On a trip to the farmers’ market last weekend, I was delighted to see that stinging nettles have started to appear again. It’s that time of year where they are ready for foraging (or, if you’re like me and have never yet found a nettle patch growing in the wild, buying from your local market). It’s fortuitous really that nettles begin growing at this time of year, as they’re one of nature’s best antihistamines, and are great to eat on a regular basis if you suffer from seasonal allergies.
Whether eaten in a soup or drunk as tea, nettles are full of iron and many other nutrients, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to find them growing, are a free food source!
This effortless nettle soup is delicious and quick to make. I like to keep the ingredients simple as the taste of nettle really deserves to shine through and can easily be overpowered. Enjoy this recipe as a light meal or an elegant starter.
Ingredients (makes 2 portions)
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium potato, cubed
1 medium carrot, cubed
3 cups vegetable stock
3 packed cups stinging nettles
Salt & pepper
Garlic olive oil
¼ cup toasted walnuts
Method (20 minutes)
Place the onion, garlic, potato, carrot and vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the nettles and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and pour the soup mixture into a blender. Blend on high for 20 seconds until the soup is almost smooth, then return it to the saucepan.
Heat gently and season with salt and pepper.
When the soup is heated through, divide it between two bowls and garnish with sprouts, toasted walnuts and garlic olive oil.