A year ago I had my first introduction to foraging. Kevin was preparing for a pop-up highlighting Arizona products and wanted to add some wild to the menu. Armed with bags, a knife, and a few friends we went “grocery shopping” in the Sonoran desert. Stooping down we would grab a leaf, sniff, cautiously taste, and reflect. Some items like mustard flowers were vibrant, exciting and quickly passed among the group to taste. Others like a random wild squash instantly resulted in a scrunched up face, spitting and laughter among the non-victims.
As we continued on our adventure, we spotted purslane. In my world, purslane equaled weed. Something I pulled from my garden, the succulent plant leaving my fingers slightly slimy. It did not compute as salad greens. Skeptically I gathered what I could, uncertain how my hubby would make this unwanted garden pest the star of the show.
Game day came and the chilled purslane was served. With one bite, I realized I was wrong (my husband will assure you it doesn’t happen often). The succulent nature of the plant allows the juicy leafs to store the ‘cool’, creating a burst of refreshment in each bite. The slight lemony flavor provided brightness to the dish. Purslane no longer equaled weed.
Last week as I meandered around the farmers market I spotted a bag of purslane. Excitedly I snatched it up and ran home to start cooking. In this particular dish, I utilized the pickled radishes to accentuate the lemony flavor of the purslane. Roasting the chickpeas gave them a pleasant texture to stand up to the sturdy leafs. There is a light dressing but of course if you are a dressing-a-holic add more.
You can sauté, puree and even make pesto with purslane. It’s incredibly healthy and it grows…like a weed (sorry couldn’t help it). Next time you step into your garden, take a moment and look at what is considered ‘edible’. You might be surprised.
Purslane, Roasted Chickpeas and Pickled Radishes
1 ½ cup purslane (up to you on if you want to leave the stems, for the picture I removed them)
1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas (if using canned chickpeas, rinse twice)
2 t tandoori seasoning
4 T olive oil
3 T apple cider vinegar
½ t Dijon mustard
¼ t honey
Salt and pepper
Pickled Radishes (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine 1 T olive oil, chickpeas and tandoori seasoning. Toss till well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning the chickpeas after 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the 3 T olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon, and honey until well combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
Rinse the purslane well and remove leafs. If using the stems, chop into small pieces. Slice the pickled radishes. Add the roasted chickpeas and toss with the dressing.
Adjust for salt and pepper and enjoy!
1 bunch radishes
¾ c water
¾ c apple cider vinegar
6-7 whole peppercorns
2 t sugar
3 t salt
Slice the radishes and place in a clean jar with peppercorns. In a small saucepan combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Pour over the radishes, seal jar.
Can eat after a couple hours but best after 24.