The *New* Nettle Soup Recipe

Spring is such an exciting season food-wise. When the ground starts to defrost and green stuff starts popping up, it really feels like a rebirth. One of my favourite spring activities is to pick stinging nettles from the side of the road and make stinging nettle soup. So I’m excited to share my current favourite nettle soup recipe!

a bowl of stinging nettle soup.

This nettle soup recipe is quite a bit different from others I’ve followed in the past. I think there’s a general understanding of how nettle soup is made, and for the most part, we stick to it. But why not approach stinging nettle soup as if there are no rules? 

I’m calling this “The New Nettle Soup” not because I think everyone should adopt this recipe as the new one to follow (although I think you should all probably make it, at least once, because it is really good). 

Instead, it’s a suggestion for us to think about wild stinging nettles as we would any other green leafy ingredient that pops up in the spring. The only rules:

  • Stir in some delicious flavour
  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t overcook it.

How liberating is that?!

This nettle soup is creamy, and brothy, and has just the right amount of salt and heat to make it interesting. I hope you like it!

What Ingredients do you need for this nettle soup?

  • Stinging Nettles: But honestly, this could be any leafy green thing
  • Onion: Kinda important for soup in general (that’s a rule I rarely break)
  • Oil or Butter: I’m feeling butter, but if you’re not into that kinda thing, coconut oil is a great option. Olive oil works too.
  • Ginger: Fresh is preferred, but powdered, ground ginger is nothing to scoff at. Just use way less than you would fresh.
  • Garlic: Again, a soup staple that I rarely do without. I think garlic powder would also work here.
  • Red chilli: For a gentle kick. If you’re not into kicks, however gentle, use finely chopped tomato or bell pepper instead. The red flecks really add something.
  • Water: Yep, no fancy stock required here. Water does the trick.
  • Potato: There are few things I enjoy more than biting into chunks of waxy potato in soup. It also adds a nice body and thickness to the broth.
  • Coconut aminos or soya sauce: They do the same thing, which is to add a salty richness to the broth. Coconut aminos are a great option for folks who are sensitive to soy.
  • Coconut milk: Use the thick part! If you only have runny coconut milk, you might reduce the amount of water that goes in, or the soup will be too watery.
wild stinging nettles.

How to make The New Nettle Soup

The new nettle soup is very simple to make. Here’s how you put it together:

Step 1 – Pick the nettles – Haha ok, this step is a bit more involved than the others. But instead of diving into explaining this process (because we’re here for soup), I encourage any nettle-newbies to read this article which explains the harvesting process very well.

a bag of harvested stinging nettles.

Step 2 – Wash the nettles by agitating them vigorously in a large volume of cold water. A sink or large bowl works great. All the little bugs or bits of dirt should sink to the bottom. (Keep your gloves on for this part.)

Step 3 – Blanch the nettles by cooking them in boiling water for about 90 seconds, and then plunging them into very cold water to stop the cooking. At this point, the stinging nettles won’t sting anymore and you can do away with the gloves. 

blanched stinging nettles in ice water.

Step 4 – Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat and add the butter (or oil).

Step 5 – Chop the onion, garlic, and ginger, add them to the pot along with a pinch of salt, and stir/sweat for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.

Step 6 – While the onion mixture sweats, chop your potato into whatever size you like. I tend to end up with scrabble-tile-sized pieces, but you can go finer if you prefer. Add the potato to the onions.

Step 7 – Add the coconut aminos (or soya sauce, depending on what you’re using). This will deglaze (pull up) any bits of caramelized onion that might’ve stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Step 8 – Add the water and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce the heat back to medium, pop a lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. 

Step 9 – While the potatoes are softening, chop the nettles and the chilli pepper as finely as you can, and add them to the soup. 

chopped stinging nettles on a cutting board.

Step 10 – Finally, add the coconut milk to the soup. Adjust the consistency with extra water if needed, and check for seasoning. It should be spot on, but if you need a hint more salt, now’s the time to add it. If you find that it’s too salty (whoops), you can add more coconut milk to tone it down.

Step 11 – Serve in your favourite bowls and enjoy!

a bowl of stinging nettle soup.

What goes well with this Nettle Soup?

This soup is perfect on its own. It would also be great with a bowl of rice beside it, or a scoop of rice right on top. This soup makes a lovely light dinner or can be eaten as a first course.

This nettle soup would also be wonderful with some homemade flatbread for dipping!

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Tips

  • This soup is best eaten right away, but it will also keep in the fridge for 4-5 days in a sealed container.
  • To reheat from the fridge, use a small pot over medium heat on the stove until the soup comes to a gentle boil. A microwave also does the trick (I like using a glass measuring jug when reheating soup in the microwave).
  • You can also make this soup in larger batches and freeze it. If you have lots of nettles to work with, freezing is a perfect option! 
  • To reheat the soup from frozen, defrost it in the fridge first, then bring it to a boil on the stovetop or in the microwave. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have stinging nettles but I really want to make this soup?

No problem! Just use spinach instead. You can even use frozen, chopped spinach if you’d like! Just squeeze out all the water before you use it.

I don’t like coconut milk. What can I use instead?

Sure thing. Just finish the soup with sour cream or heavy cream. It’ll be great! 

Still Hungry?

If you’re feeling this nettle soup, I think you might also enjoy these other vegetarian soups:

I hope you love my *New* Nettle Soup Recipe! If you make it, be sure to tag me on Instagram @howtomakedinner.

Happy spring!

a bowl of stinging nettle soup.

The New Nettle Soup

Yield: 2 bowls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

We've been making nettle soup the same way for a while now. Let's mix it up!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 small waxy potato, like Yukon Gold
  • 200 grams blanched, squeezed out stinging nettles
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or soya sauce
  • 1/2 can coconut milk - use the thick part!

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat and add the butter (or oil).
  2. Chop the onion, garlic, and ginger, add them to the pot along with a pinch of salt, and sweat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. While the onion mixture sweats, chop your potato into whatever size you like. I tend to end up with scrabble-tile-sized pieces, but you can go finer if you prefer. Add the potato to the onions.
  4. Add the coconut aminos (or soya sauce, depending on what you’re using).
  5. Add the water and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce the heat back to medium, pop a lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. 
  6. While the potatoes are softening, chop the chilli pepper, and the nettles as finely as you can, and add them to the soup. 
  7. Finally, add the coconut milk to the soup, adjust with extra water if needed, and check for seasoning. It should be spot on, but if you need a hint more salt, now’s the time. If you find that it’s too salty (whoops), you can add more coconut milk to tone it down.

Notes

This recipe starts with prepared nettles. For instructions on harvesting, cleaning, and blanching stinging nettles, see the info in the blog post above.

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