So I guess you could say I’m on this kick of trying green things I’ve never heard of (see fiddlehead ferns). Maybe it’s some post-graduation void I’m trying to fill, some thirst for adventure that I’m finding hard to satisfy within this town that is home, yes, but oh so familiar. Who knows why, but last week I took home another strange plant from the Co-Op produce aisle.
Purslane. No, I’m not mispronouncing parsley. Or saying “porcelain” in some horribly nasal Midwest accent. Purslane is a plant in the succulent family (as in cacti — crazy, right?) with small, smooth, paddle-shaped leaves and a reddish stem. It has a mild taste. Fresh. Just crunchy enough. And just interesting enough to not overwhelm but complement a chopped salad of simple but loveable veggies.
Gorgeous, right? Here’s the part you won’t believe: in the U.S., we consider this delicate green lovely a weed. How we got this idea into our minds, I’m not sure, but we seem to be largely alone in our delusion. This plant is put to tasty culinary use across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Mexico. Time for America to get its purslane act together.
And here’s the other part you won’t believe: purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. Omega-3: that much sought after, super essential, super healthful star of foods like fish and walnuts. Here we’ve got this delicious veggie bursting with the stuff and we continue to call it a weed! Tsk tsk. Read on to help save purslane’s tarnished American reputation.
chickpea & purslane salad
1 bunch of purslane, chopped
1 can chickpeas
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
Okay, this salad is super simple. Start by chopping everything. I liked to keep things nice and small and uniform.
Drain your chickpeas and combine in a large bowl with chopped veggies. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. And that’s all. And it’s fresh. And totally tasty. Spot some purslane at the market or in the store? Make sure you grab some. You won’t regret it!