This may come as a surprise to many of you, but purslane may be the most important vegetable that hasn’t made its way into your diet! It is scientifically known as an annual succulent and is widely eaten throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the U.S., we usually ignor or pull it up and treated like any other invasive weed. The scientific name of purslane is Portulaca oleracea, and it has a slightly sour and salty taste that makes it an interesting addition to the palate. The entire plant, including the leaves, stem, flowers, and seeds, are edible and have been used for thousands of years in different variations.
Some of the health benefits of purslane include its ability to help you lose weight, boost heart health, help in the proper development of children, treat certain GI diseases, prevent certain cancers, protect the skin, boost vision, strengthen the immune system, build strong bones, and increase circulation.
It has extremely high levels of omega-3 fatty acids for a land vegetable, as well as significant amounts of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, and copper. Furthermore, the betalain pigments (powerful antioxidant compounds) and carotenoids round out this veritable treasure trove of nutrients and beneficial organic compounds.
5 T. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 tomatoes, finely chopped (or 2 cans of the equivalent)
3 T. tomato paste
pinch of red dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. of pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and soaked
1 cup orgnanic red lentils, rinsed and soaked
3 packed cups purslane, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced
fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Soak the lentils in water the night before their use. While this is not a necessary step, it is recommended to aid with digestion.
Sauté onion in the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-hight heat until translucent and lightly golden, about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. Add 4 cups of boiling vegetable stock or water to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the lentils and leave to cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
After the soup has cooked for 10 minutes, stir in the purslane, chickpeas, and lemon juice, lower the heat to medium-low, and leave to simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes. Taste for salt, and add additional seasonings to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.