Purslane Salad

June 21st, 2006

Purslane Salad

If you see a purslane growing in your backyard and you root it to toss that succulent-leaf vegetable away, think again. What is considered as a weed here is actually a tasty summer green very common in eastern Mediterranean region.

Once it is introduced to your garden, it may be hard to get rid of it. But, why bother? Every time you “weed” you can make this tasty salad? If you need more convincing, let’s look at a web article where they talk about the health benefits of purslane:


Not only does purslane have leaves in Omega-3 fatty acid, but it also has stems high in vitamin C. Omega-3 fatty acids are instrumental in regulating our metabolism. Purslane contains one of the highest known concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids—five times the concentration in spinach.

OK, I assume now you are sold on this green. ;)

I had to introduce it to our backyard as I was not lucky enough to have them growing by themselves. Thanks to a friend who has sent the seeds, now I have them growing all over the yard. They like rich soil, plenty of sunshine and can withstand drought.

This salad also uses another unusual ingredient: sumac. Again, unusual for non-Middle Easterns. To my surprise sumac is known to be poisonous in the U.S. whereas we seem to not get enough of it in Turkey. Sure enough they are different varieties, so do not go out to field to collect some but go to a nearest Middle Eastern store to buy a little package. It is sold as a coarse powder in dark red color. We will be using it in this recipe to give sour taste to the salad.

Now the recipe (here I will be using a cup measure, just to give a better estimates but when measuring make sure to fill the cup loosely)

  • 1.5 – 2 cups purslane leaves (if tender, not only used the leaves, but also the thin stems)

  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly (less than a cup)

  • 1 Tbs sumac

  • 1/2 Tbs salt

  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut in cubes to make about 1 cup

  • 4 – 5 inches cucumber, cut in cubes (may want to discard the seeds if they are huge)

  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Start by cleaning the purslane by discarding the rouind, pointy bits that might be still on the stem which is full of seeds, cut the stem in an inch long. Cut the tomato and cucumber in small cubes. Cut the onion in thin slices and mix with sumac & salt, using your hands squeeze those 3 ingredients together to release some juice of the onion. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and your salad is ready!


26 Responses to “Purslane Salad”

  1. sam Says:

    they sell purslane in our local farmers market. Last year a made it into a salad using very slow roasted tomatoes. Oh that I could pull it free from my back garden, but I only have a deck…

  2. Bob Says:

    Just a note on sumac – there are actually several different types in the US. All are species of the genus Rhus. Staghorn sumac is fairly common in many areas and the seed heads were used to make a drink like lemonade. Still the Turkish/middle eastern one is much better, and the one you want to use.

    The problem one is poison sumac, with white berries. (Poison ivy and poison oak are also Rhus species). For those lucky people in Europe who don’t have these plants and haven’t experienced it, just touching the plants causes terrible itching and blisters. My mother did, on a bet (and a healthy dose of silliness) eat some when she was about 10 years old. Landed her in the hospital for a week… Definitely something to stay far, far away from!

  3. Dilek... Says:

    Fethiye, I am looking for purslane seeds for a while, but in vain. Do you know any place where I can purchase them? Thanks:)

  4. Erik Says:

    I enjoy purslane in a very simple salad: Just add crushed/grated fresh garlic, red wine vinegar (not the whimpy apple cider one), and salt to taste… I do not even bother adding oil.

    I am sure this one with sumac must be delicious, as well. I will definitely try it.

  5. fethiye Says:

    Sam, I found your recipe—thanks for the idea!

    Bob, you helped me a lot! Thanks for giving the botanical name for sumac. Now I am sure what I used to see around Milwaukee was the edible sumac! I can identify the plant (have seen it in Mersin, TR) but was not sure which one is the posinous one—for all I knew, they looked the same. Now I know… :)

    Dilek, you can actually purchase them from Seeds of Change, but will be happy to send you some.

    Erik, my cousin has been trying to convince me to make that version of purslane salad, too. But my love for vinegar does not go beyond purchasing it for washing the greens ;) I hope you guys can get some purslane to try both recipes.

  6. Dilek... Says:

    Thanks Fethiye. I first read your english post, and I only realized that you gave some websites to purchase seeds online in the Turkish version of the post… after leaving my comment. I already ordered some purslane seeds from Seeds of change. Looking forward to receive them… and I guess I won’t wait until next spring to plant them! Thanks again.

  7. Erik Says:

    Regarding growing purslane in your garden/back yard… It is a decision you make almost for life. My parents planted purslane the first year they moved to their summer house about 13 years ago. (They love the vinegar-garlic purslane salad as well as the “olive-oily” version, cooked with sauteed onion and garlic, further cooked with a spoonful of rice until tender) I was amazed at the amount they harvested the first year from a 5 sq. yard area, which was not less than two pounds a day. I visited them 2 weeks ago… They already gave up putting aside space for purslane, but you find them underneath the rose bushes, in the lawn, in the flower beds, and especially next to marigolds. With a quick stroll in the garden, we had enough to make huge bowl of salad. BTW, they have never planted any seeds after the first year.

    Moral of the story: If you really love purslane, go ahead, plant it… After that, you are not allowed to get tired of them.

  8. Isil Says:

    I am craving for purslane these days. They are not available in Algeria.Luckily there are only 2 weeks to go, then I’ll be at home in Turkey and will be eating tons of them ;) I never added sumac to this salad, thanks for the tip.

  9. john Says:

    Dear everybody:

    Purslane Salad is very interesting.

    Please let me know if I am wrong.
    purslane is raw edible; no need to cook or heat.
    purslane contains no poison.

    If so, I will eat it raw almost every week.

    Thank you very much. Please reply.
    Thank you! Sincerely john

  10. fethiye Says:

    Dilek, you may want to wait until next spring for a better weather condition for the seeds to germinate. Maybe try some this year and leave the rest for next?

    Erik, you are absolutely right: a life time commitment with purslane. But, I am not complaining—at least not this year!

    Isil, I’d have thought they have it there! Tulin also mentioned that it is not well known in Greece either, which surprised me.

    John, no need to cook purslane for this salad. I hope you’ll enjoy the salad.

  11. Brad Saunders Says:

    Purslane seeds are available from Jonny’s Seeds in Maine.


  12. Farid Zadi Says:

    Isil, purslane does grow in Algeria.

  13. fethiye Says:

    Thanks for the link Brad!

    Farid, it might be one of those regional things in Algeria? Even though I live in Northern California and never saw purslane sold in stores, a friend of mine in the Bay Area told me he can get it for 99c a bunch there!

  14. Farid Says:

    Certainly it can be a regional thing, since a huge part of Algeria is the sahara and sahel.

    But purslane grows like a weed in the bled (countryside) in Algeria. We eat the same way as you prepared. Also with other greens and herbs for a fresh mixed salad.

    You might want to look in the Mexican markets in your area. They call it verdolagas. My wife just bought some for 99 cents for three bunches.

  15. Yorker Jenny Says:

    I’m shocked that I have some wild purslane in my back yard in New York I actually planted some, then I saw some different looking purslanes. I thought my seeds mixed. Then my neighbor said pull them out they are weed. I have a lot I want to eat them to but I want to make sure they are not poisining. So when I’m searching on the net I saw this web site, too.

    Anyway, I have a receipe which I learned from a friend.
    some cleaned chopped purslane
    1 chopped onion
    some ground beef
    2 tomatos or some tomato paste
    little bit rice
    some salt
    sunflower oil
    some water

    Wash purslane with water and some vineger. It helps to get rid of soil, then chopped.

    In one pan, add chopped onion, grond beef and oil. Cook them about 5 min with medium heat, then add purslane, water, tomato, salt, rice. When rice are done, it’s done. bon apetite :-))

  16. fethiye Says:

    Farid, there is no Mexican market within an easy reach for me. That is kind of strange, considering there are so many Mexican families living here. But again, since I have them growing in my backyard, I am set for some time now ;)

    Jenny, thanks for sharing the recipe – that reminds me of the dish that is also very common in Turkey! One more addition to the ingredients would be the pepper paste, which adds a lot of flavor. One can find the pepper paste in local Middle Eastern stores or online Turkish stores.

  17. LUDY Says:

    This salad look so delicious !

    Please let me know where can I get some purslane leaves and sumac powder here in Edmonton, Canada. Thanks.

  18. Bruce Says:

    Hi there
    Great site .
    I think I have spotted some purslane growing around the dunes on Sydney’s Northern beaches ( Australia) in amongst a bunch of other environmental weeds. I need to identify it a little more precisely. are there any dangeroyus plants that resemble purslane that we should be looking out for? Does anybody know???

  19. Yasmin Says:

    I think purslane is what we call rijla in my part of the world. It’s very tasty fresh in a salad and cooked in a tomato sauce with split small garbanzo beans and chunks of lamb or beef. The purslane is added last minute and cooked until it just changes color and then served over rice or eaten with bread.

  20. Robin Franke Says:

    In northern New Mexico (Taos and Santa Fe areas), purslane is known as Verdolaga and is a traditional food of the native inhabitants. The Spanish conquistadores brought their favorite version from Spain and it quickly replaced the native north American version. You can find it growing in wet areas near rivers or in farmers fields. It is very succulent and requires plenty of water.

    Dried purslane is fed to chickens to produce eggs high in Omega 3.

    You can harvest it and freeze it to enjoy in winter. Blanch it in boiling water for 30 seconds, then freeze it.

    Try preparing it this way: Fry it in a little bacon grease with crushed red pepper, then mix it in with your pinto beans for a spicy side dish.

  21. BillinDetroit Says:

    I am extremely surprised to find that this ‘weed’ that I have battled all of my life belongs on the table! Surprised and pleased!

    I am printing the two recipes above. It would be helpful if you would provide a ‘printer safe’ CSS for such pages. I’m not whining, but it is convenient.

  22. Helen Gunderson Says:

    Does anyone have suggestions for freezing purslane? Should I simply wash, blanch, rinse, put in ice water, rinse again, put in an air tight bag, then into the freezer? And do I use both the stems and the leaves?

    There is lot’s of it growing freely and heartily in my yard here in central Iowa.

  23. Sandie Says:

    Purslane cannot be frozen for use later in salad as a fresh green. For use later cooked, blanch for 2 minutes, cool in ice water, drain well and freeze.
    To use in soups, stews, or as a cooked green, do not thaw, just add directly to your cookpot just a few minutes before the rest of your dish is done.

  24. Lindsay Says:

    Has anyone tried to dehydrate or pickle purslane?

  25. pattypan Says:

    thanks for the freezing info. i am dehydrating purslane right now. and i’ve added it to ratatouille, cooked it and frozen it. i don’t know how that will turn out. it’s very nutritious. check it out on the uconn ipm website. someone there studied it’s nutritional value under different growing conditions. it was a weed in my garden, now it’s a living mulch. eat free!

  26. Malcolm Says:

    Hello, I live in south Australia and have been looking for Purslane seed’s for quite a while now with no luck. Can some one give me a mail order address or name of a place that sell’s in Adelaide. thank you.

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