We know we know, something with stinging hairs would not have been collected or eaten raw, but considering we are talking about adrenal health this month we had to make an exception for this North African plant. The stinging nettle uses both physical and chemical defenses to keep predators from munching on it’s precious leaves, but once the stinging hairs are destroyed with pulverization or boiling water, only goodness remains. These leaves have been shown to help reduce inflammation, reduce histamine production, acts as a diuretic, may reduce blood pressure and blood sugar, detoxify and speed healing overall. In other words, it helps reduce biological stress in the body, and thereby takes the pressure off the adrenals. Stinging nettle leaves are also known to be high in minerals that assist the adrenals by providing the necessary hormones that support an overworked nervous system.
Of course, all this being said- this will still be a warm, comforting and nourishing soup if you do not have nettles in season and swap the leaves for another leafy green.
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cook Time: 10 minutes.
Makes: 6 servings.
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 chopped sweet potato (daikon radish or squash for Spring)
1 small head of cauliflower, broken up
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 bay leaves
8 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
6 packed cups of stinging nettle leaves
juice of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons summer savory, dried
2 teaspoons oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup coconut cream (from the top of a cold can of coconut milk)
Many vegetable soups have a similar base. Garlic, onion and celery for flavor and health boosting properties, a root vegetable and crucifer for creamy texture, a rich stock for nourishment and a pinch or dash of various herbs and spices to make it your own. We have broken from the Holy Trinity/ mirepoix/ soffritto here by removing carrots to keep this recipe in Spring. However, if you are a traditionalist and want a slightly sweeter soup, you can replace the root vegetable with carrot. After making a batch, feel free to make it your own, so that it can become an early summer staple in your house.
Prep your nettle leaves by washing them and cutting the leaves carefully from the stems, then place them in a wide bowl (some like to wear gardening or rubber gloves for this task). You can do this after you remove the stinging hairs with hot water, but the leaves shrink up and soften quite a bit and you risk squeezing the nutrient rich juices out of the leaves if you do this work later.
Chop your veggies roughly, small enough to cook quickly, remembering they will be pureed before serving. The denser the vegetable, the longer it takes to cook. The more surface area you provide, the faster it will be done.
Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cumin stirring until they are sweating. Add sweet potato potato and cauliflower pieces and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Keep stirring the pot so the contents don’t burn. Finally add the garlic, bay leaf, soup stock, salt, pepper and herbs, then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes longer until all vegetables are soft. Keep the pot covered so the nutrients in the steam stay in the pot.
While your soup is in its final minutes of cooking, boil some water and pour it over the stinging nettle leaves evenly. Drain immediately so as to retain the nutrients of the leaves. Add the nettle leaves to the soup and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until wilted. Turn your stove burner off. Add lemon juice and stir. The lemon juice brightens the green of the soup and the added vitamin C helps pull the nutrients from the nettle leaves and make them more easily assimilated in your body.
Puree in batches until smooth or use an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, try to measure equal parts vegetables and broth during the mixing process so the texture is relatively even and all the vegetables are blended smoothly. As the batches are blended creamy, pour them into a second saucepan. Stir all the batches or use a whisk to ensure that your soup is of an even consistency. Pour or ladle the soup into bowls, then garnish each with a dollop or drizzle of coconut cream, cracked black pepper and lemon zest. If you are preparing the soup for the week, or are not the garnishing kind, add the coconut cream after blending and stir through. It adds extra depth and richness. If you are not one for coconut at all, a drizzle of oil is a fine substitute.
This soup freezes well and keeps in the fridge up to 5 days. Eat well, live well!