Monday, July 25, 2011

Mediterranean Lettuce Salad Recipe with Purslane, Mint, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Sumac-Lemon Vinaigrette

There's a lot to love about this Mediterranean Lettuce Salad with Purslane!

In case anyone reading this might have a fleeting thought that lettuce salads are boring, let me start by telling you that this Mediterranean Lettuce Salad with Purslane, Mint, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Sumac-Lemon Vinaigrette was one of the most exciting things I've made for weeks.  First, there's Sumac, one of my favorite flavors and a seasoning I think many Americans are missing out on.  Then there is Purslane, one of the healthiest plants in the world.  (Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acid than any other plant.)  Plus, if you have a garden you can probably find Purslane growing as a weed!  Take Sumac and Purslane and add red leaf lettuce, mint, cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, and lemon and you have most of my favorite summer flavors, combined in a salad that's about as healthy as you can get!

I've been interested in Purslane since first I tried it in Chopped Middle Eastern Salad with Purslane.  Now that I have gravel around my garden beds it's not as abundant at my house, but I still found this much growing among my veggies when I went out to pick it last week!  I did giggle a little when I found that you can buy Purslane seeds, after years of trying to get rid of the weeds.  If you have a good farmers market you may find Purslane for sale there.  (Edit:  Don't confuse Purslane with a weed called Spurge, which irritates the eyes and skin and is poisonous to some animals.  Purslane leaves and stems are much thicker, almost like a succulent.)

If you're picking your own Purslane, it can be pretty dirty.  I washed it in the sink, then chopped it up and washed it again in the salad spinner.

I guess I forgot to take a photo of the dressing, but here is a picture of Sumac, which you can order from, The Spice House, or Penzeys. (Full disclosure: Kalyn's Kitchen does earn a few cents on the dollar when you purchase through the link to, thanks!)  If you don't want to buy Sumac, just add a little more lemon.

I swore I bought red leaf lettuce for the salad (not sure why it doesn't look red!)

I used a generous amount of chopped mint.

I'm just starting to get garden cucumbers, so I used Persian cucumbers from Costco.

I don't have garden tomatoes yet either, so I used grape tomatoes, also from Costco!

Toss all the salad ingredients together with enough dressing to moisten it, season with salt, pepper, and more ground Sumac as desired, and enjoy!  (I thought this stayed pretty well overnight in the refrigerator for a salad with lettuce and tomatoes, but it's best freshly made.)

Mediterranean Lettuce Salad with Purslane, Mint, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Sumac-Lemon Vinaigrette
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn, with dressing inspired by Fattoush.)

Salad Ingredients:
3 cups chopped red or green leaf lettuce
2-3 cups chopped Purslane (or just use what you find if you don't have that much)
1 cup diced tomatoes, or grape tomatoes cut in half
1 cup diced cucumbers
1-2 cups chopped fresh mint (or use parsley if you're not a mint fan)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground Sumac + more for sprinkling on salad
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil (use a flavorful olive oil for this)

Wash Purslane well if you're picking it from your garden.  I washed it in the sink, then removed roots and chopped the stems and leaves and washed again in the salad spinner.

Chop lettuce, wash, and spin dry or dry with paper towels.  Pull mint leaves off stems, wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels, and then coarsely chop mint leaves.  Cut cucumbers into small half-moon slices (you may need to peel them if you don't use Persian cucumbers.) Chop tomatoes, or cut cherry tomatoes in half.

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup mix together the lemon juice, minced garlic, ground Sumac, and salt.  Whisk in the olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the dressing is well-blended.  

Put all salad ingredients into a bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, sprinkle with more Sumac as desired, and serve.  This salad keeps fairly well overnight in the fridge, but it's best freshly made.

South Beach Suggestions:
Everything in this salad is a low-glycemic ingredient, making it a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

More Interesting Ideas with Purslane or Sumac:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Chopped Middle Eastern Salad with Purslane from Kalyn's Kitchen
Fattoush (Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad) from Kalyn's Kitchen
Garbanzo Bean Soup with Garlic, Sumac, Olive Oil, and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Sumac from Kalyn's Kitchen
Greek Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Purslane from Healthy Green Kitchen
Purslane Salad from YogurtLand
Ideas for Using Purslane from Israeli Kitchen
Purslane Salad with Yogurt from Almost Turkish Recipes
Chickpea Salad with Purslane and Arugula from Kitchenography
Tomato, Cucumber, and Purslane Salad from Simply Recipes
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. This is perfect. Something I would have for dinner right now. But then most of your food is like that! I'm addicted to sumac and a little sprinkle of it on anything adds zing and color.

  2. Kelsum, thanks so much! I love your blog too, so we must like the same kinds of foods. Wish we could have dinner together and I'd make this. Also addicted to Sumac here!

  3. This looks wonderful! I haven't tried using sumac before. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. I'm betting you will love Sumac if you try it. Really adds such a light but interesting flavor to so many things!

  5. Kalyn, Your readers should know that purslane has a poisonous copycat. I almost started throwing it into my smoothies last year and I'm so glad I did some research first. The poisonous one has a milky fluid that comes out of the stalks and the purslane doesn't. Also, the purslane is more upright while the poisonous one (called spurge I believe) sprawls more. Also, purslane has thicker stalks and the poisonous one has thinner stalks.

  6. Another pretty salad Kalyn! I never knew those "weeds" were called purslane and that they were edible. I don't have sumac, but I have zaatar, so I'll try making your vinaigrette with that.

  7. Jeanie, thanks for that. I don't think spurge really looks that similar to Purslane myself, but I will add a caution.

  8. Jeanette, I think Za'atar will be great in this!

  9. Every time I read your blog, I discover a new plant I MUST grow in my garden. Purslane is now on the list. What a beautiful salad!

  10. Dara, you can probably find it growing wild, unless you're MUCH better than I am at keeping the weeds pulled. If not, I have plenty at my house!

  11. Nice one Kalyn...glad you gathered up that purslane and made a delicious and nutritious salad with them!

  12. Thanks Peter! I really did love the salad.

  13. You always have such amazing looking salads! This sounds great on a hot day like today! :)

  14. Thanks, I am definitely a salad freak! (Very hot here too!)

  15. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I wonder how I can encourage purslane to grow as a weed in my garden. I don't have any, and I'd love to be able to harvest for a salad. I guess I'm going to have to buy some of those seeds.

  16. Lydia, it's funny but I found myself thinking about getting the seeds and just turning over a section of the garden to it next year. But then I might end up with it everywhere! It seems pretty hearty and mildly invasive, so be careful with it if you do plant some.

  17. Exotic! We used to make sumac lemonade in the summer with the sumac from the neighbor's house, so you could possibly forage for it as long as it's not the poison sumac type . . .

  18. Ah! If only my CSA were still bringing me lettuce by the truckload! This does sound like it would make for an exciting lunch!

  19. Ohm what a perfect salad! I wonder if I've pulled up purslane without knowing what it was before....! Those are gorgeous tomatoes - well done Costco :0

  20. Elizabeth, I'm intrigued by the idea of Sumac lemonade!

    Joanne, it was so flavorful and good.

    Jeanne, Costco has the best produce here. I do get a lot of things from my garden this time of year, but Costco produce is consistently good all year round.

  21. Well, you got me excited about this salad, Kalyn! Now I'm wondering if I have purslane growing in my yard or anywhere on our property. (The next walk with the dog might be a more interesting one.) I like the recommendation on Za'atar seasoning because I have that on hand. :-) Thanks, Kalyn. I love getting your salad ideas!


  22. Thanks Shirley! I think it grows all over North America, so I'm betting you'll find some.

  23. Oh my goodness, Kalyn. I've seen that dastardly weed purslane and know it is very different from spurge. I must pick some and add it to my green creations and smoothies. Reminds me of miners lettuce, which grows wild in the fields of the Gold Country here--very edible and nice in a salad.

  24. Chris, several people have told me about Miner's Lettuce so I'm thinking it's something I must plant next year!

  25. I grow Purslane in France and love it ~ your recipe looks fabulous, so I must try it soon! I have been promoting the benefits of Purslane for years now so it is so nice to see this post!
    Karen @ Lavender and Lovage

  26. Karen, how fun to hear from someone in France! I had heard that Purslane was popular in the markets there. I'm thinking I should grow a patch of it so I have a more plentiful supply!

  27. Purslane is eaten a lot in Lebanon, in fattoush, and also as a replacement for spinach or other greens; it is amazing to me that something that was discarded for years is now being introduced in American restaurants as mâche, a fancy green, and sold at Wholefoods for a hefty price! You made a beautiful salad/close to fattoush!

  28. Thank you! I learned to make Fattoush from a Lebanese reader and absolutely love it!

  29. Perfect timing! I am getting purslane in my veggie box this Friday.

  30. Elkit, hope you love the salad as much as I do!

  31. I don't think I've ever tried Sumac dressing before but with how beautiful this salad looks, I might just buy some soon. This looks wonderful!

  32. Jenn, I am crazy about the lemony flavor of Sumac! Hope you will try it.

  33. So funny, for years we picked purlane as a weed. We HATED it and hoed and pulled till they're all but gone. And then...haha, we learn it's SOOOO good for you.
    Such is life!

  34. Charissa, it's pretty funny isn't it?

  35. Since returning from Israel, the hubs and I can't get enough of these flavors. They really know how to do it right!

  36. Cara, I love the food from that part of the world!

  37. love the recipe...its very tasty...but most of all, the photographs are a real treat for the eyes!!!

  38. Scandlous, so glad you enjoyed the recipe and photos.


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