Use this simple, 15 minute stinging nettle dip recipe to turn young stinging nettle leaves and growth tips into a delicious dip you can use on crackers, sliced veggies, and more!
Stinging nettle as gourmet food?
Let’s get this bit out of the way first… As we wrote about in Why you should grow and use stinging nettle, stinging nettle isn’t merely edible, it’s quite delicious once you know how to use it. Not to mention, its high protein and nutrient density is far superior to pretty much any other leafy green out there.
We love edible weeds. Since stinging nettle (which grows as a perennial) is one of our favorite “weeds” to eat, we intentionally grow it in confined spaces in our garden.
Each spring, we look forward to eating the tender young growth tips of stinging nettle — and to coming up with new stinging nettle recipes like this stinging nettle dip. If you’re trying to figure out how to put your stinging nettles to good use for the first time, this recipe is a great place to start!
Stinging nettle dip recipe tips:
This is a very simple recipe that you can make in about 15 minutes. However, pay attention to the recipe tips below to make sure you get good results:
1. Only use tender young stinging nettle growth tips.
Stinging nettle is best when it’s still very young (February – April in our Zone 7b garden). The very best parts are the tender young growth tips.
You can also remove and use some of the more mature leaves below the growth tips but avoid using the older stems. As the weather warms and the plants start going into seed production mode, they’re not nearly as good.
Hopefully, if you’re using stinging nettle purchased from a farm or store, you’ve got growth tips or tender leaves without stems.
2. Sauté your stinging nettle.
Once you’re back in the kitchen with your stinging nettle, we recommend sautéing it in a pan rather than steaming it. This removes more of the water, and we also think it provides a superior flavor.
To sauté your stinging nettle, add some quality extra virgin olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Put your stinging nettle in, then turn it regularly with a spatula as it cooks to prevent it from scalding.
In our cast iron pan, it took about seven minutes to sauté our stinging nettle. Yes, it will cook down a lot!
3. Use labne (or substitute ingredients)
Once your cooked stinging nettle cools down a bit, you’re going to puree it in a blender with the other ingredients. Most veggie dip recipes use cream cheese. However, we think there’s a better option.
Our preference? Whole organic labne, pronounced leb-neh. (Other spellings include labna, labaneh, or labneh.)
Labne is a Middle Eastern strained yogurt that is sort of like a unique cross between cream cheese and sour cream. It’s wonderful stuff.
We prefer labne to cream cheese in this application because it adds much more nuanced flavors AND because it’s a great probiotic. That means this stinging nettle dip recipe gets a few extra points for being extra healthy (plant superfood + probiotics!).
Don’t have labne? A good substitute with more common ingredients is 1 part whole sour cream to 1 part whole cream cheese. (Example: Instead of 1 cup labne in a recipe, use 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup cream cheese.)
4. Fresh-grate your parmesan cheese and try to use the real thing.
Little touches matter. If possible, try to use real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in this recipe. Also, fresh grate your cheese rather than buying pre-grated cheese which has oxidized and lost a lot of its punch.
5. Use fresh organic lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemons)
If possible, use fresh lemon juice, not pasteurized. It’s better. It just is. And our favorite lemons to use are Meyer lemons.
We’re fortunate to be able to pick homegrown organic Meyer lemons from our own potted citrus trees, but store bought fruit will suffice too. If you plan to use the lemon zest as a garnish, make sure you’re using certified organic lemons since they don’t have synthetic pesticide residues in/on them. Wash them first, nonetheless.
Once all your ingredients are blended smooth, your stinging nettle dip is done and ready to eat! As our toddler says: easy, peasy lemon squeezy.
Store your stinging nettle dip in covered glass containers in your fridge for up to 5-7 days. In addition to adding flavor, the acidic lemon juice helps keep the dip from oxidizing and turning an off color.
Recipe: stinging nettle dip with labne
Stinging nettle dip with labne
A simple and delicious veggie dip made with stinging nettle growth tips.
- 3 ounces fresh stinging nettle growth tips or young leaves (about 8 cups lightly packed)
- 1/2 cup whole organic labne
- 1.5 ounces fresh-grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin organic olive oil (for sautéing nettle)
- salt to taste (add to blender before pureeing)
Sauté nettle leaves in olive oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring and flipping regularly with a spatula. Remove from heat.
Juice lemon and grate parmesan cheese. (Zest lemon first if it's organic and you want to use the zest as a garnish.)
Add all ingredients to blender and puree until smooth. You may need to scrape sides with a spatula and re-blend 1-2 times.
If using as a dip, recommend serving warm or at room temperature. If using as a sandwich spread, it's good chilled. Store in covered glass containers in your fridge for up to a week.
We hope you love stinging nettle dip as much as we do! Let us know what you think of yours in the comments.
Other stinging nettle recipes you’ll want to sink your teeth into:
- Stinging nettle frittata
- Stinging nettle quiche
- Stinging nettle duck egg pasta with white whole wheat flour
- Stinging nettle green garlic pesto
- Raw stinging nettle soup (yes, seriously!)