What to do with those stinging nettles?

What to do with those stinging nettles?

Stinging nettles are extremely nutritious (high in calcium, magnesium, iron, fibre, vitamins A, C, K and Bs — and many phytonutrients too!). They grow abundantly in the wild on the B.C. coast in spring. In the Plant-Based Eating Support Network last week there was a lot of discussion about this spunky little plant, and today I thought I’d share one of our featured recipes this month.

This recipe, which I call “Super Simple Ginger Greens with Tofu” can be made with stinging nettle or any other green – or a combo (which is my favourite way to do it). It’s simple and quick and versatile, with just a few ingredients, but it’s UBER UMAMI and delicious!

Super Simple Ginger Greens with Tofu

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • About 6 cups chopped greens (stinging nettles/kale/beet greens/chard/Chinese cabbage, etc)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp braggs liquid aminos/coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, parsley or chives, chopped (optional)
  • Brown rice/quinoa/farro or another grain for serving
  • 2-3 tbsp toasted nuts or seeds, optional

Directions:

  1. Prepare your grain (or use some you have cooked ahead), toast nuts/seeds if applicable, and mince up your ginger and garlic and prepare your greens. Set aside.
  2. Cube the tofu. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, and when it’s hot add the tofu (if you have a good quality low or no-stick pan this is a good time to use it). Avoid moving the tofu cubes around before they have had a chance to brown or the skin may break. Brown the tofu on all sides. Now add the balsamic vinegar and the maple syrup, cooking just until they have formed a glaze on the tofu. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. When your tofu is close to being done (or as soon as it is), heat another large saucepan over medium heat and when it is hot saute the garlic and ginger in a tbsp or two of vegetable broth or water. Once softened (a couple of minutes should do it) add your chopped greens and toss to mix everything together (tongs are handy for this). Now add the water and Braggs/coconut aminos and cook JUST until the greens are wilted and bright green – be careful not to overcook. You may want to have a lid handy to place over the pan, but unless you are doing a larger volume of greens you can likely cook them adequately without covering. Keep tossing and mixing to ensure that the garlic and ginger don’t burn, and reduce the heat if necessary.
  4. Now add the lemon juice and fresh cilantro. DON’T overcook – this only takes a couple of minutes!
  5. Layer the grain, greens and then tofu, with optional nuts/seeds and fresh herbs and enjoy immediately!
  6. You can also sprinkle with nutritional yeast or chilis if desired.

NOTE: This is a super simple recipe but if you have time and would like to include more veggies some grated carrots or beets, some sprouts, some roasted carrots/squash/corn would all be lovely additions!

**CAUTION As you likely know, stinging nettles are so named for good reason. Be sure to wear gloves when handling them uncooked. Once they have been cooked or dried they can be safely handled and consumed.

If you’re looking for some good background and safety info on stinging nettles, this is a good site: https://www.wildedible.com/wild-food-guide/stinging-nettle

Other ideas for using stinging nettles

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