I love the fact that the foraging year has begun again, with bright green nettles springing up everywhere. While they’re young and vibrant I love to include the leaves in meals, and add them to hot water for a cup of nettle tea. This spiced cauliflower and nettle soup recipe has a warming, spicy undertone but allows their ‘green-ness’ to shine through.
For the roast cauliflower:
1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
To make the soup:
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
150g nettles, washed**
500ml stock – vegetable or chicken
Place the cauliflower florets in a large ovenproof dish, sprinkle the spices over them and toss in olive oil. Roast in the oven (approximately 180°C) for 30 minutes or until tender. This can be done in advance whenever you have the oven on, then stored in the fridge until you’re ready to make soup.
Gently fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and transparent. Add the roasted cauliflower, nettles and stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the nettles have wilted.
Transfer to a blender, or use a hand-held blending stick and blitz until smooth. Add a little extra water to achieve your desired consistency.
*Please take care when picking nettles. Rubber gloves are advised. My husband swears that ‘pinching firmly’ also avoids any stings, although I can’t vouch for this. Pick nettles growing away from roads or areas that dogs regularly access. Pick the brightest, centre leaves for cooking – they are best until late May when they start to become a little tired.
**If you regularly cook with nettles, then you could add up to 250g for a stronger taste. If you’re new to nettles then I recommend starting with a smaller amount – 150g gives their flavour without being overpowering.