Have you ever tried cooking with nettles? They are worth their trouble being high in so many vitamins and minerals. I won’t list them here as there is so much information online about the benefits of eating nettle. Check out what our Australian herb expert says by visiting Isabell Shippard’s site.
Of course the only way to eat nettle is cooked given it has nasty barbs all over the leaves and stems. Blanching in boiling water for 30 seconds will render these harmless, leaving you with a vegetable similar in taste to spinach.
In my pesto recipe, I combine nettles with cashews or macadamias, lime and the usual basil, parmesan, olive oil and salt. After I made this the kids gobbled it down and were surprised when I told them it was full of nettle. Ethan just rolled his eyes and said he wasn’t surprised.
If you don’t have nettles growing wild in your area, they are really easy to grow yourself. Keep them in a pot of course and in a back corner of the garden where noone will accidentally brush past them. I have never ever watered or fertilised mine and as you can see below, they have not suffered.
Check out the massive locust in the middle. He got away before I could feed him to the chickens.
Nettles cook down just like spinach so you need a lot!
Use this delicious mix as a dip, tossed through pasta or as a pizza topping. Enjoy far more health benefits than you would from regular pesto.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 85g fresh nettle leaves which will cook down to 1 cup
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp celtic sea salt
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 1 cup macadamia or cashew nuts
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 50g parmesan cheese - For vegans, leave this out and add more salt or a tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- With sturdy gloves, remove nettle leaves and discard stems into a safe corner of the garden or a compost bin.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and throw the leaves in for 30 seconds. Stir to make sure they are all cooked.
- Drain well in a colander.
- Add nettle with remaining ingredients to a food processor.
- Pulse for chunky pesto or blend on high for a creamy version.
- Serve immediately with crackers, vegetable sticks or tossed through pasta.