Not Your Average Nettle Soup Recipe

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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.
An unconventional nettle soup!

Traditions aside…

Nettle soup is eaten in various parts of the world, and traditional recipes vary from place to place. In general, nettle soups often have potatoes and cream, and are blended until smooth.

This nettle soup recipe is quite a bit different from the others. I don’t see any reason to stick to tradition, (unless you want to). But why not think about stinging nettles as we would any other green leafy ingredient? The only rules for this nettle soup are:

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

It’s kinda liberating, right?

This unconventional nettle soup is creamy and brothy, and has just the right amount of salt and heat to make it interesting. It’s a must-try, in my humble opinion.

A couple of bowls of nettle soup, ready to be devoured.

What Ingredients do you need for this nettle soup?

  • Stinging Nettles: But honestly, this could be any leafy green vegetable.
  • Onion: Kinda important for soup in general (that’s a rule I rarely break).
  • Oil or Butter: I’m into butter for this, but if you’re not into that, 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 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 heat, 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 both 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.
Wild nettles growing on the side of the road. A total jackpot!

How to make this nettle soup

This nettle soup recipe is super simple to make. Here’s how you put it together:

Step 1 – Pick the stinging 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.
A fresh nettle harvest. Don’t forget your gloves!

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 plunge 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 and add 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 pot.

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

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

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

chopped stinging nettles on a cutting board.
Blanched, chopped nettles – ready for the soup.

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! Add a few cracks of black pepper if you fancy!

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! 

I prefer a blended soup. Can I blend this?

Sure! If you want your soup to be silky smooth, use an immersion blender to blend it before serving. You can also do a partial blend if you want a bit more texture in your nettle soup.

Can I make this nettle soup in a slow cooker?

Since this is such a quick-cooking soup, I don’t recommend using the slow cooker. In order for the nettles to stay nice and bright green, it’s best to cook the soup just until the potatoes are soft. It comes together really quickly!

Still Hungry?

If you’re into this nettle soup recipe, 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.

Not Your Average Nettle Soup

We've been making nettle soup the same way for a while now. Let's mix it up!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Soups & Stews
Servings 2 bowls

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
 

  • Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat and add the butter (or oil).
  • Chop the onion, garlic, and ginger, add them to the pot along with a pinch of salt, and sweat for 2-3 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Add the coconut aminos (or soya sauce, depending on what you’re using).
  • 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. 
  • While the potatoes are softening, chop the chilli pepper, and the nettles as finely as you can, and add them to the soup. 
  • 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.

Video

Notes

This recipe starts with prepared nettles. For instructions on harvesting, cleaning, and blanching stinging nettles, see the info in the blog post above.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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