purslane stew

Purslane Stew

I have this thing for weeds. I really like being able to eat them. I don’t know why. Maybe it appeals to my scrappy nature because they grow so easily that its truely like free food. Or maybe it appeals to my inner nutritionist because of all those extra antioxidents they carry to defend themselves. Or maybe it makes me feel like a pioneer in making do with what you have. But I like them. When I was my older sons age and in preschool our teacher would take us through her wilderness like backyard on exploritory walks and she would find the minors lettuce and let us eat it. Ever since then I never pass a grove of minors lettuce without picking some and enjoying it’s fresh taste.


So imagine my delight when I found out that our biggest weed bully, purslane, was edible. Purslane only comes out when the weather heats up and then it comes out with abundance, taking over every last inch that it can penetrate. Its one of the most common weeds in the world and I’ve heard that the one growing in our neck of the woods (or valley should I say) is called golden purslane. I like to eat it earlier in the spring when it’s taste is light and lemony. I find that as the plant matures it takes on a kind of soapy taste. It has high levels of iron and Omega 3s. And in Turkey they make a stew out of it. As soon as I read that recipe, I took our salad spinner basket (our favorite harvesting basket) and headed out to pick some. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of purslane and after picking a half basket full, I was only at half a pound. So you can really get rid of some weeds this way.
I washed it well followed the recipe, made the yogurt garlic sauce to go with, Scott poached a few eggs to go with and we had ourselves an incredible Sunday dinner. Really, it’s worth trying. And if you don’t have purslane where you live you can easily substitute spinach.

Purslane Stew Served with Yogurt and Garlic Sauce
from Classical Turkish Cooking

2 lbs. purslane
3 T. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1/4 lb. ground lamb or beef
1 tomato, chopped
1 c. stock or water
1/4 c. uncooked rice
salt & pepper

Heat butter in a large heavy pan and cook onions until lightly brown. Add meat and cook until it browns. Add tomato and cook for a minute longer. Then add purslane, cover the pot and let cook for about 10 minutes until the leave wilt. Stir in the stock or water, bring to a boil and add the rice. Season to your taste, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Serve with Yogurt Garlic Sauce (2 cups of plain yogurt mixed with 2 t. crushed garlic, salt and pepper mixed together).



  1. Claire says

    I recently purchased and planted Purslane (portulaca oleracea). There were two varieties with simple five petaled flowers at the nursery – one with yellow flowers, and the other with red flowers. Is the variety with red flowers also edible? Your response will be appreciated. Thank you.

  2. merlotmudpies says

    oh hooray! another weed-eating nut! i have been raving about purslane for a few weeks now and it’s so nice to see someone else rave about it, too! i literally had a purslane DREAM a week or two ago. i love the sound of this stew and will definitely give it a try. i have a recipe for purslane salad i posted from a NYT article, if you’re interested. it’s a family favorite now and one of my stand-bys. when i can’t get purslane in my garden, i just trot over to one of the other garders’ plots at our community garden and help myself. they love having someone else pull it up and i’m able to take all i want.

  3. says

    I just love purslane and would never willingly be without it. The green kind is what makes a pot of pinto beans so delicious and your lovely golden variety gives salads a wonderful crunch. I fact I have new photos of my AeroGrown indoor domesticated purslane on two of my blogs this week, one atop a salad about to be munched, and another next to a hydroponic fennel plant. I grow it right next to its cousin the edible Amaranth, which I suppose some people think is also a weed.

    My motto is “If it is edible it is not a weed” and btw, moss roses are said to be edible, but in my view they don’t taste all that good.

  4. says

    Another weedlover huzzah! You are brave to eat purslane, I have tried, but just cant get past that flavor. Too bad, because we have buckets and buckets of it growing in the gardenpath. I toss them in the coop and even our chickens will not eat them!

    I highly recommend Roger Phillips book on wild food
    you can find it used on alibris inexpensively.

    have you tried establishing a patch of wild food in a corner of your garden? I have some miners lettuce and nettles. I need to stop eating them so they can set seed and reproduce…my dream is to have a stall at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market selling wild food: nettles in viniagrette, elderflower champagne, watercress soup, pickled chanterelle, roasted cattail tubers…

    I just love your writing, and what a wonderful environment for your boys to grow up in!

    • Gail Feddern says

      One of Euell Gibbons’ books has a wonderful recipe for purslane.
      Rinse purslane and shake off excess water. In a heavy pan, fry up a strip of bacon or two. Remove bacon and set aside. Saute the purslane in the pan with about a tsp. or Tbs. of vinegar and a few sprinkles of hot sauce, until wilted. Cover and cook on low until it’s done, about 7 minutes. Serve with bacon crumbled up on top as a garnish. Delicious! Purslane is also good raw as a salad.

      I believe all kinds of purslane, including the kinds cultured as flowers, are edible.

  5. says

    Finally tried this tonight and loved it! Funny, I had been eyeing the purslane for weeks now and letting it grow until I knew I had enough to make this haha! Instead of weeding I was harvesting. Had to come search for the recipe you used. Thanks!


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