Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weeds? Looks Like Food to Me!

One day in the front yard garden I was complaining to my neighbor about a rather prolific weed that was crowding out my beets, collard greens, kale, and chard.  She said she thought is was purslane.  We asked a particularly knowledge-able neighbor and he said it was!  He also identified another common weed to my garden as lamb's quarters, also known as wild spinach.  Both of these "weeds" are way more nutritious than what I thought were some of the most nutritious foods I could plant.  To see photos of lamb's quarters click.  To see photos of purslane click.

So, I weeded once again and here is the edible pile of purslane and lamb's quarters in the sink.  Hosed it down and separated leaves from stem and I have a whole crisper full of healthy greens!  I ate both yesterday.  I had a salad prepared with a marinated tofu and peanut dressing.  This was meant for some collard greens, so I combined the small purslane leaves with the collard greens.  Was delicious!  I do not know if I would like the purslane on it's own.  It is small in size and thick, kind of like a jade plant's leaves, but not quite so thick.  Not sure about that texture, but willing to try anything that nutritious! Mixed to the right ratio in any salad would be great. I assume they would be delicious in a green smoothie, as well.  Not recommended for cooking, but try it if you like okra.  There's a slime factor to okra and the same is true of the cooked purslane.  Here's a close up:

My true favorite weed so far is the wild spinach or lamb's quarters.  This is supposed to be 10 times more nutritious than regular spinach varieties and if that is the case, I find it to be 10 times more delicious as well.  My favorite recipe for anytime of year is Spanakorizo - a Greek rice dish with lots of spinach.  My version also has beans and sometimes a scrambled egg for protein.  This dish is filling, comforting, tasty, and super nutritious (with the lamb's quarters 10 times more so it seems!).  Here's the recipe:


in Greek: σπανακόριζο or σπανακόρυζο, pronounced spah-nah-KOH-ree-zoh

This is the traditional recipe for this delicious dish that is a warming and hearty meal in itself or it can be served as a side dish with a light entree. Try topping with a sprinkle of crumbled feta or some Parmesan.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 1/4 pounds of fresh spinach, chopped, washed, drained
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cups of olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 1/3 cups of long-grain rice
  • 5 1/4 cups of water
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)


In a stock pot, sauté the chopped spring onion in the oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add spinach and 1 1/3 cups of water and cook until the spinach wilts, about 5-7 minutes. Add rice and 5 1/4 cups of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice and salt, cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes until the dish "melds."

Serve with wedges of lemon and freshly ground pepper.

Here's a picture of the final product:

Now, you might not be ready for harvesting weeds for the kitchen, but the idea is to get out there and try new and healthy foods, because they're readily available, if you get creative!  How will you create something new, healthy and delicious this week?

No comments:

Post a Comment