This cold noodle salad combines a lot of great flavors and textures to make the perfect summertime meal. It also includes my newly discovered friend, the purslane.
These beautiful and nutritious succulent plants are often weeded from folks’ gardens. Last week, as I was weeding my own garden, I came across this little plant that resembled a jade plant. I decided to let it go, as it simply was too beautiful to pull up from the ground. That exact same day, I was researching edible wild plants (one of my fave things to do), and wouldn’t you know it… the plant I left alone turned out to be something that should be in my garden!
Purslanes were apparently one of Ghandi’s favorite foods, and they are quickly becoming one of mine.
I had never heard of them prior to my recent discovery, but the purslane is actually a nutritional powerhouse! Now that I recognize the greatness of this little plant, I have been encouraging it to spread far and wide in my garden. It seems to prefer the company of my kales to any other veggie. Seriously, so would I …
I have never seen a purslane at the grocery store, unlike it’s edible weed friend, the dandelion. Like I said, I had no clue what it was before I almost weeded the poor thing. But, then again, I’m hardly a foodie. Feel free to substitute fresh green peas, spinach or arugula for the purslane. Those veggies aren’t quite as awesome as the humble purslane, but they’ll do.
Purslane & Mint Pesto Vermicelli Salad – Vegan & Gluten Free
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup raw almonds, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 3-4 tsp tamari or soy sauce (make sure its wheat free, if you need to)
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp ‘Sriracha’ hot sauce, and some more for drizzlin’
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 package (about 7 oz) vermicelli noodles
- 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 large yellow/red/orange bell pepper, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 cup purslane leaves, rinsed
Cook, or soak vermicelli noodles according to package directions. Rinse noodles with cool water, drain and chill briefly in fridge.
Prepare sauce by combining basil, mint, nutritional yeast, soaked raw almonds, tamari, mirin, maple syrup, Sriracha, almond milk, and sesame oil into food processor. Puree until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.
Toss pesto with vermicelli noodles and shredded cabbage. Add in bell peppers and purslane and then garnish with a little more Sriracha sauce.
Directly below is a picture of the purslane. The stalk is thick, red and the leaves are smooth, shiny and succulent. It also has a clear sap when the stem is broken. Isn’t it beautiful?
It can easily be confused with a poisonous plant: the spotted spurge, pictured below.
Don’t eat that stuff!
In all actuality… the spottted spurge leaves are much smaller than the purslane’s leaves, it has spots, and it has a bright white sap when the stem is broken. You can sort of see the sap in the broken stem I am holding.
I repeat, DO NOT EAT THE SPOTTED SPURGE!
***This is by no means a field guide for edible plants. Please, please, please use common sense, and don’t eat anything if you are not positive that it is safe. In, fact, if you have no experience with the purslane, and no way to get in touch with someone who does… just use some peas in your salad. K? ***
On that note, have a Happy Weekend!