20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (2024)

Last Updated on February 28, 2024

Great news if you hate weeding! Purslane — known as verdolaga or verdolagas in Mexico, where it’s a popular staple — is not only edible, it’s one of the healthiest foods you can harvest from your yard this summer. Learn why verdolagas is considered a superfood and how to use it in numerous delicious and healthy purslane recipes.

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (1)

What is Purslane / Verdolagas & How to Eat Purslane?

Purslane or verdolaga is an edible wild plant commonly found in gardens all over the world. Also known as pursley, little hogweed, duckweed (and sometimes as pigweed, which is confusing, because most people know pigweed as amaranth, another wild edible), purslane goes by many different names in languages from all over the globe.

Purslane’s botanical name isportulaca oleracea.

Most gardeners consider purslane a weed, but those in the know value it as a delicious free superfood to forage in their yards.

Every year, I wait eagerly for the ground to warm enough that my purslane reappears, since it’s not only delicious but also incredibly good for you. (More on that below.)

Here in the U.S., purslane is not one of the better-known weeds you can eat, but in other parts of the world it’s commonly used in all kinds of delicious purslane recipes. In addition to a number of Mexican favorites, you’ll find Turkish and Greek recipes featuring cooked and raw purslane. I’m told it’s also popular in France, and who knows more about food than the French?

Gandhi reportedly loved purslane, and Thoreau claims to have happily supped on it at Walden as part of his experiment in self-sufficiency:

I learned from my two years’ experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one’s necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted.

It’s a completely different plant than the one sometimes called winter purslane (claytonia perfoliata, or miner’s lettuce), which is a tasty cold-tolerant green that’s one of the many vegetables that grow in shade.

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (2)

Foraging Purslane for Free Superfood

The deeper I dive into foraging, the more I’m astounded by all the edible weeds most of us don’t realize we can harvest for free food.

Eating weeds is not as weird as it sounds, I promise! For one thing, many of these plants have only come to be regarded as weeds since the triumph of the grass lawn in the twentieth century reclassified these tasty and useful plants as invaders into perfectly manicured patches of green.

Dandelions, for instance, were purposely imported to the Americas by European settlers who knew their value as food and medicine. Here’s lots more on the health benefits of dandelions and how to use them.

(Here’s why growingalternatives to grass is an important move in your quest to live a more eco-friendly life.)

Once upon a time, plants like purslane and dandelions were just food. The wisdom of treating them as such is becoming apparent to grocers, who increasingly include these nutritious wild greens in the produce aisle. I consider them among the many terrific perennial vegetables to harvest from your garden.

If the price tag of so-called superfoods like açaí and spirulina get you down, look no further than your nearest weed patch for plenty of super — and super-delicious — food you can get for free. We’re not only talking about weeds here, but yummy fruits like mulberries, juneberries, and more.

Lots of delicious wild greens like verdolagas are probably growing in your yard right now, waiting to add flavor, color, and nutrition to your plate. Long before any of the greens in our garden are ready to harvest, we make gorgeous foraged salads that include bitter and delicious dandelion greens, Virginia waterleaf, wood sorrel, and wild violets. We use the cleavers, plantain, lambsquarters, and yarrow that volunteer in the garden, and even put medicinal creeping Charlie (aka ground ivy) in our herbal tea blends.

Making delicious use of foraged greens from your garden is just one strategy for eating healthy on a budget. Find lots more in my FREE guide, Affordable Healthy Food. Just fill in the form here to get your copy.

Health Benefits of Purslane or Verdolagas

Purslane gets labeled a superfood most often because it’s the highest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, an anti-inflammatory compound believed to protect against cardiovascular problems, cancer, and other chronic diseases.

Purslane is also rich invitamins C and E as well as beta carotene, iron, magnesium, and potassium, which many of us fall short on. More details on nutritional composition here. Purslane may also help regulate blood sugar.

Herbalists use purslane externally to soothe burns, sores, and stings, and internally to treat digestive and urinary issues as well as coughs. It has been studied for anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects as well.

Note that like many other green vegetables (like spinach and rhubarb), purslane contains oxalates, which in high amounts can aggravate kidney conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Cooking or serving with yogurt can help reduce oxalate content.

Purslane Recipes: What Do Verdolagas Taste Like?

This succulent plant is juicy and crunchy. It has a slightly sour flavor, especially the thick stems. The sourness will likely be greater if you harvest purslane earlier in the day than later.

The leaves are milder and lovely in salads, on their own or with other vegetables to add additional texture. Tossed with a simple vinaigrette, purslane makes a welcome change from lettuce or spinach.

I think the sourness can overtake your smoothie if you add too much. But a small amount of purslane with other fruits and veggies will up the nutritional ante of whatever you make.

Purslane becomes mucilaginous (some would say slimy) when cooked, so it works as a thickener the same way okra does. But if you’re opposed to slime, you may want to be careful not to overcook.

How to Identify Purslane or Verdolagas for Delicious Purslane Recipes

Many people find purslane’s succulent leaves similar in look to jade plant. It has a sprawling growth habit and thick pink stems. The wild variety grows low to the ground; if you plant purchased seeds, you’ll likely find they grow more upright.

Small yellow flowers that bloom in midsummer produce pods filled with copious tiny black seeds, which are also edible, though highly inconvenient to collect. Purslane flowers are among the more than 150 flowers you can eat with your next foraged meal.

As with all foraging pursuits, always consult a good field guide before picking any wild food. Here are some of the best foraging books I’ve found.

My go-to source for foraging info, “Wildman” Steve Brill has more details and pictures in his compendium of edible wild plants.

Heed his warning about a similar-looking but NOT edible plantspurge (which, once you know what to look for, you’ll never mistake for purslane):

Beware of spurge, a different-looking poisonous creeping wild plant that sometimes grows near purslane. The stem is wiry, not thick, and it gives off a white, milky sap when you break it.

Learn more about how to identify purslane and about distinguishing spurge vs purslane.

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (3)

If you’d like to become more expert in the art of foraging, the Herbal Academy has an online foraging coursethat teaches plant identification and ethical wildcrafting practices.

Collect your purslane from an area you know hasn’t been treated with chemicals. This would include the sidewalk cracks purslane loves to grow in, as they likely accumulate whatever chemicals have run off there or been tracked on the soles of people’s shoes.

Since purslane works pretty well as a groundcover, if I find it in my garden, I let it be, harvesting what I need for purslane recipes and encouraging it to spread. I also find it in abundance when I’m picking in the fields of our CSA, where pulling it and stuffing it in my bag is also a public service. Since there’s so much stuff coming from the farm at that point in the season, most of the purslane I find there winds up in the freezer for winter smoothies.

Love learning about new things you can forage? Follow me on Pinterest for more foraging info, garden tips, and all things green & healthy!

Grow or Forage Verdolagas for Purslane Recipes

Since I’m sure you’re now convinced of purslane’s awesomeness, if you find it in your yard, harvest at will, as this tough little plant is really hard to kill. If you fall for purslane like I did, you might try to spread it. I’ve tried collecting the little black seeds and planting them, but have not had much success propagating purslane in my yard. Odd, since it’s known as invasive.

I also bought seeds for a cultivated variety known as golden purslane. No luck with that either. If you succeed in planting purslane in your yard or garden, let me know your secret!

But you don’t have to grow it yourself to harvest plenty of this nutritious vegetable. One of your neighbors will probably be more than pleased to have you pull up as much you need and then some for your purslane recipes. Or keep an eye out for it at your CSA farm; unless it’s something they harvest for the share, you’ll be doing them a favor by gathering up as much as you can use.

If you can’t find verdolagas in your yard or neighborhood, you can probably buy a bunch for a buck or two at your farmers’ market or ethnic grocery.

How to Use Verdolagas for Purslane Recipes

Young purslane will be more tender and mild tasting than older plants. The small leaves are delicious raw. Some simple ways to use purslane:

Add leaves to your salads or sandwiches for a juicy, lemony bite.

Leaves and small stems can be chopped and thrown into smoothies and soups or blended into pestos.

Larger stems can be used in stirfries and cooked in soups.

Storage: Verdolagas don’t hold up well in the refrigerator, so use within a few days or freeze. Note that once frozen, you’ll want to use your purslane in recipes that don’t call for fresh purslane, as the cell structure will break down in the freezer. Frozen purslane is fine for smoothies and soups, not so great for salads.

How to Eat Purslane: Purslane Recipes from Around World

So let’s get cooking with some delicious purslane recipes!

Here are 20 recipes for purslane, verdolagas, or whatever you prefer to call this superfood masquerading as a weed in your yard.

You can always just pick a little and combine it with whatever you’re making, whether it’s a smoothie, soup, salad, or stir fry. Or make verdolagas the star with one of these purslane recipes that highlight the tender deliciousness of this as yet underappreciated superfood.

Purslane Tzatziki(Seeking Joyful Simplicity)

♦Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie with Purslane, Pineapple, and Ginger(HealthyGreenSavvy)

Purslane and Bulghur Pilaf (Sanaa Cooks)

Black Barley, Purslane, and Watermelon Salad (Healthy Green Kitchen)

Purslane Salad(Food52)

Cucumber Purslane Yogurt Salad (Commonsense Home)

Purslane and Herb Salad (Saveur)

Persimmon, Pomegranate,Purslane and Pepitas Salad (Food and Wine)

Purslane Relish (Leda Meredith)

Purslane and Avocado Tacos (Epicurious)

Mushroom Soup with Verdolaga (KiwiLimon)

Purslane Gazpacho and Purslane Pickles (Susun Weed)

Purslane Salad with Grilled Corn, Red Onion and Creamy Avocado Dressing (Brooklyn Supper — pictured below)

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (4)

Golichi Bhaji Purslane Stirfry (Sizzling Indian Recipes)

Chicken with Purslane and Salsa Verde (Spicie Foodie)

Quinoa, Pea, Avocado, Radish and Purslane Salad (Cannelle et Vanille)

Pork Chops with Purslane in Tomatillo Sauce (Mexico in My Kitchen)

Cream of Purslane Soup (Fresh Bites Daily)

Ever tried verdolagas? What are your favorite purslane recipes?

Below are some of the many wild food recipe collections we’ve assembled for eager foragers:

  • 16 Garlic Mustard Recipes
  • 25 Wild Violet Recipes
  • 25 Inspiring Spruce Tip Recipes
  • 35+ Genius Ways to Eat Dandelions
  • 30 Lambs Quarter Recipes
  • 25 Serviceberry Recipes to Try This Season
  • 15 Cool Amaranth Leaves Recipes
  • 15 Best Aronia Berry Recipes
  • 15 Delicious Mulberry Recipes

Pin to save this info on verdolagas and purslane recipes for later!

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (5)

Photo credits: Wikimedia Images, veganamente, JeffSKleinman,judywitts, Harry Rose

Disclaimer: I’m a health enthusiast, not a medical professional. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. I draw on numerous health sources, some of which are linked above. Please consult them for more information and a licensed professional for personalized recommendations.

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (6)


Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.

20 Purslane Recipes (Verdolaga Recipes) You Need to Try (2024)


What is verdolaga used for? ›

Verdolaga is frequently served in stews, carnitas, and tamales, or it is boiled and mixed with cooked tomatoes and chile peppers as a simple but versatile side dish. One of the most well-known dishes that incorporates Verdolaga is espinazo de puerco con Verdolaga.

Is purslane the same as verdolagas? ›

Verdolaga is a vegetable green used in many countries in Latin American, Europe and the Middle East. In Latin America it is called verdolaga; in English-speaking countries it is often-times referred to as purslane.

What is the Mexican name for purslane? ›

Verdolaga is the Spanish word for this edible green called “purslane” in English (Portulaca oleracea), that many people are told is a weed. I grew up eating them (never buying them in a store) and so it's neat to now see them at farmer's markets and Mexican grocers.

What do verdolagas taste like? ›

You can certainly cook it, and there are many great Mexican recipes for verdolagas, usually with pork and salsa verde. What does purslane taste like? It's crunchy, juicy — haters say slimy, but it is absolutely nothing like okra or nopales — and tart.

Who should not eat purslane? ›

The plant is nutritious and generally considered safe for human consumption. Due its content of oxalic acid, purslane should not be consumed by people with kidney disease or that have high uric acid (Gardner and McGuffin, 2012; Berdonces, 2009; Duke et al., 2009).

Can purslane treat infection? ›

For example, PO is applied as an antidiarrheal agent and for the treatment of throat infection, liver and gastrointestinal problems, and inflammatory diseases in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia (Al-Asmari, 2014 ▶).

How much purslane can you eat in a day? ›

Although this plant can be nutritious, much like wood sorrel, eat it sparingly as it also contains oxalic acid. To maintain a healthy oxalate level, it is recommended to eat less than 23g of purslane a day (6.71-8.69mg/g based on 200-300mg/day).

What are the side effects of purslane? ›

Side Effects. Only a few studies have assessed the potential side effects of purslane. It has been reported that purslane contains high levels of oxalate, which can lead to hyperoxaluria and an increased risk of calcium oxalate crystals and kidney stones [57].

Is purslane in the Bible? ›

Well before the time of Pliney, there is mention of purslane in the Bible. The prophet Job asks “Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there taste in the slime of the purslane?” The 'slime' probably refers to the mucilaginous nature of purslane.

What are verdolagas called in English? ›

Verdolagas: Also known as purslane in English. You can find these in Mexican grocery stores, farmers markets, and specialty grocery stores. They are typically in season during the summer and autumn in Mexico. The entire portion of the verdolaga is edible but some people prefer the top part of the stems.

What medication is purslane? ›

Purslane has been used as a vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids and is high in vitamins and minerals. Purslane possesses anti-inflammatory activity. Roles in asthma, dyslipidemia, constipation, and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions, have been suggested; however, clinical studies are limited.

Why do we not eat purslane? ›

Although purslane leaves, stems, and flowers are completely edible, it's safest to only eat this plant if you know where and how it was grown. Because it's usually treated as a weed in the U.S., purslane that you find in a yard or next to a sidewalk could have been sprayed with a chemical.

Is it OK to eat purslane raw? ›

Purslane is a green, leafy vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. It is known scientifically as Portulaca oleracea, and is also called pigweed, little hogweed, fatweed and pusley.

Can you eat verdolaga raw? ›

The plant can be used either fresh, raw as an addition to salads or as a cooked green. It's a common ingredient in Mexican food, and often cooked con salsa verde-a tart tomatillo sauce.

Is verdolaga edible for humans? ›

Verdolagas: Also known as purslane in English. You can find these in Mexican grocery stores, farmers markets, and specialty grocery stores. They are typically in season during the summer and autumn in Mexico. The entire portion of the verdolaga is edible but some people prefer the top part of the stems.

What are the benefits of purslane to human health? ›

Purslane contains plenty of antioxidants, such as: Vitamin A:It protects your eyes as well as improves your immune system. It's also critical to the health of your organs because it supports healthy cell division. Beta-carotene: It turns into vitamin A in your body.

Can I eat purslane from my yard? ›

You can even pickle purslane for a bright, peppery flavor. If you do decide to eat purslane from your yard or garden, wash it very well first. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your yard before you harvest the succulent leaves of this tasty weed.


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