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Nettle Soup – Spring Back Into Vigour With This Cleansing Vegan Tonic

Vegan Nettle Soup

When spring finally emerges, I like to banish lethargy and listlessness and thatโ€™s when I start to crave the vitalising, cleansing effect of nettles. I normally have my first bowl of nettle soup in March, but I was a bit late in foraging any from our plot this year. When the day dawned bright and fair on Sunday morning, I was determined to go nettle picking – and I did.

Nettles have been used both as a food and as medicine for centuries. They’re said to stimulate the digestion and purify the blood. Our ubiquitous stinging friends are rich in vitamins A and C as well as trace minerals: iron, potassium, manganese and calcium. The young nettles emerge in spring and this is the best time to gather and eat them. They taste a bit like spinach, but nicer.

Vegan Nettle Soup

Nettle soup is the easiest and most common way to consume this stinging weed. Don’t worry, it won’t bring you out in a rash. When nettles are cooked, they lose their sting. At this time of year, I use them as a general spinach substitute and add them to all sorts of dishes, including stir fries, quiches and curries.

 I know nettles are not to everyone’s taste, but I suspect not many would turn down a bowl of this soup, especially if they didn’t know what it was made of. My mother has surprised visitors on many an occasion over the years by revealing what the soup was after they’d consumed and enjoyed it.

For most purposes, it’s best to take only the nettle tips when foraging as these are the tenderest. Older nettles and leaves can be tough. I tend to take the top 4-6 leaves. Unless you’re happy to grasp the nettle firmly and pick them with your bare hands in CT fashion, it’s best to where rubber gloves or snip them into a basket with a pair of scissors.

Foraged Nettles

The soup is quick and easy to make. Fry up an onion, a leek, garlic and a potato, then add the nettles and water. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then blitz with a blender. I used my Optimum G2.3 platinum series induction blender which turns out a particularly smooth soup. Whatever you use though, you should find the nettle soup has a lovely velvety mouth feel. I make this soup dairy free as I like to think of it as a spring tonic, but you could always use butter instead of oil and add a drizzle of crรจme fraรฎche at the end to make it a bit more special.

It’s hard to see from the photos, but I gave a bit more pizzaz to this nettle soup by drizzling a little wild garlic oil over it when serving. Wild garlic oil is fantastic and I’ve been using it a lot since I spotted a recipe for it at Food to Glow a few weeks ago.

Vegan Nettle Soup
Print
Nettle Soup (vegan)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
A delicious velvety smooth soup that will keep everyone guessing as to the mystery ingredient.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: British
Serves: 4 people
Author: Choclette @ Tin and Thyme
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion - roughly chopped
  • 1 leek - roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sized floury potato - roughly chopped
  • 125 g nettle tops - well washed
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • a little freshly ground black pepper
  • wild garlic oil optional
  • chives optional
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion, leeks and garlic in the olive oil over a moderate heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the nettle tops, water and tamari. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Grate in a little nutmeg and grind in some black pepper, then blitz with a blender. Taste for seasoning and add a little more tamari if needed.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of wild garlic oil and some snipped chives if liked.
Recipe Notes

You can use ยฝ to 1 tsp salt instead of tamari, but it won't have quite the same depth of flavour.

No Croutons Required LogoI’m sending my nettle soup off to No Croutons Required at Tinned Tomatoes.

 

Other nettle recipes you might like

Nettle Soup – PIN IT

Nettle Soup - a traditional spring tonic. Delicious, Dairy-free and Vegan

I use my Optimum Blenders for smoothies, spreads, sauces and even chocolate making. The post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. This helps keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging. Opinions are, as always, my own.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Jane
    10th April 2017

    OMG Jonny picks nettles with his bare hands too – what are these men made of??!

    Jane x

  2. Leave a Reply

    Kate | Veggie Desserts
    10th April 2017

    What a great looking nettle soup! And excellent tips for foraging for nettles. Definitely best to don some rubber gloves!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
    10th April 2017

    I’ve only made nettle soup once and enjoyed it but it was a bit of work to deal with the nettles – I got them from a friend but have not had a ready source since – you seem to have a great plot with all your produce – I like your tradition of spring cleaning with the nettles, so to speak!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      10th April 2017

      Yes spring cleaning with nettles is exactly it. Our plot is decidedly ramshackle these days. We rather lost heart when the deer started to pay regular visits. Nettles is about all it’s fit for these days.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      10th April 2017

      It would be my pleasure Angie. I hope you’d drink it and enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Leave a Reply

    Shaheen
    10th April 2017

    I do love nettle, its my favourite weed to eat, then wild garlic. I love it in soup, but its nice to experiment with it too. Thanks for including my link

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      10th April 2017

      Yes, I’m in complete agreement with you Shaheen on both fronts ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Leave a Reply

    Liv
    10th April 2017

    Wow I’ve never tried nettle I am interested in finding out more of its benefits!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      10th April 2017

      Definitely worth trying if you can, nettles are meant to have loads of benefits.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Janice
    10th April 2017

    This looks amazing. I’ve never actually made nettle soup although I have used nettles as a spinach substitute in a quiche and they were delicious. I should really get out this coming weekend before the nettles become to big and not so tasty.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      10th April 2017

      Nettle soup is one of my favourites. Mind you I say that about most soups ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do get those nettles whilst they’re young and tender.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Amber @ Quite Good Food
    11th April 2017

    I’ve never tried nettle soup before (I’m not sure where I’d find fresh nettle in New Zealand) but I drank nettle tea nearly every day of my pregnancies. It worked wonders to restore my iron levels and is now a go-to for me whenever I’m feeling run down. Such a restorative plant, gotta love nature ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2017

      Yay for nettles. I’m a big fan. My NZ travels were so long ago now, I can’t remember if we saw nettles or not. I’d be surprised if they’re weren’t any though.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Chris @thinlyspread
    11th April 2017

    I haven’t made nettle soup for YEARS – I must don my gloves and get out there (bare hands? Are you insane?!)

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2017

      No not me. It’s CT that doesn’t believe in gloves or girly scissors ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Leave a Reply

    Cathy @ Planet Veggie
    20th April 2017

    I’m always in awe of your foraging – I’m never brave enough to pick stuff from fields/side of the road (must be a London thing – I’m too towny!)

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      22nd April 2017

      Haha, townie indeed. CT who grew up just a few streets away from you is the greatest forager ever!

  10. Leave a Reply

    Debbie Gibson
    6th May 2017

    This looks amazing! I really want to give this a go as its something Ive never made. Always a bit too unsure on what to do with nettles I think. I had no idea that cooking removes the sting. We have loads in our garden every year and I always chop them down and throw them away!! Time for a change I think! Do you put the stems into the soup as well or just the leaves?

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th May 2017

      Hi Debbie. Nettle soup is delicious and a good way to use up some of your garden nettles. It’s best to use the young tips of the nettles only – the top 4-6 leaves. The stems and old leaves are generally too fibrous.

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