Recipe Redux- Green Herbs in the Kitchen

Nettle- Some rights reserved by James Bowe

Nettles-Some rights reserved by James Bowe

This month’s Recipe Redux asked us to use a green herb in a different way, or to highlight a rarely used herb.
Nettles (Urtica dioica) are my favorite springtime herb, one that many people aren’t aware of as food, but I love in this Nettles Soup recipe.
They are a bit like the season-vibrant, bitter, prickly with just a bit of a bite from the venom.

Yes, Venom.

Stinging nettles have an interesting way of protecting their stores of Iron, Calcium, vitamin A and vitamin K all wrapped up in a non fat, high fiber package.

To get those vitamins in your body requires picking before the venom pockets are filled and steaming or sauteeing the leaves to breakdown the stingers.

What you are left with is a brilliant green powerhouse of nutrition.

So gather your gloves and long pants, look for an area that has had a bit of disturbance and pick NOW before they flower.

We routinely pick enough to blanch and keep in the freezer for this kind of soup later.

We dry the leaves for a tasty tea to help with seasonal allergies later in spring too.


Twins making dinner. Yeh!

Our twins actually made the soup.
Onions browning this is what the onions look like when ready.

Winter squash, chard and turkey soup #gluten-free
This is just before you add the broth.


Winter Squash, Turkey and Nettle soup
Recipe type: Soup Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
When the first nettles of spring sprout in Bellingham, this is the soup I make. Using the last of our stored winter squash, combined with organic turkey meat and broth, this soup satisfies
  • 1 large onion-diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 turban squash or other winter squash- baked, cooled and mashed
  • 2 cups diced turkey meat
  • 2 cups chopped chard
  • 1 cup chopped nettles
  • 1 quart turkey broth
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cook onion with olive oil in large deep pan till well browned and soft.
  2. Add the mashed squash, turkey meat, chopped chard and nettles.
  3. Cook till the greens become bright and vibrant
  4. Add turkey broth, salt and pepper.
  5. Cook till warmed through.
  6. Serve with bread or rice.


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7 Responses to Recipe Redux- Green Herbs in the Kitchen

  1. Rosemary C April 8, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    This looks lush. I have used nettles when I had my own garden but I never thought to combine them with something sweet like winter squash. That’s a great way to balance the slightly bitter taste. I will go look for some nettles and try this!

  2. Holly March 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Wow! I didn’t know you could eat nettles!

    • Dr. Jean Layton March 26, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      As long as they are young, you really get amazing nutrition from them. High in Iron, and Vitamin C, they are so welcome after a long winter.

  3. Serena March 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I’m so excited to read this post! I had cheese with stinging nettles and wondered what they were. Thanks for the scoop. I’d love to try this. Do you know if they grow in Illinois?

    • Dr. Jean Layton March 26, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Serena,
      As far as I know, nettles grow everywhere. Typically they like soil that has been a bit disturbed and damp. Look for them near construction sites and bogs.

  4. Deanna Segrave-Daly March 25, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    I’m so intrigued by this recipe! I’ve never cooked with stinging nettles but this really sounds delicious – thank you (and your twins) for sharing :)

    • Dr. Jean Layton March 25, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Deanna,
      Stinging Nettles can be a bit daunting for folks but so nutritious. Enjoy!

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