ISSUE 78  |  Dry Gardens

Dining on Succulents: Purslane Salad with Watermelon

June 27, 2013 1:00 PM

BY Erin Boyle

Last week, we asked New York photographer and nutritionist Rebecca Baust of The Daily Muse to hit the greenmarkets in search of one of our favorite edible greens: purslane. In a genius move, she paired the bright, slightly sour-flavored green with sweet watermelon and baby greens and tossed the whole thing with a simple red wine vinaigrette. See below for the ingredients and recipe:

Photos by Rebecca Baust for Gardenista.

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Commonly considered a weed (and found growing between cracks in the pavement as often as in farmers’ fields), purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is an unassuming green that packs a powerful nutritional punch. In studies conducted by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, purslane was shown to have more omega-3 fatty acids than spinach. It’s also rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, and phosphorous. Like most of the plants we’re featuring this week, purslane thrives in low-moisture soil.

If you’re hoping to grow your own purslane, a packet of Purslane Seeds in available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds for $3.45.

union-square-farmers-market-lettuces-gardenista

As is often the rule, fresh, young purslane plants make for the most best salad ingredients. At Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan, shoppers can pick and choose from farmers’ salad mixes to create their own combination of lettuces and baby greens.

Back home, Rebecca prepped the purslane plants, which happily mostly just means washing. The succulent’s stems and leaves are both edible.

For the dressing, Rebecca mixed extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar in a 3-to-1 ratio. She seasoned the mixture with sea salt and pepper.

Rebecca used the California-made O Cabernet Vinegar in her dressing. It’s available at O Olive Oil for $12. An 8.5-ounce bottle of O Extra Virgin Olive Oil is $9.

Tossed together, the sweet and sour mixture creates a salad that can stand up to this summer’s first New York heatwave.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • Purslane, several large handfuls
  • Baby greens, several large handfuls
  • Watermelon, cubed and deseeded

For the dressing:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black Ppepper to taste

Directions:

Add purslane and baby greens to a large bowl. Deseed watermelon and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add to a large bowl with greens. In a separate small bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar in a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss with greens. Serve chilled for optimum refreshment.

Inspired by festive salads? Might we suggest adding flowers?

Prefer your succulents in pots? Here’s how to avoid killing them.