Purslane Recipes: 45 Things To Do With Fresh Purslane

Purslane Recipes

Have you ever cooked with purslane, or Portulaca oleracea as it is known to botanists? It is a succulent plant whose edible, delicious leaves are crunchy and slightly mucilaginous, with a tangy lemony and peppery flavor.

It is generally harvested from early June till the end of summer, and can either be foraged or purchased, usually from a farmers market or through a CSA share. The wild variety, which is actually considered a weed by many gardeners, is rampant and has pinkish stems (see picture above), while cultivated varieties tend to grow vertically and display greenish stems.

Purslane has been consumed since ancient times, and because it grows easily in hot and not too dry climates, it is represented in many cuisines of the world, from Greece to Mexico, and from Turkey to India by way of South Africa. (Here’s a handy list of its aliases in different languages.)

It is a bit of a nutritional powerhouse, offering remarkable amounts of minerals (most notably calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (A, B, C), and antioxydants. It is thought to be an important component of the Cretan high-life-expectancy diet, and Michael Pollan has called it one of the two most nutritious plants on the planet in his In Defense of Food manifesto (the other is lamb’s quarters if you want to hunt for that too).

Although the stems are edible when still young (and can be pickled), cooks usually keep only the leaves and thin, spindly stems at the top, which are simply plucked from the central stem. The process is slow-going, but rewarding in the end. Because purslane grows so close to the earth, and especially if it is foraged*, it should be rinsed very well, in several baths of fresh water (I usually do three), with a bit of vinegar.

And once you have your bowlful of squeaky clean and vibrant little leaves, what do you do with them? Purslane is mostly eaten raw, but can also be cooked for a change of pace. I’ve gathered 45 purslane recipes for you — and hope you’ll add your own favorites in the comments section!

* Some people report that they find it growing from sidewalk cracks or in city parks, but I wouldn’t recommend foraging it from there.

Best Pairings for Purslane Recipes

– Purslane + cucumber
– Purslane + tomato
– Purslane + avocado
– Purslane + nuts (esp. almonds and walnuts)
– Purslane + garlic
– Purslane + lemon
– Purslane + vinegar
– Purslane + marjoram
– Purslane + chili pepper
– Purslane + eggs
– Purslane + cream
– Purslane + fresh cheese (esp. feta)
– Purslane + hard cheese (esp. parmesan)
– Purslane + fish
– Purslane + shellfish
– Purslane + duck
– Purslane + lamb
– Purslane + legumes (esp. black beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
– Purslane + stone fruits (esp. peaches, nectarines, and plums)

Purslane in salads

– Purslane salad with sesame oil, rice vinegar, gomasio, and strips of nori
– Purslane and potato salad with capers or anchovies
– Purslane salad with chunks of peaches and fresh goat cheese, or with a peach dressing
Fattouche salad with toasted chips of pita bread
– Purslane salad with a white dressing (i.e. a classic vinaigrette with cream or buttermilk in place of oil)
– Purslane salad with black barley and watermelon
– Purslane salad with diced red bell peppers, lemon juice, and olive oil (the vitamin C in the bell peppers and lemon juice helps with the iron absorbency)
– Purslane salad with grilled corn and a creamy avocado dressing
– Purslane salad with walnuts, crispy bacon, and finely diced red onion
– Purslane salad with quinoa, peas, and radishes
– Purslane salad with diced tomatoes and cucumbers in a pomegranate molasses dressing
– Purslane salad with fregola sarda or Israeli couscous
– Purslane salad with chickpeas and a zaatar dressing
– Purslane salad with walnuts, sumac, and “grated” tomatoes

Purslane with meat

– Serve as a side salad with duck magret
Stew with pork in a tomatillo sauce, Mexican-style (puerco con verdolagas)
– Stew with lamb and lentils

Purslane with fish

– Use purslane in a stuffing for baked fish
– Process purslane with a little cream or yogurt and make a green sauce to drizzle over fish
– Serve as a side salad with wild salmon, lobster, or crab

Purslane soups

– No-cook cucumber and purslane soup
– Portuguese purslane soup with potatoes
– Purslane and almond soup, adapted from this green bean and almond soup

Cooked purslane

– A Moroccan-style cooked salad
– Purslane spanakopita
– Purslane borek
Sauté briefly (2-5 min) in olive oil
Steam briefly (2-5 min) and dress with olive oil and lemon juice
– Make tempura with the tender tops
– Add to dal

Purslane in beverages

– Make green smoothies (purslane will make them creamier) with blueberries, kiwis, peaches, or tropical fruit (it’s okay to freeze purslane for use in smoothies)
– Make a cucumber and purslane slushie
– Make tea with the leaves; it is said to help ease headaches, bring down a fever, soothe sore throats, and combat inflammation.

Other purslane uses

Pickled purslane
Purslane vinegar
– Purslane pesto
– Purslane tzatziki (use purslane instead of, or in addition to the cucumber)
– Add to scrambled eggs and omelets
– Make green pancakes (recipe from my book!)
– Toss with pasta as in this pasta with tetragon
– Sprinkle over pizza just before serving
– Use as a garnish for gazpacho, chilled zucchini soup, or asparagus soup
– Add to sandwiches for crunch; it would be great in a lobster roll or an ABLT.
– Add to salsa and salsa verde
– And if you ever tire of it, feed it to your chickens! Their eggs will be richer in omega-3 fatty acids.

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  • thanks for this list. it’s certainly a common plant/weed in our community garden…

  • brassfrog

    WOW! When I think of the hundreds of pounds of the stuff I ripped up from my garden and just threw it in the composter… :) (Over the course of 25 years. )

    • Ah well, at least it got composted, not thrown out! :)

  • Purslane is one of my favorite herbs! I didn’t know it has that many uses! Thanks for including my borek in your list! I’d like to add one more use if it’s ok. Purslane is great with strained(greek) yogurt too. We mix them together and add mashed garlic, it’s a very tasty mezze in Turkish cuisine!

    • Thank you Zerrin! It sounds a bit like Greek tzatziki. What’s the name of this mezze in Turkish?

  • thank you so much for this. I love salads with raw purslane, even though my mother turns her nose up at it, claiming its a weed and inedible! I’m looking forward to using this list as proof that she’s incorrect :)

    • Is she the kind of person that may be swayed by the nutrition argument? Or perhaps you can just call it pourpier and pretend it’s another plant altogether? :)

  • Thanks for these ideas–I’m going to have to start taking a closer look at some of our local weed patches now!

    • Definitely — do let me know what you find!

  • Wow! Good to know!!

  • sillygirl

    Wow – I thought I was the only one getting excited by purslane – finally found some growing in a neighbor’s yard after getting blank stares at the garden store plus I had to convince my husband that is was a good thing to eat and now I’m seeing it written about everywhere. Hooray – it is so nutritious!!!

  • For years I treated these babies as weed ,I didn’t know they are edible at all !!!
    Thank you

  • I love using this. I grows everywhere. It has a tangy lemonish taste that works so well in salads!

  • I am vegetarian and it’s always hard to make food more ‘interesting’, so thank you for making me aware of this herb – I’ll try to remember it when I go to my organic store :)

    Llyane

    • I agree — this kind of discovery does a lot to shake things up! I hope you find and enjoy it.

  • Josephine M. Lian

    We make this as a vegetarian dish:

    Saute 1 onion and garlic for a few min, then add purslane with diced apple (I use any kind), stew until soft, this is a middle eastern dish.

    • That sounds wonderful! The apple sounds like an especially successful pairing.

  • Filiz

    Hi Clothilde, partial Turk here, but wholehearted fan of purslane. As far as I know, that meze in Turkish is just yogurtlu semizotu (‘yogurt-y purslane’) though I may be wrong…

  • Catherine

    I’m inspired! I bought a big bunch at the farmer’s market for $1.50 and wilted it in a pan with low-acid heirloom tomatoes and a touch of wine. I had it alongside seared tilapia, and it was delicious!

    • I’m so glad, Catherine, and your dinner sounds lovely indeed.

  • vgus89

    I grew up eating purslane in Mexico, never knew it had so many health benefits.

    • It must be fun to find out years after the fact!

  • Dina

    now I just have to find it in the Canadian tundra in order to discover it…. :) Thank you for the great information and thank you for sending me on a treasure hunt! :)

  • Aisha Belhadi

    One more to add to the list : squeeze a bit of lemon juice on a tender stalk and plop it on your toddler’s dinner plate. It definitely made dinner quite fun today!

  • Technus

    I used to think of this plant as an annoying weed in my garden, but then I found out I could eat them, so I picked some from my garden today and tried it and it actually tastes pretty good. I’m going to saute some tonight for dinner.

    • A world of culinary wonders has just revealed itself — lucky you! :)

  • Maria @ www.Mariasnotes.ca

    I will never weed this out of my garden again!

  • Mary Brady

    Didn’t realize that you could cook it, have been drinking it in herbal tea’s for years to keep it from taking over the garden. pare it with dandelion root and parsley or lemon balm and sometimes mint for a change in herbal tea and does help with keeping arthritis at bay.

  • Carrie Channing

    How to forage for healthy food is a lost skill we need to learn. Thank you. :)

  • edward

    Pigs weed, (Thepe ea likolobe, that is how is called in Lesotho) i never thought of it being so good as it is being praised in many articles from which I read about it…..

  • Mo

    Does it grow in Scotland??

    • I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t! And there’s a restaurant in Edinburgh named Purslane. ^^

  • nochipforme

    Thanks for the great tips! I just began eating “weeds” a little over a year ago. What wonderful foods and medicines we have growing everywhere! It grieves me to see so ,many people spraying pesticides, herbicides and chemicals to attain a lush green lawn, yet they kill the things that are the most beneficial to their health…Why? It’s the way they have been programmed. It’s an “image” thing.

    “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” – God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth

    • Indeed, we’d be better off if we knew the difference between “real” weeds and “perceived” weeds!

  • sandra may

    do you dry the leaves before you make the tea?

  • brooklynn1

    thanks. But why list “Israeli Couscous” and not Moroccan couscous, where the Moroccan Jews in Israel got it? And why affix a national label at all?

    • Israeli couscous is just the name commonly used for a type of couscous that comes in big pearls, about 4mm across, not the fine grain semolina typically associated with Moroccan couscous. At a shop near me it’s labeled as Palestinian because they make it too! It’s also equivalent to fregola sarda, a tiny pasta shape from Sardinia.

      • Lynn Davis

        This is the explanation I’ve heard (from Wikipedia):
        Ptitim was invented during the austerity period in Israel (from 1949 to 1959). Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, asked Eugen Proper, one of the founders of the Osem food company, to quickly devise a wheat-based substitute to rice. Consequently, it was nicknamed “Ben-Gurion’s rice” by the people. The company took up the challenge and developed ptitim, which is made of hard wheat flour and toasted in an oven. The product was instantly a success, after which ptitim made in the shape of small, dense balls (which the company termed “couscous”) was added to the original rice-shaped ptitim.

        • So interesting, Lynn, thank you for researching this!

        • Emily Jane Bernstein

          Interesting, thank you.

  • Myracle Kai

    Thanks so much. Im eating it raw as i type….What are the benefits of it raw???

  • Mark

    Have this plant all over my yard gonna have to try it !!!

  • Sheila Suddeth

    I have this growing all over my yard . I thought it was just weeds . Been pulling out & throwing away . I had no idea. Wow.

  • Tom van der Paardt

    I have a lot of purslane growing in my yard. What is the best way to preserve it so I can have it over the winter?

    • I would freeze it for use in smoothies all winter long. You can also make pesto with it and freeze the pesto!

  • shakeitsugaree

    I’m very excited to go visit a spot i know its growing in the morning!!

  • Pat

    It’s all over my yard and I’ve been weeding it for years while carefully tending finicky herbs.Live and learn. Makes me wonder what else useful I’ve been throwing out.

  • Kevin Conway

    I used to pull this stuff up from the ground all the time when I was weeding as part of my duties for a museum I used to work at, never thought it was a edible herb maybe it thought if i grow at a museum I would be preserved.

  • Dennis Wright

    I have always just thrown it out I had no idea that it was edible it grows in proximity to hemlock so I assumed both were probably toxic but it turns out that only one is I must be careful to separate them.

    • Indeed! I hope you make delicious things with your purslane, Dennis.

      • Dennis Wright

        Having been involved in three restaurants and four hotels I am disappointed that I am only finding out about this now that I am retired. I am sure I could have done some great stuff while I was a working chef.

        • Ah well. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second best time is now! :)

  • Mary

    Is there anything that looks like puslane that I might eat thinking it’s purslane that would make me sick?

    • Sharon Smith

      Good question, I was thinking the same thing. I plan on looking for it tomorrow around my sidewalks and flower beds. I have something growing there that looks like wild Jade to me.

    • crystalinCT

      Spurge. To the novice eye it has a similar look with lobed leaves along the stem and it tends to grow in a mat on the ground. Apparently extremely toxic. But once you’ve seen them side-by-side you will realize they are NOT similar and will not confuse them. The spurge is certainly not succulent and does not give that impression. It’s leaves are very small, thin, and far more regular than purslane, and the stems are very fine and far more leafy than purslane.

    • nochipforme

      The easiest way for the novical eye to identify Spurge from Purslane is that when you break Spurge, it has a white latex/milky substance that immediately flows from the breach. Do not eat Spurge.

      • Thank you so much for the tip!

        • nochipforme

          You are soo welcome. I noticed that you really do put forth the effort to reply to a lot of posts. That is very thoughtful of you. With all of your articles and recipes, I can imagine that takes a lot of time. Your site seems to be a popular one. It might be because you have such a pretty face and pleasant personality. It makes a world of a difference. That might be considered flirting a little, but I live in Indiana, so it’s safe;) lol Thank you for doing a great job with your site. The internet would be a much better place if half of the people were as courteous and cordial as you are. And with such delicious ideas that open up the imagination. MMmmmm….MMmmmm… Thanx

          • Thank you for noticing! I do strive to respond to every comment and every email I get, and I cherish the conversations that stem from it. Interacting with like-minded readers is the number one reason I do what I do!

  • Anthony Lopez

    I stumbled across this page by accident. I Googled “rubbery type weed”, so that I could find out how get rid of these pesky weeds that have been growing in my backyard. I had no idea they were so nutritious, let alone even edible. And to think, I’ve thrown away so much of this stuff…..no more. I’ll start using it in salads and smoothies.

  • nochipforme

    Freshly chopped Purslane, red wine vinegar, peanut oil, salt, pepper and aged, sharp white cheddar. Probably one of the best salads I have ever had in my life. I think I’ll add hard boiled eggs next .

  • Mary

    Ok… I seem to have BOTH Spurge and Purslane – the difference is quite obvious. Too bad I killed most of the Puslane (and Spurge) by spraying it! I expect a big crop next year!

  • Mary

    Now I’m seeing the stuff everywhere! It was growing in the parking lot of a funeral home I went to yesterday. If it’s so common, why don’t more people know about it?

  • Mary

    Can I rescue what I have starting to grow back (after spraying… bad Mary) and grow in pots over the winter?

    • I’m sorry that I can’t help you much in the gardening department, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

  • Broward Nation

    its funny i look for this herb all around cause the only place i found it growing was my front yard my mother confirm them french name and them eating it in the island whats better its growing ( which seems to be after rainy days) so now i can cultivate it and grow it in my garden god is truly good

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