Healthy eats

What's that vegetable? Get your omega-3s with purslane

July 11, 2012 at 9:10 AM ET

Try purslane, an abundant weed that has the highest amount of omega-3s of of any leafy greens.
Michelle Hainer
Try purslane, an abundant weed that has the highest amount of omega-3s of of any leafy greens.

We eat a lot of greens at our house and this is especially true in the summer, when the season’s bounty needs very little in the way of preparation. We love the simplicity of grilling, and a bowlful of greens is an excellent and easy complement to whatever marinated meats and veggies are on the menu. I’m always on the look out for new varieties and at the farmers market last weekend, I came upon a sign that said “Purslane: Highest source of omega-3 fatty acid in a vegetable.” I had never heard of this leafy green but I was intrigued. And when the farm’s owner told me that it was great in a salad, I bought a bag. I knew exactly how I would use it.

Purslane reminded me more of a house plant than a leafy green and it turns out that it’s considered an exotic weed. The plant contains a high amount of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and flax seeds. It’s also rich in calcium, potassium and vitamin A. Though it can be sautéed or used in soups, it has a slightly buttery, salty taste when raw, which I thought would pair nicely with one of my favorite summer salads—a mix of baby spinach, mesclun, strawberries, blueberries and walnuts. I washed the purslane thoroughly in my lettuce spinner, discarded the reddish stems and tossed a handful into the salad bowl. We got in our serving of omega-3s and I didn’t even have to turn on the oven!

Berry Salad With Purslane, Feta and Walnuts

  • 1 5 ounce clam shell of baby spinach or mixed greens
  • 1 container of strawberries, quartered
  • 1 container of blueberries
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • A handful of purslane, washed, with red stems removed
  • Poppyseed dressing (I used Tessemae’s All Natural Poppyseed Grapefruit)
  • A swirl of aged balsamic vinegar (I used Pastamoré Barrel-Aged Balsamic. It’s so good I could drink it from the bottle!)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss with dressing and vinegar.

Get more tips and recipes for seasonal eats atMade By Michelle.

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