Remnants of a New Mexico Monsoon

Wild Lamb’s Quarters

In addition to all of the weeds that have sprouted around town, the summer rains have brought gobs of verdolagas to the area. Known in English as Lamb’s Quarters, the bitter greens were used for centuries by the Spanish settlers. The fast-growing weedy plant derives from the Chenopodium family of plants. Though cultivated in some regions, the plant is usually considered a weed in most parts.

High in Nutrition

Lamb’s quarters, like other so-called “weeds” such as purslane and orach are incredibly nutritious. They are high in fiber, protein and are loaded with both Vitamins A and C. Lamb’s quarters also contain manganese, calcium, copper, iron and are high in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Lamb’s Quarters in New Mexico

The most common dish made with verdolagas is called quelites. It’s a great vegetarian dish that can be made year-round. I have always substituted spinach for the lamb’s quarters, since they don’t require back-breaking yardwork. A quick trip to the grocery store is about as much efforts as I care to muster these days.

Easter is preceded by Lent, which is marked by forty days of fasting and penitence starting on Ash Wednesday and ending at the close of Holy week. Traditional foods for Semana Santa include torta de huevo, salmon loaf, vegetarian red chile and quelites. Easter is a moveable feast which is celebrated the Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox, next year the holiday will fall on April 9, 2023.

Quelites Recipe

2 pounds quelites

1 medium onion

1/2 cup dried hearts of the red chile pods

1 quart pinto beans

1/4 cup olive oil

salt to taste

Boil the quelites for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and sauté the onion in the olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. Add the chile hearts and cook another 5 minutes. Drain the beans then add to the quelites and simmer for 15 minutes.

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