Stinging Nettle Recipes: Eat Better Instead Of Fighting

Commonly, nettles are labeled as annoying weeds – but there is a lot of power in the green herb. Nettles are practically a regional superfood, and on top of that they can be harvested everywhere for free. We show which dishes you can prepare with young nettles.

The stinging nettle is much more than an annoying weed that burns and itches unpleasantly when touched. The herb, which seems to grow everywhere, is a real miracle herb: it offers many healthy ingredients, has a draining and anti-inflammatory effect, among other things – and tastes extremely delicious. The sprouts have a spinach-like taste and are so mild that even children eat them with great enthusiasm. Stinging nettles are particularly popular as nettle tea, nettle soup, in pesto, as a salad – or simply chopped up in herb quark.

Good to know: nettles taste best when they are young, i.e. in May. The larger and older the leaves, the more bitter their taste

Stinging nettle is so healthy

Don’t be put off by the burning effect and give the underrated weed a chance. Incredibly healthy, stinging nettle is packed with ingredients that make it a local superfood that you don’t even have to spend money on: stinging nettle is high in iron and high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and silicon. It’s also surprisingly high in protein (7.4 grams per 100 grams) – making it a fantastic source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.

Thanks to its high vitamin C content, it is a booster for the immune system. It also helps flush out the urinary tract and flushes germs and bacteria out of the body. The stinging nettle is considered a support for arthrosis, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Eating nettles: delicious recipes with nettles

With so many healthy ingredients, one might consider not struggling to fight nettles in the garden, but simply turning them into a delicious dish. We have ideas on how to prepare the serrated leaf miracle herb.

In general, you can use nettles in place of spinach in all recipes. As a refinement of colorful salads, the stinging nettle tastes particularly good in combination with lemon juice and fresh herbs.

By the way, you don’t have to be afraid of the stinging hairs: as soon as the fine stinging hairs break, they are no longer “dangerous”. This happens all by itself when cooking, and the hair also breaks off when pureeing or mixing. If you eat the stinging nettle raw in a salad or cut it up into small pieces for the herb quark, simply work the leaves with a rolling pin.

Nettle Spinach

Nettles taste great as a substitute for spinach:

  • 300 g nettle leaves
  • ½ onion
  • 70 ml liquid cream, sour cream or crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp butter or oil


Remove the stalks, wash the nettle leaves and then let them simmer in a little water for about ten minutes.
Then strain and simmer in a pan with a little butter, finely chopped onions, and salt for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Tip: The cooking water contains many healthy ingredients. Therefore do not throw away the water, but use it as a basis for soup, as tea, or for watering plants.

Nettle pesto

  • 100 grams of nettles
  • 100 grams of olive oil
  • 100g Parmesan
  • 60 g pine, sunflower or cashew nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt pepper
  • lemon juice to taste


Wash nettle leaves and shake dry, then puree together with the seeds, oil, and garlic.
Grate and stir in the cheese.
Season with salt, pepper, and possibly a little lemon juice.

Nettle soup

  • 200 g fresh nettle leaves
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 400 ml vegetable broth
  • fresh herbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or canola oil


Sauté onion and garlic in some oil.
Simmer nettle leaves and finely chopped potatoes and carrots in vegetable stock for about 30 minutes, then puree.
Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Nettle chips

Nettle chips are a delicious and healthy snack. And great fun for children – because a bit of fear when eating the actually burning leaves provides excitement and thrills until the first bite. But don’t worry: the leaves are completely harmless when they come out of the pan and won’t burn.

Mix nettle leaves with sunflower or rapeseed oil.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the leaves and fry until crispy.
Remove carefully with a fork and drain on kitchen paper.
Season in a bowl with salt and paprika
Tip: It is best to use unwashed (but of course clean) sheets.

Nettle tea

The tea made from fresh nettles is said to have a purifying and stimulating effect. Because of its diuretic effect, it is a popular home remedy for cystitis.

To prepare nettle tea, simply pour 300 milliliters of boiling water over a handful of young nettle leaves and leave to steep for five minutes. If you let the tea steep longer, it may taste bitter.
Then strain and sweeten to taste with sugar, honey, or agave syrup. A dash of lemon juice also goes well with nettle tea.
Note: Don’t be surprised if you have to go to the toilet more often than usual after drinking. Nettle tea has a diuretic effect.

You can easily dry nettles and store them for the nettle-free time of the year.

Nettle smoothie

Together with apple, orange, banana, and other wild herbs, nettles make an extremely healthy smoothie. A powerful mixer that crushes the fibers is important.

All-round nettle

The stinging nettle is not only good as an all-round talent in the kitchen, but also turns out to be an all-rounder in the garden:

The stinging nettle is a biological pest control: you can successfully fight aphids in the garden with stinging nettle decoction.
Nettle manure is suitable as a natural fertilizer. Find out here how you can make nettle stock and nettle manure yourself.
The stinging nettle is considered a so-called indicator plant for nitrogen-rich soil: where it grows, the soil is good and rich in nutrients, here you do not need to fertilize the soil. The location is well suited for growing tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, or cucumbers.

Harvest nettles – without burning yourself

The best way to harvest nettles is with gloves. If you don’t have any at hand, a trick will help: Grab the stalk of the nettle plant with a slight upward movement so that the stinging hairs, which are slightly upwards, cannot harm you.
When it comes to stinging nettles, the younger they are, the better they taste. For older nettles you should only use the upper pairs of leaves.
Only pick stinging nettles from places where you are sure they are not contaminated, such as by dog or grazing animal droppings and urine.

Avatar photo

Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Snacks for Guests – 5 Creative Recipes

Freezing Grapes: This Is How Grapes Become a Cool Refreshment