Purslane salad with yogurt: refreshing and rich in Omega-3
Time: prep. 10 min
Yields: 2 portions
In the first few weeks of summer, the body struggles to cope with the unusual heat; so helping it out with some light, fresh meals would be a great thing not only for the metabolism but also for the mental health of those preparing the meals. Personally, as a person who can hardly stand the heat, I prefer not to cook most of the time in order not to risk the family harmony; on the other hand as long as there are tasty and satiating options like this purslane salad with yogurt… it’s a no-brainer, and bye bye troubles.
As I explained in the recipe for purslane salad with figs, although purslane is considered a weed (it grows everywhere, even among the sidewalks) makes part of the superfoods, given its exceptionally rich omega 3(1,2) content.
omega 3 is an essential molecule for the human body, with many beneficial effects: it fights high triglycerides, depression or rheumatoid arthritis, as well as various forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s (3); it improves asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome; but those approved by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) are the following:
– omega 3 ALA (found in vegetables such as purslane) contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels (4,5)
– omega 3 EPA and DHA (present in foods of animal origin, but they can also be synthesized from ALA) are useful to ensure a good functioning of the heart.
The humble purslane is also an excellent source of minerals: potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, calcium, along with vitamins A, B and C; and important antioxidants, like alpha-tocopherol and glutathione. It’s basically a nutrient bank!
But purslane continues to surprise us because of its price.
As I mentioned, being a wild herb, you don’t necessarily have to buy it with the organic label, just go to your local greengrocer: it doesn’t need pesticides or fertilizers to thrive. For example, at a farmers’ market in Rome, I can find it for 2 euros per kilo: for this purslane salad with yogurt you need just 250 grams to satisfy 2 people (at a cost of 50 cents).
So how about celebrating the beginning of the purslane season with this beautiful dish? (To learn about seasonal vegetables and fruits, click here).
Ingredients for purslane salad with yogurt
250 grams of purslane
100 ml of Greek yogurt (to find out how you can prepare it at home click here)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (about 4-5 walnuts)
1 clove of grated garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1 pinch of salt
You could prepare this purslane salad with yogurt, either with raw purslane or cooked. Cooking also serves to reduce its oxalic acid content, which is recommended if you suffer from kidney stones
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For a great purslane salad with yogurt, wash the purslane very well, and dry it. Separate the tougher sprigs if necessary, and keep in mind that they are still very sour and delicious (at least to me); so instead of tossing them, chop them finely and add to the salad.
Mix the Greek yogurt with garlic in a large bowl and add in the purslane leaves with the chopped sprigs and half of the walnuts.
Dress with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining walnuts along with a purslane leaf if you like.
You are ready to bring to the table an excellent appetizer (meze) of Turkish cuisine.
Plant sources of omega 3 do not offer the same bioavailability as animal ones. However a balanced and rich diet, if there are no ongoing pathologies, provides all the macro and micro-nutrients, such as omega 3. For this reason, it is not necessary to rely on supplements, which are expensive for your pocket and the environment, in addition to not guaranteeing the same bioavailability obtained through natural pathways; it is better to eat a handful of nuts every day (about 30 grams contain 2.5 g of ALA)6 together with other foods rich in omega 3.
But in order to get the most out of the omega 3 content of foods, we should do just one thing: combine animal and plant sources.
This little trick is just one of many examples related to the synergy between molecules, which should be thoroughly studied and better disclosed.
So, our delicious salad, rich in omega 3 thanks to the presence of purslane and walnuts, if consumed together with half a portion of fatty fish, will allow us to get the most omega 3 out of our food and without an irresponsible consumption of fish fauna that unfortunately risks extinction.
Enjoy your salad and good revolution to all
1) Petropoulos SΑ, Karkanis A, Fernandes Â, Barros L, Ferreira IC, Ntatsi G, Petrotos K, Lykas C, Khah E. Chemical Composition and Yield of Six Genotypes of Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.): An Alternative Source of omega 3 Fatty Acids. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2015 Dec;70(4):420-6. doi: 10.1007/s11130-015-0511-8. PMID: 26510561.
2) A. P. Simopoulos, H. A. Norman, J. E. Gillaspy, J. A. Duke (1992), Common purslane: a source of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. J Am Coll Nutr. 11(4): 374–382.
3) Lim, Giselle P., et al. “A diet enriched with the omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid reduces amyloid burden in an aged Alzheimer mouse model.” Journal of Neuroscience 25.12 (2005): 3032-3040.
4) PIRILLO, Angela; CATAPANO, Alberico Luigi. omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of hypertriglyceridaemia. International journal of cardiology, 2013, 170.2: S16-S20.
5) Holub, Bruce J. “Clinical nutrition: 4. omega 3 fatty acids in cardiovascular care.” Cmaj 166.5 (2002): 608-615.
6) Maguire, L.S.; O’Sullivan, S.M.; Galvin, K.; O’Connor, T.P.; O’Brien, N.M. Fatty acid profile, tocopherol, squalene and phytosterol content of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and the macadamia nut. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 2004, 55, 171–178