Creamy Nettle salad dressing cubes

I was happy to find some wild nettle plants growing in one of the gardens on the side of my new home. Nettles are a powerful plant food rich in many minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients that support virtually every system in the body. Wild foods are generally more nutrient dense and have a broader spectrum of properties and benefits than cultivated foods. In the case of nettles, they’re best to eat in the spring when the plants are tender. They can also be harvested and dried for tea, or steamed and eaten like spinach.

Stinging nettles among hostas and dandelion. Gather nettles with gloves on. Use the top 3 layers of leaves on young plants. Once they’re well blended, dried or steamed, the stingers are deactivated.

I felt inspired to use it in a dressing concept that came to me last year. Essentially I blend avocado with herbs plus other ingredients to create a creamy dressing which I then freeze in ice cube trays. They’re great to make when I have ripe avocados to use up and speed up the process of putting a salad meal together.

Dressing ingredients ready to blend.

1 cup loosely packed nettles (or cilantro, basil or dill)
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados
1/2 cup water
2 – 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs hemp seeds (optional)

Fill ice cube trays and freeze for about an hour. Store in a bag or container in freezer until ready to use. I thaw 2 cubes per person for a meal sized salad.

For the salad I started by finely chopping perennial herbs (that come back every year). Dandelion leaves (from the same garden), sorrel, garlic chives and oregano.

Add steamed baby potatoes, sliced tomatoes, sliced onion, and a couple of dressing cubes. You could also add cucumber, celery, sugar snap peas, radishes… whatever you have and enjoy.

Complete the salad with greens of your choice. I’ve used spinach, home-grown sprouts, and garnished with dandelion flower leaves. Enjoy!