Pesto is a staple sauce in our household. Our favorite "Let's Not Waste" Carrot Top Pesto is on repeat here and I almost always have a jar in the freezer to liven up a dish. This version, made with purslane, brings pesto to a whole new nutritional level and I have to say I've found a new love.
Purslane, often called a "superweed," and considered by many as a nutritional goldmine, is known to have the highest Omega 3 content of any plant in the kingdom. While plant sources of Omega 3 contain strictly ALA, the presence of Vitamin D in purslane should help it convert to EPA and DHA (other essential Omega-3 fatty acids that are more commonly found in fish and algae) in the body. Purslane also contains more beta-carotene than carrots, more vitamin E than spinach (according to the Farmer's Almanac), and more.
Maybe the best part is that purslane is basically a weed - it needs little water and grows and propagates easily so also a good choice for environmental reasons. Like many greens, it's versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked, can be used in smoothies, salads, spreads and more. You will likely see more recipes with purslane on this blog in the future. I bought a huge bunch of it for $4 at the Farmers' Market and will try propagating some of of my own.
All you need for this simple, delicious and nutritious sauce is:
pine nuts (or sub pumpkin or sunflower seeds for nut-free version)
olive oil (use good quality)
fresh lemon juice
salt & freshly ground pepper as desired
Additional ideas for using purslane include:
appetizer: make a green hummus (using leaves only)
salad: add chopped leaves to a summer black bean, corn and zucchini salad
entree: add roughly chopped leaves to an easy clean the fridge stir fry
sauce: try adding chopped leaves to a green enchilada sauce
A few serving suggestions for your pesto include:
appetizer: on a cracker topped with an oven roasted cherry tomato and extra basil
salad: use on pasta & veggies for an easy green pasta salad
entree: use as a topping for wild salmon or grilled shrimp
2 cups purslane, washed and tough stems removed (tender ones okay)
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (can sub with pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp chopped garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1) Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender (like a vitamix, Blendtec, or simply a high-powered Nutribullet) OR a food processor (like a Cuisinart).
2) Blend until smooth. Add water if needed to reach desired consistency.
3) Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (such as a ball jar). Your pesto will last in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to two months.
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