Nettles - 3 Ways: Salad, Crisps, & Omelet

Alberto Carbo
This wildly abundant plant friend is not only delicious but also a nutritional powerhouse!

Nettles, Urtica dioica, are rich in protein and iron, fiber, calcium magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavine, niacin, chromium, cobalt, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and sodium.

Nettles are also rich in carotenoids, terpenoids, fatty acids, chlorophyll, tannins, sterols, polysaccharides, and isolectins.

Nettles have been a food source and a medicine for many different cultures around the world. There are some who think nettles may just be the most popularly used plant medicine worldwide.

Considering the incredible nutrient profile of nettles, and how abundantly they grow, we should largely consider eating them on a more frequent basis.

There are infinite ways to incorporate nettles into our lives! Try adding them to any dish you are already making. You can put it in butter, in sauces, soups, spanakopita, pot pies, ect.

Here are 3 different ways to use this wonderful plant!

A Root, a Nut & a Leaf - Salad

  • 4 medium-sized beets
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 2 cups steamed nettle leaves
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese 'chevre'
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil

  1. Place the beets in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, cover the pot and turn it down to a simmer. Simmer until the beets are tender. You can test this by inserting a knife into the beet. If it goes in like butter, they’re done! Set aside to cool.
  2. Place the pecans in the oven at 300°F and toast. It should take no more than 5-6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Place a pot on the stove with a steamer insert and bring water to a boil. Steam the Nettle leaves, covered, for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Chop the dill.
  5. Once the beets have cooled down, peel them, or don’t’, and cut them into small cubes.
  6. Cut the nettles into thin strips. Then chop them again. One more time.
  7. Place the cut beets in a large bowl, and mix in the chopped nettles and dill.
  8. Lightly crush the pecans and add them.
  9. Dress the salad with extra virgin olive oil. Mix.
  10. Add the goat cheese and mix lightly.
  11. Enjoy!

Nettles Crisp

  • 4 cups Fresh Picked Nettle leaves
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast

  1. Remove the nettle leaves from the stems.
  2. Combine the oil and spices (except the nutritional yeast) with a small hand-blender or manually, ensuring the spices are well incorporated in the oil.
  3. Place the nettle leaves in a bowl, and drizzle uniformly with the oil. Gently mix with a wooden spoon, until there is a thin layer of oil on every leaf.
  4. Place the nettle leaves on a baking sheet, spread out, and ideally not in layers one on top of the other. Separate leaves that are sticking together.
  5. Place in the oven at 200° F for approximately 10 minutes. Check them every 2-3 minutes ensuring to separate any leaves which remain stuck together.
  6. Once they are crispy they are done!
  7. Place in a wide bowl and toss while you sprinkle with salt to taste.
  8. Although these are great to snack on, on their own, my favorite way to use them is as garnish on different plates. Crumbling some of these Nettles Crisp onto a dish adds an extra element of texture and flavor to a meal. Put them in a dip, a salad, a sandwich, a wrap, a soup, or straight in your mouth!

Morning Cheddar Nettlette

  • 3 free-range Eggs
  • 1 small onion or shallot
  • 3/4 cup steamed Nettle leaves
  • 4 semi-thick slices of cheddar of your choice – I like sharp cheddar! The older the better. 
  • 2 1/4 inch butter cubes
  • Salt and Pepper

  1. Place a pot on the stove with a steamer insert and bring water to a boil. Steam the Nettle leaves, covered, for 4-5 minutes. Set aside. 
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add salt and cracked pepper. I usually recommend ¼ tsp salt, some like more, some like less.
  3. Chop your onions into small cubes or thin strips.
  4. Sauté the onion with the butter on medium-low heat until the onion starts to become translucent.
  5. Slice your cheese.
  6. Add the eggs to the pan and place the cheese in the middle of the eggs. Evenly distribute the Nettles over the cheese and eggs. Cover the pan (this makes for an extra puffy omelet)
  7. Let the eggs cook for a few minutes, once you notice the perimeter is looking cooked and the top is just starting to cook, use a spatula to fold the omelet onto itself, into a half-moon. Cover.
  8. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip the omelet onto its other side. Cover. Cook for an additional minute.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.
  10. Enjoy! 

As always make sure to forage for plants away from roads and pollution as much as possible. Never overharvest any plant, as they are of course not only here for our enjoyment, but also here for the insects, bees, and birds. Have fun out there!
The information provided in this digital content is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. Matthew Wood, the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism, ETS Productions, and their employees, guests, and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.