While nettles have a reputation as annoying weeds that are better to avoid touching, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a wonderful and beneficial herb, rich in vitamin A, D, K and Iron.
Once tamed and properly cooked, nettles have a similar taste to spinach or other soft greens.
During the summer, young stinging nettles can be seen growing in gardens, parks, fields and even in backyards.
It’s possible to carefully collect some of them (when they are not exposed to animals, especially dogs using them as toilets) and use them to prepare teas, soups or my favorite – nettle pesto.
This recipe can be made in two ways: One is by collecting raw nettles and cooking them before preparing the pesto.
The other way is to use nettle teabags, although this last one can be more expensive but just as tasty
- 2 cups nettle leaves
- 1 cup chopped fresh coriander
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Sea salt
If using fresh nettles (use gloves or tongs):
- Using gloves, separate the leaves from the stems and submerge the nettle leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes
- Discard the stems
- Drain the water from the nettles
- In a large pot add water and 2 tbsp of sea salt and bring to boil
- Reduce the heat
- Place the drained nettles in the pot and let them boil for 2 minutes
- Drain the nettles and let them cool
- Then place them in a food processor or mortar with the rest of the ingredients and mix until obtaining the desired consistency
If using nettle tea bags:
- Simply open the tea bags and empty the dried leaves in a food processor or mortar with the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix until obtaining the desired pesto consistency.