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Purslane or Verdolagas

Purslane or verdolagas, one of those ingredients that Mexicans hanker for when outside of Mexico, is likely to be growing in your backyard. In Mexico, it is considered one of the quelites or edible herbs. It is nutritious and succulent, yet it has long been considered a weed in the United States. Indeed, once it grows roots, it spreads and grows fast.

It is essential to the cuisine of Central Mexico, where it is most commonly added to Puerco con Verdolagas: my favorite way of eating them. There, slowly braised pork is finished off in a seasoned salsa verde and verdolagas are dropped in almost when it’s done.

Purslane Verdolagas 1

From purslane, almost all is eaten. Only the very lower part of the stems and the roots are removed. The further you go down the chubby stems, the lighter the green color becomes and it can sometimes fluctuate to violet or red.

The leaves are thick and crisp and the stems are crunchy. Both leaves and stems are very juicy and meaty. With a light bitter flavor, a bit lemony and a bit peppery, altogether, punchy and refreshing.

Just like tomatillos, purslane’s tartness pairs well with other ingredients typical in Mexican cooking such as tomatoes and chiles. It is a great complement to salsas and taco fillings. Not native to Mexico, but as you can see, it is an ingredient that over ceturies has grown deep roots.

Though my favorite way to eat them is cooked in that famous pork stew and in vegetable soups, verdolagas are also wonderful in hearty salads. Think watercress, but thicker, crisper, yet more defined and “vegetable” like. They can be prepared just like you would spinach or watercress too. So the options go from soups, casseroles and stews, to salads which can be simply coated with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice, olive oil and sea salt. You can tuck them into a sandwich and feel like the most interesting sandwich-eating person on your block.

Because studies have shown it to be the richest in omega-3 fatty acids of any leafy green, purslane is increasingly being cultivated in the United States and is often available at farmers’ markets. You may find it under one of its popular nicknames pursley, pigweed or little hogweed. Or look closely, they may be closer to home. If you find them in your yard: cook them up!


40comments inPurslane or Verdolagas

  1. Captain Dunsel

    Sep 01

    I found some interesting looking greens at an International market. I don’t know if they were misplaced, mislabeled or I read the wrong sign, but I thought I was buying “asparagus leaves”. Got them home and Googled for some recipes and info, only to discover they couldn’t possibly be “asparagus leaves”, because those are like ferns. Not sure what to do with them, I tasted a few and then threw a whole bunch ((in place of the usual spinach or spring mix) into the salad which is my customary dinner.

    Tasty, tasty, tasty!

    Only after dinner was over did I find the receipt and figure out that what I had bought was something called “verdolaga”. A fresh Google search brought me here. You know, it’s a real pleasure to stumble onto something so tasty and then find out afterward that it’s actually GOOD for you!

    I think I’m going to do a little cross-cultural fusion and try adding verdolaga and enoki mushrooms to miso soup.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 05

      What a great idea to add verdolagas to Miso, yum! Let me know how it turned out 🙂

  2. Esther

    Aug 02

    These were a favorite of my mother’s and father’s. Every season after monsoon rains my mother would search the yard. Do you ever just sauté them without meat. That’s how my mom did them but she’s gone now and they are growing well in my yard. I’d love to recreate the meal as I remember it. I love your cooking show. I wished you had more vegetarian or vegan recipes. But either way I adapt. Continue on Patti.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 11

      Thank you Esther, this is kind of you. I guess you could cook the verdolagas in some salsa verde and add some potatoes, maybe following a recipe like this one but without the meat http://patijinich.com/shredded-flank-steak-with-potatoes-in-green-salsa-2/

  3. dennis Kucharzak

    Mar 21

    I had to ask my Mexican friend what the plant was. It lost something in the translation. So I Google imaged it to find out it was purslane. And boy am I glad I did. Next to it at the market was Hairy amaranth. Another plant I had to Google image. Can’t wait to try the new recipes.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 25

      Hope you enjoy them Dennis, and so glad your are adventurous with your food, yay!

  4. Anaya

    Oct 31

    Patti can you cook these on one of your shows?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 03

      I will try to come up with a good recipe Anaya, thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Anaya

    Oct 31

    I love Verdulagas! Just this year I found that I could buy then at the local flea market in the produce isle. I use to eat these when I was little. My mom would fry them with onion salt & pepper and then add a blanket of Monterey Jack cheese over them. Oh so yummy and tasty I can taste them right now. Not every one knows of this product.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 03

      I know, verdolagas are delicious 😉

  6. Chilag

    Mar 20

    Please do research when harvesting from your yard. I LOVE verdolaga and have gathered from my yard butresearched. There is a similar looking plant that can have adverse effects.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 20

      Thanks so much Chilag for the advise! Safety first always 😉

  7. Lynda C

    Feb 23

    Hi Pati, I’ve been watching your show for years. In fact my Hubby and I watch one of your shows every morning. He tapes them and then we have a choice in what to watch. Recently I saw you make a Salad with Tomati Tomatillo, Avacado and Cucumber I think. You said the salad was one of your creations, it wasn’t a regular Mexican dish. Well sadly my hubby deleted that show so I dont have that recipe. Could you possibly send me that recipe? I thought at the time how good it would be. But as I said when I went back to review it it was gone. Please Pati I sure would like it Thanks in Advance.

    1. Pati

      Feb 25

      Oh that sounds like my Pico de Guac: http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/tart-pico-de-guac/ Enjoy…and say hi to your hubby for me, Lynda.

  8. Jeanette

    Apr 19

    These grow in my pack yard. But I didn’t know you could eat them. Good to know thank you.

    1. Pati

      Apr 23

      I’m glad you found the article helpful, Jeanette!

  9. E.S

    Mar 16

    Hi, you can also add them to espinazo also called chilayo. Add the verdolagas once the dish is fully cooked let them simmer for 8 to 10 minutes and they’re ready to go. You may also want to fry them with egg, onions, and tomatoes. They happen to be a seasonal item, usually sell for two bunches for .99 cents

  10. ana clara salas

    Oct 29

    Hi Patti, love your show!

    1. Pati

      Oct 29

      Thanks for tuning in!!

  11. Richard Arroyo

    Sep 01

    Please add me to your email subscription ASAP.

    I would like to forward this to other people.


    Richard Arroyo
    San Fernando California

    1. Pati

      Sep 06


  12. Suzanne

    Aug 17

    I was watering my few trees when I noticed what I remember to be verdolagas! I picked several bunches. Then I had a frightening thought. What if they are an imposter and poisonous . However, after looking at several photos online and when I began cooking them, I remembered the delicious aroma I remember from childhood. I will try them with tomatillos, hadn’t ate them that way, with tacos sounds great. Thank you for your website!

    1. Pati

      Aug 21

      Thank you! I also love verdolagas with scrambled eggs.

  13. Fran

    Jun 18


    I just read where you said the pick the purslane before they flower. Is it a problem to eat them after they have little flowers on them??? i JUST realized what they were and am very excited to start eating them.


    1. Pati

      Jun 21

      No, it is ok…

  14. BeGracia Taylor

    May 17

    Shalom, I have a question regarding Purslane or verdolagas: Is there any poisonous plant that resembles it? I ask because I found some in my yard, and I want to be sure that they are Purslane or verdolagas,
    Thank you

    1. Pati

      May 20

      Purslane does grow wild in some yards, but if you are unsure, check in a plant nursery nearby or check online with the plants that grow in the region where you live…

  15. Victoria

    Aug 29

    Hi Pati! I just picked a bunch of verdolagas from along the sidewalk on our morning walk yesterday, and then found more growing in my backyard! I learned about them last year when El Super, the huge Mexican supermarket in South Tucson, had them on sale, and a local newspaper reporter wrote about how his abuelita cooked them in scrambled eggs for a breakfast burrito – it was delicious, and I’m planning on trying some more recipes with verdolagas. I’m thinking they might be a good ground cover for a couple of bare spots in the yard. Thanks for the additional information!

    1. Pati

      Aug 29

      They are amazing with eggs, you just made me hungry and it is almost midnight here….

  16. Michelle Wigfall

    Aug 02

    Hi there. I’m growing these in my garden bed right now. I picked up a bunch at my local Latin market. I cut the very bottoms of the stems off and poked them right in the soil…no rooting in water or any other special treatment. And this was AFTER I forgot them in the fridge for a week! They are growing like crazy! We love tossing them in salads, but would love a recipe for Puerco con Verdolagas, if anyone has one they’d like to share. They do very well in containers also. A nearby nursery sells them in hanging baskets.
    Thank you!

  17. Cecilia

    Apr 06

    I grew up eating these beautiful and delicious little “greens”.
    Like most Mexican women, Mamá was a great cook.
    For years I searched but couldn’t find verdolagas in the regular supermarket but rediscovered them at my local international “super” market. I prepare them like mamá did with carne de puerco and a side of frijoles de la olla…comfort food.
    Thank you,

    1. Pati

      Apr 06

      Love them with puerco and beans, too!

  18. billy hogg

    Feb 27

    thank you for
    answering my question.

  19. billy hogg

    Feb 26

    love you show. you said sat. if you diden’t want your peppers no so hot. put them in hot water and but i diden’t get to hear the rest of it should would like to know. thanks billy hogg

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Billy, Yes, soak them in hot water. Also remove the stems and seeds to make them milder. Thank you so much for watching the show!

  20. Robert

    Feb 16

    My mother used to send use out right after the rainy season to pick verdolagas. They were delicious!

    1. Pati

      Feb 17

      They are!

  21. Rainier

    Oct 25

    Hola Profesora Pati. Me ha dado un gran gusto de ver su show de cocinar. Yo recuerdo cuando viviamias sur oeste de los suburbios de Chicago, que mi mamá me llevaba al jardin para cosechar “hierbas”. Bueno, total se llaman verdolagas. Cuando voy al supermercado, yo preguntaba a las señoras como se cocinaban. No sabían. Me daria gusto si usted me podría enseñar como hacer las verdolagas con carne de puerco, o de res en salsa verde, por favor. Me encanta como Ud. Cocina. Sinceramente, Rainier.

  22. Ray A.

    Oct 05

    Verdolagas grow in my yard in spring and fall,and I love them with egg and salsa. Just remember to pick them before they flower, which happens quick in So.Cal.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 08

      Hola Ray, That’s fantastic! I love verdolagas with eggs too.

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