Pistachio Purslane Pesto


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before.  A traditional pesto recipe has the green goodness of sweet basil that requires the zing of a little lemon juice.

Enter purslane, stage right.

Purslane is THE Omega-3 powerhouse of the plant kingdom.  It also has a slightly sour taste to it, making it an ideal companion for your conventional basil pesto.

Here is a informative (and funny) post on purslane by Eat the Weeds.  He writes:

Regardless of what one calls it, purslane contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source in the solar system, and an extraordinary amount for a plant, some 8.5 mg for every gram of weight. It has vitamin A, B, C and E — six times more E than spinach — beta carotene — seven times more of that than carrots — magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, lithium — keep you sane — iron and is 2.5% protein.

Two pigments, one in the leaves and one in the yellow blossoms, have been proven anti-mutagenic in lab studies, meaning they help keep human cells from mutating, which is how cancer gets started. And you get all that for about 15 calories per 100 gram (three ounce) serving. As a mild diuretic, it might even lower your blood pressure as well. Mexicans call it Verdolagao and its name in Malawi translates politely as “buttocks of the chief’s wife”, a possible reference to the plump leaves.

Buttock’s of the chief’s wife (smile).  Well, Omega-3 fats are good for fertility…

While romping the local farmer’s market in Ojai, CA the other day…I came upon basil…  “Pesto,” I thought.  I then saw purslane…and had to get some because of its delightful taste (also cooling and slightly mucilaginous…perfect for spring and summertime).  Later, in the kitchen, I figured out it would be rad to add it to my pesto.

As well, while at the farmer’s market…I met a farmer with a pistachio orchard.  They are so yum.  And, pistachios happen to be very high in vitamin B6 (which a lot of people are deficient in) and pretty high in thiamine (B1).


So…all these ingredients ended up hanging out with each other.

And now, the recipe.

I like to hand-chop my pestos because they just get too mushy in food processors.  At least, for my taste.  Try it yourself.  I have converted others to hand-chopping their pesto ingredients…maybe you are next?

As well, I tend to eyeball my recipes…so go with your taste buds!  I mean, even when you follow a recipe, you end up using less of this and adding more of that…so…here is what I (roughly) measured out for my pesto recipe…


Pesto, ready to enjoy!

Pistachio Purslane Pesto
Makes 2 cups

2 bunches of sweet basil, well chopped
1 bunch of purslane
1 clove garlic, diced
Palm full of pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 palm full of sunflower seeds, coarsely chopped
Sea salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
EV olive oil, pour and mix until all ingredients are covered well and then some


For you foragers out there, you can also add chickweed (Stellaria media) or plantain (Plantago spp) to your super green goodness pesto.  Chickweed is abundant in the spring months when things are super cool out there…otherwise, you really can’t find it any other time of year.  Plantain can be found throughout the seasons.


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