Verdolagas are an edible plant popular in Mexico and cooked in a delicious salsa verde. Typically it’s made with pork, but this is my vegan version that I promise you’re going to love!
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Have you ever eaten verdolagas?
They are quite popular in Mexico, where typically they’re cooked with pork in a salsa verde called puerco con verdolagas.
Even before going meatless, pork wasn’t one of the meats I enjoyed. So I usually cooked my verdolagas with potatoes instead. Quite simple, but super delicious.
What are Verdolagas in English
Portulaca oleracea or more commonly know as verdolagas or purslane in English.
You can find verdolagas pretty much anywhere in the World. Some believe that purslane is native to the Middle East but was already present in the New World when the Europeans arrived.
Verdolaga is one of the more common quelite herbs with native groups in Central Mexico but now also enjoyed throughout all of Mexico.
If you live in the English speaking country the name you want to look for is purslane.
You’ll be able to find fresh purslane at Mexican food stores, farmers markets and some specialty grocery stores around the United States. If you’re not sure just ask your greengrocer and they’ll be able to guide you on availability.
I seem to find them often here in Mexico but particularly so during the summer and autumn months, it seems. They come in small bunches and aren’t super cheap but not as expensive as in other countries. They’re a treat I love.
If you can’t find it for sale locally you can always buy seeds and grow it yourself. Just be warned that if not properly looked after it will invade your whole garden or yard….which may or may not be a bad thing depending on how much you want to eat of it.
Is Purslane Plant Edible
As you may have guessed it, yes purslane or verdolagas are edible.
They are actually considered a common weed or pest plant by many. They may be growing in your own yard right now — just be extra careful before consuming any plant you’re unsure of. You can go foraging for it but make sure you know exactly what to look for.
Verdolagas look like succulent leaves growing on long thick green stems. The leaves are thick and crisp and the stems snap when fresh. Occasionally you’ll get verdolagas that still have the little bulb on the very top that holds the tiny black seeds. You’ll want to remove that.
Both of the verdolagas leaves and stems are edible. You only need to discard the roots and thicker lower end of the stems – but often times these parts will have already been removed when you purchase them.
How to Prep Purslane for Cooking
Being that this is a “weed” you’ll want to make sure that it’s thoroughly cleaned and all dirt is removed. Specially in the small crevices. But be as gentle as possible because the leaves do fall of easily.
The stems are edible too. When raw they’re crisp and once cooked they do wilt quite a bit.
Personally I’m more a fan of the top part and less so of the bottom stem. So I tend to chop off a good amount of the stem. I sometimes add that chopped part back to the dish or add it to soups. It’s a matter of personal choice.
How to Make Vegan Verdolagas in Salsa Verde
This is one of the easiest dishes to make — specially the veganized version!
- fresh verdolagas
- button mushrooms
- salsa verde made with tomatillos, serrano pepper, onion and garlic clove
- potatoes, optional
To replace the pork protein I’ve substituted button mushrooms in it’s place. The results are even more delicious!
Instead of regular russet or Yukon gold, I’ve used some baby red potatoes. I cooked them in the air fryer to give them a slight crispiness to them. You can omit the potatoes if you’d like.
Make The Salsa
The first step, after gathering your ingredients, is to make the salsa verde. I just used my easy salsa verde recipe. You can make the whole batch then decide how much of the sauce you want to use. If you have any leftovers you can use it as a topping for tacos.
Sauté The Veggies
While the salsa ingredients are boiling you can begin air fry the baby potatoes and start sautéing the mushrooms until soft. Then add the purslane and season with a little salt and some granulated garlic.
While the vegetables are sautéing and if the salsa ingredients are soft, you can blend it. Follow the recipe below.
Add The Potatoes and The Salsa
So once the purslane has begun to wilt a bit, you can add the air fried potatoes. You don’t have to air fry them, you can all bake or boil them. Cooking them before adding to the dish helps cook the verdolagas dish much quicker. If you add them raw then add the salsa, it will take a long time for them to cook.
After the potatoes are mixed in then you can carefully pour in the blended salsa.
The simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
You can add as much of the salsa as you want. This depends on how “saucy” you want the dish.
What Does Purslane or Verdolagas Taste Like
Raw, verdolagas (purslane) have a slight citrusy taste to them. Once cooked I feel it has hints of spinach…that slight earthiness.
Paired with the sweetness of the roasted potatoes, the umami flavor of the mushrooms and the creamy spicy and tanginess of the salsa verde, this is a winning dish all around.
What Can I Substitute the Purslane With
In a pinch, and though it won’t taste the same, you could use mild baby spinach instead.
Mexican Purslane Recipe | My Verdolagas Recipe Made Vegan
Ok amigos, below is the full written down recipe. You’ll see it’s super easy to make these vegan verdolagas recipe. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out by leaving a comment or sending me a DM on Instagram.
Verdolagas | Purslane Recipe with Mushrooms, Potatoes in a Salsa Verde
- 6.25 oz Purslane thoroughly rinsed
- 1/2 lb small red potatoes sliced in halves and boiled or baked or air fried
- 1 lb tomatillos husked removed and rinsed
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 serrano chile stem removed
- 4 garlic cloves stem removed
- 1/2 small white onion cut into large pieces
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
- 15 button mushrooms it’s 9.50oz or 225grams, sliced in half
- 6 cups water for boiling salsa ingredients
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulate onion
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil or your favorite oil
- Slice the potatoes in half then boil until soft or toss with olive oil and a little salt and either bake or air fry until soft. I air fried them at 370F for 10 minutes. Place the tomatillos, chile peppers, garlic and onion into a pot and pour in the water. Allow to simmer until all the vegetables are soft.
- While you wait for the salsa ingredients you can start on the dish. Make sure the purslane doesn’t have any trapped dirt. Remove any damaged leaves. You can cut off a bit of the stem or the majority if you like. I personally cut off most of it because I don’t love the texture of the stems. I leave the thinner stems though.
- Heat the oil in a large pan then add the mushrooms and sauté until they’ve softened through, about 8 minutes. Next add the purslane and sprinkle the granulated garlic, onion and sauté until the purslane leaves begin to wilt. Then mix in the cooked potato halves and stir until well combined.
- By this time the salsa ingredients should be soften, carefully scoop out of the pot into a blender. Add about 1/2 cup of the boiling broth. Then add the cilantro leaves then the vegetable bouillon powder and blend until smooth.
- Carefully pour 3/4s of the salsa into the pot and stir until well combined. You can add more salsa if you want a saucier dish. Also if the salsa is too thick you can add more water or vegetable broth into the pan. Simmer under medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning or salt if desired.
- Serve with refried beans and warm corn tortillas. Enjoy!
- Please notice the Nutrition numbers are estimates and don’t include the tortillas or beans.
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Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…