This simple, Sautéed Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) recipe uses freshly harvested Stinging Nettles, olive oil, minced garlic, and Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Optionally, you can add hot sauce or your favorite sauce to pair with the Stinging Nettles.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Sautéed Stinging Nettles
Hi Everyone, it’s time to share a new foraged food recipe: Sautéed Stinging Nettles. Stinging nettles are one of my favorite foraged foods. They are a nutritional powerhouse and oh so tasty!
This simple recipe uses fresh Stinging Nettles, olive oil, minced garlic and Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Optionally, you can add hot sauce or your favorite sauce to pair with the Stinging Nettles.
Check out a recent Stinging Nettle recipe on our blog: (Stinging) Nettle Pesto (I include a lot of information about the Stinging Nettle plant in this post, please check it out!)
Where do I find Stinging Nettles?
You may be able to find them at certain farmers markets.
Make sure you get a couple positive identifications for Stinging Nettle if you are newer to foraging. I am linking to a book, called Northeast Foraging, that I own about foraging:
How I Harvest Fresh Stinging Nettles
This year I have 2 decent patches of Stinging Nettles, where they are growing on our property, so I am able to have access to them. I am very thankful for that. I harvest them in a way that they can continue to grow all season long.
I will usually take off 4 inches off the top including only the tender stem and harvest some leaves further down the stalk. I recommend using gloves when harvesting so that you do not get stung by the leaves. I usually don’t however and just use my fingertips and only touch the new leaves and tips or edges of the leaves where the stingers are not so big (the worst area to touch would be the underside of the leaves and the stalks where the stingers are larger).
In these photos, I made the Stinging Nettles more roasty-toasty by toasting the garlic in the pan. They are great this way but you can also make them more “wet” and sometimes instead of adding more oil (the stinging nettles can absorb a lot of oil) I’ll add some water (a few tablespoons) to “steam” the nettles, this is a great way to get the stems tender too, if you are including stems.
When are Stinging Nettles in Season?
In Early Spring (the stems are most tender at this time) to Summer (more for the leaves and top 4 inches of the plant, the stems can be too tough at this point).
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What are Stinging Nettles Like?
They are really unique and not like anything else, however, they are probably most similar to spinach and can be used in anything spinach can be used in. They are great in egg-based dishes like omelettes and quiche.
They are so delicious and like a delicacy to me.
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By having access to wild, foraged food, personally for me, it’s great not to feel dependent on the commercial food system. I am writing this during the Covid-19 pandemic when it’s harder to go to the grocery store and get farmer’s market shares (because they are so popular right now!). In addition to my garden, I will try foraged foods. It’s also my way of staying connected with nature and knowledgeable about the plants in my area. I always make sure to check with someone who’s a foraging expert before trying anything new – forage safely!
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Health Benefits of Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle is a great source of vitamins A, C and K.
Stinging Nettle and Pregnancy
I use Stinging Nettle Leaf tea during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of my pregnancies. I consume Stinging Nettle in moderation because it can have a stimulating effect on the uterus and should be avoided in the 1st trimester of pregnancy as a precaution. At the time of my writing this recipe post, I am close to my due date and am consuming it more than I usually would.
Everyone’s body is different and what works for me, may not work for someone else, I highly suggest talking to your OBGYN or Midwife about concerns with consuming Stinging Nettle, when it comes to you.
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Process Recipe Photos for Sautéed Stinging Nettles
Here are some process photos for this Sautéed Stinging Nettles recipe:
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- 2-4 ounces Stinging Nettles
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin olive oil or regular
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
- Kosher salt, amount to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, amount to taste
- In a wok or cast iron skillet, on the stove top, over medium heat, add olive oil, optional butter, minced garlic. When the garlic is translucent add the cleaned stinging nettles. Using tongs, turn them over to evenly cook them until tender (5-7 minutes, depending on the heat). Reduce the heat, if needed. Add the Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper for serving and optionally your favorite type of sauce. Enjoy!
- In these photos, I made the Stinging Nettles more roasty-toasty by toasting the garlic in the pan. They are great this way but you can also make them more “wet” and sometimes instead of adding more oil (the stinging nettles can absorb a lot of oil) I’ll add some water (a few tablespoons) to “steam” the nettles, this is a great way to get the stems tender too, if you are including stems.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 292mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Please note that the Calculated Nutrition is an estimate at best.