Purslane (Verdolaga) has transformed from a nuisance in gardens to a valuable treasure! This extraordinary plant is reclaiming its position in farmer’s markets and esteemed restaurants, providing not only health advantages but also culinary satisfaction.

Referred to by different names such as hogweed and pigweed, Purslane is a weed you should warmly welcome. Recognized as a superfood, it holds a special place in the affections of figures like Mahatma Gandhi and is presently undergoing a revival.

This robust plant emerges from cracks in pavement, infiltrates gardens, and has been dubbed a “miracle plant” by Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, the president of the Centre for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health. During her tenure at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Simopoulos uncovered that Purslane contains the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids among all green plants.

Its succulent leaves, shaped like teardrops, are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutritional powerhouse. But that’s not all—these leaves also offer a rejuvenating and tangy lemony taste with a touch of peppery zing, as characterized by Sergio Vitale, the chef-owner of Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Chicago, who grew up savoring Purslane in southern Italy.

Even though early Americans, including Martha Washington, enjoyed Purslane both fresh and pickled, its use dwindled in the early 1900s. Thankfully, in recent times, farmers, foragers, and innovative chefs have reignited their interest in this advantageous weed.

When preparing wild Purslane, it’s essential to thoroughly wash the plant to eliminate any pesticide residues. With its tart and mildly salty flavor, Purslane is an excellent addition to salads and various dishes.

Moreover, here’s a straightforward recipe to attempt: Purslane and Basil Pesto.


  • 2 cups young Purslane leaves and stems, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 45g basil leaves, rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 45g toasted almonds
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine Purslane, basil, garlic, almonds, and lemon juice in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is well combined.
  3. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.
  4. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  5. Enjoy this flavorful pesto on toasted sandwiches, roasted vegetables, meat, or tossed with pasta.

Now, let’s delve into the nutritional benefits of Purslane:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Purslane stands out as an outstanding plant-based source of these essential fatty acids, crucial for brain and heart health, particularly for vegans.
  • Antioxidants: Packed with antioxidants like glutathione, Purslane aids in cell protection, fighting damage, and slowing down the aging process.
  • Minerals: With notable levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, folate, and selenium, Purslane bridges gaps in the Standard American Diet and promotes overall well-being.
  • Vitamin C: A significant supplier of this immune-boosting vitamin, which contributes to a strong and resilient immune system.
  • Beta-carotene: Abundant in Purslane, beta-carotene acts as a precursor to vitamin A, addressing common deficiencies.
  • Melatonin: Unlike most plants, Purslane contains melatonin, a hormone vital for sleep regulation, making it a valuable natural source.
  • Cholesterol Reduction: Thanks to betalain, an antioxidant found in Purslane, it helps prevent cholesterol damage to blood vessels and positively influences LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Tryptophan: Purslane holds tryptophan, a crucial amino acid that aids in mood regulation and fights depression.

Embrace the marvels of Purslane and savor its medicinal and culinary rewards. From its Omega-3 richness to its melatonin content, this versatile plant has much to offer for your well-being and taste experiences alike.

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