Skip to content

Shitake & Nettle Soup

June 5, 2011


Growing up on a farm in Kentucky, I found myself stuck in a patch of stinking nettles on more than one occasion. Though my neighbors taught me to forge for wild greens, we never picked nettles.  They were definitely considered nothing more than a nuisance to us, but sometimes the cows would keep them down.  Later, during a trip to Oregon, Jonathan and I met a friendly, artistic family who lived on a bus and forged for fresh foods.  We joined them on a little trip to pick wild berries and ended up with a heaping bag of stinging nettles as well.

I had no idea, until then, that nettles could be boiled to resemble cooked spinach or even eaten raw.  Rolled up lengthwise, nettles can be ingested raw without stinging your tongue.  They offer a variety of medicinal benefits, such as treating allergies and preventing ulcers and urinary tract infections. When dried it is used as a blood thinner, so may help prevent high blood pressure.  I actually take a capsule of freeze-dried nettles regularly to help with my allergies. The only note about ingesting them raw is that the nettles should be young, or not yet flowering.  Once they begin to flower, they’re really too tough and “stingy” to eat.

This soup is a great blend of the East and West.  Shitakes and nettles.   A dish that’s great anytime of the year because it’s refreshing and comforting.  While we love soups in this home, they often leave us hungry within an hour.  Not this one.  One bowl left us pleasantly full.


Shitake & Nettle Soup
Recipe altered from The Vegetarian Times
Serves 6

1/2 cup wheat berries, rinsed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
4 cups shitake stock or low-sodium vegetable stock
1 cup cold water
1 bunch (10 ounces) young stinging nettles, stemmed and chopped

1:  Soak wheat berries in a bowl or jar of water in the refrigerator overnight.
2: Right before cooking, drain the wheat berries and set aside.
3: Heat oil in a 2 qt. saucepan over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to brown.  Add garlic and continue to cook about 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar and continue cooking until the liquid is nearly evaporated.  Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir in any brown bits from the mushrooms.  Add in stock, water and drained wheat berries. Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
4: Stir in nettles and cook 10-15 minutes more.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: