Nettles are an excellent natural antihistamine and can be a helpful tool for those of us with seasonal allergies. A European culinary favorite, Stinging Nettle's spinach-like greens are remarkably nutritious and antioxidant. One cup of Nettle is abundant in calcium, iron and zinc, and contains ample amounts of magnesium, copper, selenium and potassium plus vitamins A and C. It also works as a diuretic and supports the lymphatic system, making it an exceptional detoxifier for the body. Nettle leaf may also help improve nutrient absorption in the gut, and has been used medicinally to treat enlarged prostate.
If cooked leafy greens aren't your jam, you can still reap the health benefits of Stinging Nettle by steeping 2 tablespoons of crushed dried leaves in boiling water for 5-10 minutes taking them in capsule, tablet, or extract form. Whether as a food, beverage, or herbal supplement, Nettle is a safe herb for most adults, with the exception of women who are pregnant or nursing, so check with your health practitioner about the best way to add this amazing herb to your diet.
Your local farmer's market or organic grocer are the best places to find stinging nettles, or you can forage for them since they grow abundantly here in the Northwest. Just be sure to do your homework so you know you're picking the right plant! This soup is a delicious way to help fend off those allergy season symptoms, so give it a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Makes about 4-5 servings. Prep Time: about 30 minutes.
- 8 cups stinging nettles (about 2 large bunches of 7-8 stems each with leaves)
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 Tbsp organic, grass-fed ghee OR organic extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 4 cups organic, free range chicken broth OR organic vegetable broth
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh (zest the lemon before juicing)
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 cups cauliflower, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- Sea Salt to taste
- 4-5 tsp Organic extra virgin olive oil
Avoid the sting! Wear protective gloves when handling fresh nettles to avoid getting stung. Blanching the nettles removes the sting making them safe to handle.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While the water is heating, fill a large bowl of ice water and set aside.
- Put on your protective gloves and place the nettle tops into the boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes. Use tongs to lift the blanched nettles out of the pot and put them into the bowl of ice water to shock them. Strain in a colander.
- Trim any large stems off the nettles with scissors and throw them away.
- In a large stock pot heat the ghee or olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until fragrant and slightly translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, mustard, chicken/vegetable broth, sea salt and pepper and sauté for another 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
- Finely mince the lemon zest for garnish while the soup is cooking.
- Add the nettles and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Season to taste with sea salt and add lemon juice if desired.
- Drizzle each serving with 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with a little lemon zest before serving.