5 Delicious Ways to Cook Stinging Nettles

From a simple sauté to substituted stinging nettles for spinach and other greens in your favorite recipes, find a delicious way to cook up these spring "weeds." Remember, when cooking with nettles, you always want to blanch them first to tame their sting.

  • 01 of 05

    Sautéed Stinging Nettles

    Sautéed Nettles

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Giving nettles a quick turn in a pan with a bit of oil and garlic isn't the most common way to eat these leaves, but it is delicious. They end up with an intense nettle flavor with this preparation, so a little can go a long way. This sautéed stinging nettles is definitely a recipe for nettle lovers! 

  • 02 of 05

    Stinging Nettles Ravioli

    Homemade 3 Cheese Ravioli

    The Spruce

    Stuffed pasta may take a bit of time to make, but stinging nettles make a very tasty filling for ravioli. All they need is a bit of melted butter and a generous grating of Parmesan when serving them. Much like with the pesto and the pizza, the additional flavors in these ravioli soften the intensity of nettles without overwhelming them. You can still taste the nettles but in a most pleasing way. Use this recipe for spinach filling, substituting nettles for the spinach, and follow the ravioli-making directions here.

  • 03 of 05

    Stinging Nettles Soup

    Stinging Nettles Soup

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Slurping stinging nettles soup is like eating a bowlful of springtime. So much plain green flavor. It's a bowl of chlorophyll. It makes you feel like you are full of sunshine turned to green energy. Add a swirl of cream to highlight the nutty flavor in there too.

  • 04 of 05

    Use Stinging Nettles Like Spinach

    Spinach Rice Pilaf

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Stinging nettles, once blanched and squeezed dry, can be used in place of spinach in recipes in which the spinach is cooked. A few favorite examples of how to use stinging nettles like spinach include spinach lasagna and spinach rice pilaf. Stinging nettles also work well as the green in greens in yogurt and cumin.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Stinging Nettles Pesto

    Homemade pesto recipe

    The Spruce

    Stinging Nettle Pesto is a giant burst of spring flavor, and since you need to blanch nettles anyway, you end up with a pesto that stays bright green (the process of blanching both takes away the sting and sets the green color of the leaves). Toss it with pasta or bread it on toasted bread for an easy bruschetta appetizer. A great recipe for people new to nettles, since their intense earthy flavor is softened with garlic and oil and cheese. Simply use blanched nettles (squeezed as dry as possible after blanching) in place of the basil in this pesto recipe.