Creamy and extra delicious, Greek-style Nettle soup with walnuts and feta. Rich in flavor and extra creamy this soup is a keeper.
When I was browsing (the) Pinterest to find what are people eating in the early days of spring, guess what I did not come across often. Nettle soup! I’m sure some of you might think ‘’what’s that? or ‘’Why would anyone want to eat nettle?’’. If you bear with me though, our creamy nettle soup might make it to your favorites list (or so I hope). It’s that good (for all the green produce lovers at least), pinky promise.
NETTLE BENEFITS: Nettle is one ancient herb, known for its numerous benefits. It contains many goodies such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. (see resources: Evidence-based benefits of stinging nettle or good old Wikipedia)
NETTLE-PICKING TIPS: If you decide to go out in the ‘wild’ and pick your own nettle leaves, consider the following:
- Pick the youngest nettle leaves from tips – as they are most fresh and tender once cooked.
- Use gardening gloves to avoid getting stung (amazon link).
- Choose a region away from city traffic – as any other plant, nettle absorbs dust and dirt from the roads.
COOKING TIPS & SUBSTITUTIONS:
Scallions, fresh (wild) garlic leaves, olive oil and red peppers are key to nettle soup’s good taste. Especially if you can get your hands on wild garlic leaves! However, if you do not have some of these ingredients on hand, substitutions are always possible.
Scallions (or spring/green onions) -> yellow onion head
(Wild) garlic leaves -> garlic cloves
Paprika -> freshly chopped red bell pepper
Walnuts -> hazelnuts
Nettle leaves are not suitable for raw consumption (e.g. in salads). They have to be sautéed/ blanched first. Once cooked, nettle leaves reduce their size to ¼ of original volume. Therefore, in general I tend to stick to 1:4 ratio to get creamier results – one cup sautéed & chopped nettle leaves to 4 cups water.
OFFICE LUNCH: Our creamy nettle soup is an excellent office lunch idea! You can use a thermos-like container (like this one with a spoon) or a plastic leak-proof container (like this container set) – never a bad idea. Nettle soup + some homemade croutons = mmm, yum, yum!
Recipe adapted after my mother-in-law’s famous nettle soup recipe.
Creamy Nettle Soup
- 1 piece of Scallions, chopped
- 1 piece of fresh garlic leaves, or bunch of wild garlic leaves, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 shopping bag ( approx 200g) fresh nettle leaves , picked and washed
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 4 cups of water, for soup (or more as needed)
- 1 tbsp all purpose seasoning , preferably organic
- 2 tbsp melted butter, optional
- 1 cup feta cheese , crumbled for topping
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped , for topping
- Soak nettle leaves in cold water and let sit for 15 min. That way most of the dirt comes off on its own. Then, wash nettle leaves carefully to avoid getting stung (I use rubber gloves).
- Place leaves in a non-stick cooking pan with lid and cover with cold water. Boil for 5-7 minutes, until leaves start to change color (become darker and softer).
- Remove from water and strain well ( I use IKEA colander and press with fork until well strained).
- Place leaves (looking like one wet ball) on wooden cutting board and cut on smaller pieces. The smaller the pieces, the tastier soup will be. Set aside and prepare the soup.
- Chop Scallions, (wild) garlic leaves and saute in a non-stick cooking pan with lid until tender (on medium heat).
- Add paprika & whole wheat flour and sauté for 1-2 min while whisking to prevent mix from burning (see photos above). Add 1/2 cups of water if needed.
- Then add remaining water, butter, chopped & sautéed nettle leaves and stir until all is well combined. It’s recommended to add water slowly and if needed adjust quantity to get creamier soup (e.g. reduce / add liquid if nettle:water ratio seems ‘’off balance’’).
- Bring to a boil on medium heat. Remove from stove top once cooked (around 20 min on my stove).
- Serve warm with feta cheese and chopped walnuts on top (so yummy!).