This week's recipe centers on a green that will be hard to find in your local markets, but may very well be growing all around you. Purslane (botanical name: Portulaca oleracea) grows like a weed in gardens, roadsides, landscaped areas, and other disturbed sites. Even though it may be hard to find in a market, we couldn't resist including it in one of our recipes, because it is tasty, nutritious, and a great medicinal plant. Among its many benefits: the treatment of acne and delivery of clearer skin.
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). If you are interested in foraging for this plant, we strongly recommend that you do some research first. With some basic guidelines, it is not difficult to identify.
Purslane has a mild lemony flavor and crunchy texture, similar to watercress, making it a perfect late summer green for a salad. According to Chinese medicine, purslane "clears heat, detoxifies, cools the blood, and eliminates dampness." I have personally used it to treat skin infections like acne and abscesses, as well as skin rashes, like acute eczema, and I have even found it helpful for treating warts. A Chinese medicine-related cautionary note: because purslane is considered "cold," (by Chinese medicine standards) individuals with chronic stomach issues and pregnant women should probably avoid this green.
Since this green may be new to many of our followers, we have made this recipe simple, focusing on pairing purslane with parsley and tomato. We hope you will give it a try to learn about a wild edible that has so many medicinal uses.
Purslane, Parsley and Tomato Salad with Lemon, Olive Oil and Sea Salt
Prep Time / Cook Time
5 minutes / 0 minutes
- 1 handful purslane (again, please research more before you source!)
- 1 handful flat leaf parsley
- 1 shallot (medium), thinly sliced
- 1 vine ripe tomato, medium/large, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
Pick the tender tops of the purslane and parsley and set aside. Cut thin slices of the shallot and create wedges of you tomato. Toss the purslane, parsley and shallots with the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, salt and pepper. Arrange on your plate with the tomato wedges and finish with a bit more olive oil and pepper. Enjoy!
The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Chinese Medicine, each grain, vegetable, meat, fruit, and spice has unique properties that can be harnessed to help us achieve and maintain balance in our bodies. Our recipes seek to incorporate some of the age-old principles of Chinese medicine into the culinary practices more familiar to the West.