Purslane: Eating Weeds

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Verdolaga is the name of a winter green I found at a stall in the produce terminal on Airline. At first, I thought it was watercress. Since I had never eaten verdolaga before, I bought a bunch for a dollar and a half and took it home along with a little bag of chile pequins, some cleaned and chopped nopales cactus pads, and some fresh fava beans.

Seems like there’s always some cool stuff to discover at the Mexican-style market stalls behind Canino’s--they’re probably cheaper than the big fruit and vegetable store too, but people prefer Canino’s because you can buy any amount you want instead of the one dollar baskets or two dollar baskets offered at the stalls. But Canino’s is closed for remodeling at the moment, so the stalls behind the store are currently the only place to shop.

When I got my greens home, I looked them up and discovered that verdolaga is the Spanish name for a common garden weed known as purslane or pigweed in English. It is widely eaten in the Middle East both in salads and cooked like spinach. It has a reputation for curative powers going back to the ancient Greeks. It’s extremely good for you, in fact, purslane has more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other vegetable plant.

Photo by Robb Walsh

I found a simple recipe for purslane and parsley salad from Gourmet magazine that called for nothing more than the washed leaves, some cherry tomatoes and a simple vinaigrette and whipped a salad together for lunch. I found the flavor lemony with a mild mineral aftertaste. One of my lunchmates thought the purslane had an “earthy flavor.” I am thinking it might taste better in an omelet. The lady at the vegetable stall said to cook it with beef.

Anybody have a purslane recipe they want to share?

-- Robb Walsh

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.