Quick note: For those of you with questions about the “A Nourished Start“Breakfast Carnival that I will be hosting not this Friday but the next, I’ve updated the page to answer your questions.
Once you have harvested wild nettles, you have to do something with them! I decided to make the classic nettle soup. A simple soup made from potatoes, broth, onion and garlic, and, of course, nettles combine into a creamy soup with a subtle nettle overtone. Simple, nourishing and delicious too!
What do nettles taste like? It’s hard to say! I am sure that it can vary , but the ones we just picked were very mild. In this soup, though I packed a lot of nettles in, we felt it was pretty subtle. My husband said you never felt like you could fully taste the flavor. Right when you thought you could fully experience the flavor, it would elude you. I would say that this soup would taste very similar if made with spinach, but that nettles add their own tang to it. It almost tasted like the soup had a sprinkle of lemon juice added to it.
Regardless, nettles are wonderful for their nutritional profile, and this simple soup hits the spot. I carefully dumped my nettles (stems and all) into my salad spinner to wash and dry, and then carefully, using a kitchen towel to help me, picked up a nettle stem and transferred it to a cutting board to cut off the leaves. If you have kitchen gloves, this whole process will be much easier.
To ratio of potatoes to nettles is completely up to you. I packed a lot of nettles in, and it tasted great! But you could use less, if that’s all you had. If you would like, you could add a few dashes of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for more flavor and tang. I am sure there are a lot of ways to dress this basic soup up!
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through the garlic press
Olive oil or coconut oil
8 cups of broth (I used chicken broth)
4-6 potatoes, peeled and cubed (more potatoes- thicker and more creamy, less-thinner)
6-8 cups of packed and washed nettle leaves
1-In a large soup pot, heat the oil until hot, and add the onion. Sprinkle a little salt over it and saute until the onion starts to soften (about 5-7 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two more.
2-Add the broth and potatoes and bring to a simmer, turn down heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. (If using homemade broth, I also like to salt it a bit at this stage too).
3-Now add the nettles leaves, and cook for about five more minutes. You can just mash up the soup a bit with the back of a wooden spoon for a rustic soup, or you can puree it into a smooth soup (which we did and prefer). For those who can have dairy, finishing this soup off with some cream would be great too. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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Michelle @ Find Your Balance
How interesting! Is this really a classic soup? I’ve never heard of it. Shows how much I know, ha!
Yes, it is! Nettles grow in the season when a lot of people in the past would be running out of grain, so they were often vital to their survival. 🙂
dry them and tehn use for tea, it is delicious , in fact my favorite and so good for many ailments too , even diabetes.
I just found this site the other night: http://fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com/ and it’s full of nettle and dandylion recipes. He is in Seattle so the same foraging landscape that you have. Maybe you’ll find some other cool nettle dishes to make and then post on.
ps this is also a very cool recipe you’ve posted – didn’t mean to not mention it! I tried nettles several times this spring and got stung both times. Then I was sting-shy and overcooked them to mush. I need to give them another shot!
Hi Sustainable Eats,
Thanks so much for the link! I am excited to check it out. 🙂 It can be easy to be paranoid about the “stings”. I know I was! But it seemed to cook out perfectly in just a few minutes, just like others have told me. Do try it again! You may really like it! 🙂
Hi, I tought that Iam old fashion going foraging for few hands of nettle to make such a wanderfull soup which was a every start of a spring for my grandmother, it is changing your blood with a new one she was saying, well she had right cos netttles are full with iron and many other good stuff, but be carefull it may constipate you so moderation is the key.
Great website and thanks for all the posts.
Great recipe! I made it, and a nettle lasagna and some nettle pesto after harvesting a huge grocery bag stuffed with nettles. My biggest challenge was washing/drying them all. That took the most time.
Krystal Wight Armstrong
Perhaps a silly, random question- but, do you think this same kindof soup recipe would work with pureed asparagus, instead of nettles? Not sure if that actually has any business in a potato-based soup, but thought I’d ask. Sounds really good either way. Since reading some of your nettle posts almost a year ago, I’ve been interested in making soups with them, but I’m not sure I’d find them here in Texas.
I read somewhere that you don’t have to take the stalks off( especially if you are going to blend the soup). I tried it and its fine with them in (it’s a lot quicker and easier as well!) It’s nice with a bit of grated nutmeg as well.