Wild garlic soup is a must-make delicious green spring dish. Stinging nettles are spring's most foraged wild edibles. I always make the most of these while in season and I certainly cannot get enough of them. This amazing soup is easy, quick to make, and it is packed with goodness.
This luscious nettle soup is absolutely filled with vitamins. It also has fantastic decorative potential and has an absolutely delicious wild garlic and nettle taste.
What is wild garlic?
Wild garlic is also known as ramsons, buckrams, gipsy's onions, bear's garlic, devil's garlic, or, (haha, really?) yes, stinking Jenny.
Wild garlic (ramps) is widely found in Europe but it also grows in the United States, specifically around the Ohio side and most of the western parts, the Pacific Northwest.
The leaves look very similar to the lily of the valley plant which is poisonous hence be very careful when foraging for this. Don't worry though, there is a very easy way to make the difference in case the flowers are not out yet (these are very different and you would know immediately), but it is not the case when it comes to the leaves. To do the test, simply rub off the leaves, carry out a quick sniff and you will know what that is. As soon as you do this the chances of mixing them up are inexistent.
What you need for wild garlic soup
- young nettles or stinging nettles
- wild garlic leaves
- olive oil
- celery stick
- vegetable stock I have used homemade unsalted
- black pepper freshly ground
- fresh thyme
- butter (optional)
- single or double cream/heavy cream/ creme fraiche works well too
How to make a wild garlic soup recipe?
- Prepare the nettles and the wild garlic by washing these thoroughly
- In a soup pot, heat up olive oil and butter if using, add the chopped vegetables, and cook.
- Add stock, seasoning, the nettle, and the wild garlic leaves and boil for a further 2 minutes.
- Blend all the ingredients with a hand blender to make a smooth soup.
- Add a drizzle of single or heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot or cold.
There are endless options on how to use nettles and wild garlic either marrying them together or separately.
It is fortunate that these two go perfectly together in dishes. I've revamped a little this soup recipe that my mum used to make when I was a kid. Sadly we never appreciated it at the time. I do now and I am glad my kids are trying them too.
I made it with homemade vegetable stock and added some fresh thyme from my garden and a drizzle of single cream. You may use coconut cream as a vegan option. It will give it a whole different dimension.
You may also use chicken stock too for a slightly different taste but it is delicious any way you will be making it.
Wild garlic and nettle soup can be served as an appetizer or a light dinner with some croutons and a sprinkle of parmesan.
What is special about wild garlic?
Wild garlic is incredible! It has antibacterial, antibiotic, antiseptic, and every single anti ... possible property out there. It makes perfect sense to pack as much into our diet as we possibly can.
The most health benefit of garlic is its success in reducing blood pressure and, hence, heart disease and the risk of stroke.
Throughout Europe is traditionally used as a spring tonic due to its blood-purifying properties and wild garlic is also thought to lower cholesterol.
All garlic has this property we might say, which is very true, however, wild garlic has an amazing and far better effect on lowering blood pressure.
I did not know this for a long time but I do now so I make the most of it whilst in season ( February- March till Late May- June all weather dependant).
Wild garlic uses and recipe ideas
The root, the leaves, as well as the flowers, are all edible which makes it even more amazing. It is definitely not a waste of time doing and foraging this amazing spring plant. It is hard to get a full root out but don't worry if any comes up with more rood. Wash and use confidently and do not feel like you need to discard that.
- Wild garlic root can be used in some of the same ways that you'd use ramps - a kind of wild leek. You can also use them in recipes that call for leeks, scallions, or garlic scapes—might need some adaptations.
- You may want to add finely chopped wild garlic to mashed potatoes and serve them with roast pork or any other meats. Essentially, wild garlic can be used in a similar way to garlic cloves with the only difference being that its flavor will not be as strong but significantly milder. When cooking it the garlic taste depletes even more so, remember to add it at the end of cooking time to retain more flavor but also its benefits.
If you are looking for wild garlic recipes and ideas, and how to use it, and when to forage this amazing spring plant you definitely landed on the right page.
You can find a full foraging guide to its food, medicine, and other uses here.
- If you are looking for wild garlic recipes, this soup is definitely one to go for or you can also try this pilau rice recipe
- wild garlic dip
- wild garlic salsa ( ideal with any fried meat or BBQ)
- garlic sauce for pizza
- add to mashed potatoes
- wild garlic pesto (use garlic leaves instead of basil)
- Wild garlic can also be used to make flavored butter or oil. Simply chop up the leaves and mix them with softened butter or oil, then use it to season dishes such as grilled meats or roasted vegetables.
More about stinging nettles
The best nettles are the stinging nettles and the best time to get these is in the spring (here in Europe) when they are super young and fresh.
How do I know what nettles to forage and when to look for them?
You can get the nettles (if you missed the beginnings of their short-lived season) up to the point of flowering. You can use the leaves as stalks might be a little too rough especially when they are a little older. Pick the youngest of the leaves (the tips of the plant).
How to eat nettles
My mum used to make a salad when I was a kid but of course, she was the only one eating that. She said she never had a sting but somehow I could not believe that or take any risks. Haha. She used to massage them with a little salt and that alone was getting rid of the chemicals that were responsible for the stinging.
Luckily, cooking the nettles gets rid of the stinging chemicals in the plant but just soaking them in the water doesn't, so be aware and well prepared. Haha!
Yes, you certainly can. The best practice is to wash these thoroughly and cook these for literally 2 minutes just to soften these and reduce the quantity. Allow to cool and freeze in a zip bag or an air-tight container.
Oh absolutely! It is a really good soup to freeze and have later. Just do not add the cream but rather save this for adding freshly when serving the soup.
Wild garlic has, as expected, a garlicky distinctive flavor but a lot less than garlic cloves or even less than spring garlic leaves. The leaves smell pretty pungent, but when you cook them, the taste is delicate and a lot sweeter than you might expect. The garlic taste is there but very diminished.
Nettles have an earthy, fairly rich, and very much spinach-like flavor. Do they have a tang? Yes, they do, a very slight tang. Nettles are a superfood.
Luscious Wild Garlic and Nettle Soup
- hand electric blender
- 400 g young nettles (14.11 oz) stinging nettles (fresh or frozen)*
- 200 g wild garlic leaves ( 7 oz) freshly foraged or frozen
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large leek diced roughly
- 2 sticks celery roughly sliced
- 1 medium carrot roughly diced
- 1.5 litre vegetable stock I have used homemade unsalted
- 1 medium potato optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper freshly ground
- 3 sprigs thyme fresh from my garden
- 1 tablespoon butter optional *
- 4 tbsp double cream optional but delicious add if used
- Prepare the nettles and if these aren't super young, remove the nettle stems using gloves or cut them off using scissors.
- Wash the nettles thoroughly in a super large bowl or container. I sometimes use the sink to wash them. Most of the time just a rinse is not enough. Do the same with the wild garlic leaves.
- In a soup pot, heat up olive oil and butter if using, add the chopped onion, leek, carrot, diced celery sticks and cubed potatoes. Cook for a good 10 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and thyme. Bring all to a boil. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the nettle leaves and boil for a further 2 minutes. Fish out the thyme sprigs from the soup. Add the roughly chopped garlic leaves and simmer for 2 more minutes.
- Blend all the ingredients with a hand blender so it becomes a smooth soup.
- Add a drizzle of single or heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve while nice and hot. This is however a fantastic option for a cold soup on a hot, torrid day!