CSI: CSA - purslane, the ‘noxious weed’ that makes a tasty salad
July 24th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she battled amaranth greens.

“I’m not going to eat the purslane,” my friend Amy announced as we collected our CSA shares. “I grew up weeding that ^%$#.”

My CSA often coughs up veggies and greens you don’t usually see in the supermarket, but until Amy foisted her purslane share on me, I hadn’t realized the haul would include actual weeds.

Amy, who comes from rural Colorado, says she used to spend hours each week as a kid hunting down purslane shoots and fighting their attempts to take over her family’s vegetable patch. The USDA classifies it as “invasive and noxious.” Google its official name, “portulaca oleracea,” and you’ll get a long list of advice on killing it; Google “purslane” and you get tips for cooking it.

After a few dubious pokes at my tangly and now twice-as-big pile of purslane weeds, I gave them a rinse and cut off a stem to nibble. I was surprised: I normally find raw greens pretty blah, but purslane has a crisp, tangy and to me slightly lemony flavor. It’s a tasty noxious pest.

It’s also apparently a super-nutritious one. Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other green veggie, and it’s also a good source of Vitamin C, calcium and potassium.

The easiest thing to do with purslane is simply to toss it into a salad along with any other leafy greens you have on hand. But that’s pretty boring - I wanted options that would showcase my weed.

purslane salad

In one of my first experiments, I threw it into pasta, along with some bacon, sautéed onions, garlic, bread crumbs and olive oil. Verdict: Not bad! I’ve also seen recommendations for mixing it Turkish-style into yogurt with garlic and red pepper flakes, stir-frying it with soy sauce and sesame oil, and using it to top a green-veggie soup.

I went the salad route a few times with my purslane, but only after dulling the nutritional edge by obeying my cardinal rule of salad-making: Everything is Better with Cheese. An Epicurious recipe suggests mixing purslane, parsley and cherry tomatoes with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette. That sounded way too healthy, so I also tossed in chunks of fried Halloumi cheese.

I still haven’t convinced Amy to try any of my purslane concoctions, but hey - if it means I keep getting her share of each week, I’m perfectly happy to fan the flames of her hate-hate relationship with her childhood nemesis.

Previously - CSI: CSA – multiplying greens and the mystery of amaranth and With a CSA, Mother Nature is your personal chef and Clarified: What is a CSA? and Ramps, fiddleheads, fava beans and other spring vegetables about which people are freaking out

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Filed under: CSA • Gardening • Greens • Invasive Species • Salad • Vegetables

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