong, very strong in fact, it had spread a few metres more and my newly planted sage plant is in danger of being taken over.
It is thought that the genus name, Portulaca, is from the Latin porto and laca meaning ‘milk carrier’ with reference to its milky sap. The species name oleracea is Latin and means ‘potherb’. Native to Persia and India, it was introduced into Europe by Arabs in the 15th century as a salad herb. Purslane makes an excellent edible ground cover and in many countries it is cultivated as a vegetable, although many people unknowingly consider it a weed. It was once believed to offer protection from evil spirits ~ and whether it does ward off the “evil ones” or not, doesn’t alter the fact that it is packed with vitamins.
Purslane is very nutritious and is rich in Vitamin C and alpha linolenic acid (one of the Omega-3 fatty acids) which the body converts into the essential fatty acids known as EPA: almost 3 percent of purslane by weight consists of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-carotene and lutein. Not only is it easy to grow purslane in your home garden, it is hard to keep it from overrunning other plants, as I discovered to my cost. When the plants are young they make a wonderful salad, and I love it when served with a freshly made omelette, which is how I served it today…….with the late November temperatures reaching a balmy (and I DO mean balmy in both senses), 19 degrees Centigrade!
So here is my late winter salad recipe for purslane; the seeds can easily be obtained from most leading seed catalogues as well as local garden centres; there are two types, summer or winter purslane, mine is supposed to be the summer variety, but with such warm November weather it is still running rampant in my herb garden!
Wild Purslane Salad
with Olive Oil
and Lemon Dressing
- Large bunch of fresh purslane
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 tomato, finely diced
1 lemon, juice of4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil1/4 teaspoon saltfreshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together – I put mine in a jam jar and shake it up! Adjust seasonings to personal taste.
Thoroughly rinse the purslane and remove the small fleshy leaves in clusters (the stems are easily broken with your finger and thumbnail). Rinse the purslane and pat dry. Place the purslane on an attractive serving plate or in a salad bowl and add the diced onion and tomato; gently mix everything together. (Remove any roots that may still be attached)
Pour over the dressing and gently mix it all together, so that all the leaves are coated as well as the diced onions and tomatoes.
Serve alongside grilled meat or fish, cheese, omelettes, charcuterie or just as a light salad lunch with artisan rustic bread.
That’s all for healthy Tuesday ~ I will be back later with photos and notes from the recent Let’s Make Christmas event…..which, was fabulous!
A Trifle Rushed says
19 degrees! Goodness, how wonderful, winter has really started in London, you got away in time. On Sunday there was a deep fog that didn't clear all day! And yesterday a very definate nip in the air.
Your salad looks so delightfully refreshing, beautiful colours. Thank you for introducing me to a new herb.
Looks delicious as always Karen. I had never heard of this herb. You learn something new every day! xxoo
Oh how lucky you are to be back in France missing this chilly, misty, damp weather!
I would love to be able to grow some purslane too, so will look into trying to get some…….
Enjoy the warmth xx
I've never heard of this herb before, or it's use in salads. It does look pretty on the plate and your photo of the omelette looks gorgeous Karen.
Helene Dsouza says
I think so I had seen purslane before. I enjoyed your introduction to purslane and your salad. great post!
Cathy at Wives with Knives says
I've learned something new and very interesting today. Thanks, Karen, for introducing me to this nutritious green. I'm sure I've never seen it at the farmer's market, but it's often easy to pass over something that looks like other greens. It's awfully pretty on the plate and makes a lovely side for your omelet. I hope to try it sometime soon.
I'm going to have a search for this in my garden. I'm still growing salad leaves on my windowsill and eating nasturtiums from outside but hadn't thought of edible weeds at this time of year.
Thanks for the inspiration.
Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says
Beautiful, beautiful pictures Karen! and delicious recipes – I realize now that I have purslane in the garden and thought it was a weed! thanks so much 🙂
Is this you getting back on the healthy food after the take-away culture you experienced hanging with the girls in London? Looks lovely and fresh and it looks like you still have some sunny days in France.
Baking Addict says
This looks healthy and delicious indeed. The pics look fab!
Hi Karen, I tried growing Purslane in the uk, but it only did ok in the pots but was eaten by something before it got nice and thick. My Armenian grandmother makes a lovely salad with them after blanching them slightly, and adding vinegar and oil and garlic dressing. I wish it would grow wild in my garden…:)