Pinto Bean, Purslane and Oregano Salad

I have a bumper crop of oregano this year. Homegrown fresh or dried oregano tastes so much better than anything you could ever buy in a store. Purslane also grows in my garden in great abundance. Highly invasive but also high in nutrients like Omega Fatty Acids and vitamins A, C, and E. Thankfully it is pretty easy to remove. This recipe is inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s cookbook, written when she lived in the Southwest. Oregano is a common ingredient in many global cuisines. The Greeks and Spanish have paired this herb with purslane for centuries. In the US purslane is an “emergency” food for some but in a harsh environment foraged regularly by Indigenous people. It is unknown how it reached the Americas before colonization. Purslane is both salty and sour, a bit slimy like okra. This salad is great cold or heated and served with eggs for breakfast. My recipe is vegan but traditional ones probably contained pork. I replaced that protein with pinto beans.

Purslane, Pinto Bean, and Oregano Salad

For the dressing combine in a small bowl….

Juice of 1 small lemon

3 TBSP of olive oil

1 tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

In a medium frying pan saute……….

1 medium anaheim chile with veins and seeds removed-coarsley chopped

1/2 small onion

1-2 cups of loosely packed fresh purslane, washed and roots removed

3 cups of cooked pinto beans

Once cooled to room temperature, place in a bowl or dish, add the dressing and stir. Chill 1 hour before serving.

Origanum spp.

As a member of the mint family Origanum/wild marjoram has its own aromatic essential oils. It is a common perennial found all over the world. Lots of small, ovate shaped, gray/green leaves grow oppositely on a single, downy, square stem (sometimes purplish). These are dotted with very small depressions. This plant grows about 24 inches high. Numerous, tiny ,two lipped white flowers ( with pink or purple tints) grow on erect, terminal clusters. Oregano often appears to grow as a bush shaped patch. It will thrive in just about any soil, tolerates drought, and prefers full sun.

Many older classic herbals leave this herb out as it is more known for culinary use in the US. If you wish to dig deep into the medicinal uses of Oregano you might consider resources originating from Hispanic cultures and countries. Here you will see it used for “cold invasion” or a more bile/pitta constitution. Oregano is gaining more popularity in the west for its antiseptic/antiviral and vasodilating properties. Historically this plant has been used to treat childhood illnesses, headaches, the flu, fever, colds, bronchitis, and asthma. It may help with digestive issues such as colic, gas, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, and parasites. Some herbalists have used it for problems related to menstruation, cramps, headaches, earache, insomnia, inflammation and high cholesterol. Externally it is used as a liniment, poultice, or compress for sprains, injuries, swelling, pain, itchy skin, animal or insect bites/stings, dizziness, and bruising. When inhaled as steam it can help clear and open the lungs, relieving a bad cough. In Hispanic cultures oregano is a popular remedy for conditions of a “spiritual” nature where it might be used in a ritual spray, bath or cleansing.

Energetics:pungent, bitter, warm, dry

Element: air

Contraindications: avoid all but culinary use during pregnancy

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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