Smooth Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleracea) A lightly bitter leaf with succulent stems. This leafy plant can be used as a direct substitute for lettuce, it has a slightly stronger flavor and a great texture. Rip into pieces and mix with other leaves for a salad. Chop finely or shred, mix with ribbons of carrot, thin slices of cabbage and onion and toss together with a dressing or mayonnaise to make a coleslaw.
This leaf can also be cooked - lightly steam or stir fry in order to retain the vibrant color. It can also be added into stews. Puha, also known as sow thistle is enjoyed in New Zealand as part of a traditional, stewed dish, puha and pork. We are borrowing the name from the Maori culture since the term sow thistle seems derogatory, especially when we consider the flavor and nutrition that these plants have to offer us humans. Sow thistles are renowned for containing omega fatty acids which offer an alternative source for the same oils found in fish.