I love wild foraging though I don’t make time to do it as much as I’d like to. Now there’s a lesson for me as I nourish myself and my slow living life to support my gut health! Spring is a perfect time to forage in the meadows and hedgerows while on a dog walk or just when you’re out with the kids. Make sure you know what you are picking, and if you’re on private land have the land owners permission. If in doubt look up what you’re picking using one of the good plant identification apps. If you’re picking nettles always wear plastic gloves (the strong yellow kind for washing up) or you’ll get strung. Once cooked they don’t sting so don’t worry about that.
For me Spring heralds an abundance of dandelions and nettles alongside the river bank. They’re in a really great place as I know they’ve not been sprayed as part of the local farm land, and there are few dogs in this area so I’m making the most of them. All the lovely soluble fiber in dandelion greens provides high-octane nutrients for you and your gut bacteria. Probiotics are living things, and living things eat. Prebiotics are the food of probiotics, nourishing the good bacteria and helping them grow so in making this soup you are not onl nourishing yourself but your gut.
This is a fabulous spring soup recipe and is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost your immune system, your gut health and your overall health.
You could substitute spinach or kale for the nettles and dandelions, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of foraging, but believe me it’s worth it.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1 sweet potato cut into small cubes
4 – 5 large chard leaves. Stalks removed and leaf shreded
500 – 700ml hot vegetable stock
40g dandelion leaves
¾ tsp wild garlic salt (or just salt)
Lemon juice (optional)
Heat the oi in a heavy based pan and fry the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent – about 3-5 mins
While the onion cooks remove the stalks from the chard and chop into tiny pieces. Add to the onion in the pan along with the sweet potato. Sweat for 5 mins then add the stock and bring to a boil.
While the onion and potato sweat pour boiling water over the nettles and dandelions. Leave for a few minutes so they wilt then drain.
Tip the nettles, dandelions and shredded chard into the pan making sure the stock covers everything and cook for 8-10 minutes. Once the potato is cooked and soft enough to blend take off the heat.
Remove from the heat and bend with a stick blender or in a food processor. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste and serve.
You may like to squeeze over some fresh lemon juice for extra zing!