While Americans view purslane as a weed, most of the world loves the citrus-y plant and creates all sorts of purslane salads–such as this lovely dish from Turkey, which contains purslane, yogurt, lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Summer at its freshest.
Large bunches of semizotu (purslane) are found in every greengrocer and street market. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s used fresh or boiled in salads, added to soups and pastries.–Andy Harris
WHAT IS PURSLANE?
Large bunches of purslane, or semizotu as it is known in Istanbul, are found everywhere in Turkey, including gardens and street markets. Stateside, it’s often regarded as a weed and it’s likely the most nutritious and pleasantly citrusy-tasting weed you’ll ever encounter. Look for it at farmers markets as well as health food stores. It’s crazy rich in vitamins and minerals—not to mention an intriguing lemony smack. Serve this purslane salad and have all your guests wondering: What is that?
- 1 bunch purslane or golden purslane washed and trimmed (about 2 cups loosely packed purslane)
- 3 tablespoons thick plain yogurt preferably Greek
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 small lemon
Recipe Testers' Reviews
As a happy weed-eating child of a Swedish mother and an Eagle Scout father, this purslane salad ranks right up there with my favorite recipes of all time. (I was pretty happy when Camilla Plum's Seven Greens Salad came along, too!)
I'm a big purslane fan but have never really known what to do with it apart from nibbling on it or adding it to salads. I was delighted to see an actual recipe featuring this lovely powerhouse of a green. Though simple, this recipe uses a small number of ingredients to beautifully enhance the uniqueness of purslane.
Though the dressing was fairly minimal and the greens quite sturdy, I still feel this is a make-it-and-eat-it salad, not one to keep around. The greens shrunk a bit when dressed, and, if it sat for any length of time, I think the succulent nature of the purslane could begin to disappear.
I jumped at the chance to test this purslane salad because I have always known in my heart of hearts that I could actually eat this plant, but I've never picked the big fleshy leaves and given them a try. Here was my golden opportunity!
I picked about a half cup of good looking leaves (there are only two of us as testers here and I didn't want to force feed anyone else) and measured them into a bowl. After everything was thoroughly mixed, I closed my eyes and took a forkful. Closed eyes? Yes, because I knew that if I looked at this I would start laughing. Not because it looked funny, but because I have been threatening to eat these plants and now I was doing it.
This salad has a really sharp, citrusy taste that is refreshing as well as startling. I am a lemon maniac, so to me it was just great. For my other taster, not so much BUT, all in all, I would say that this easy, quick, sparky salad is a great dish to offset heavy, dense tastes on your plate.
We were already thinking of ways to use it with various dishes—there are just too many good reasons to eat this to not come up with some fun other ways to do it! The only time-consuming thing about the recipe is picking the leaves from your garden and washing them. To actually get this from the prep stage to the table is less than 5 minutes. And worth the effort!
Originally published April 20, 2021