It’s nettle season! I decided this was the year to finally learn to cook with stinging nettles, and I’m so glad I did. They are actually simple to prepare and absolutely delicious! After playing around with them a bit, I’m confident that you can easily prepare them too, and use them in a variety of recipes to switch up your usual greens (I’m looking at you, spinach!). It’s key to switch up the foods on your plate, especially seasonally, to ensure a broad range of quality nutrients. Well, this recipe delivers! It’s quick and easy, nutrient-dense, a great way to use up leftover roast chicken, and also makes a yummy cold lunch if you’re making it ahead. So here you are — Shiitake + Nettle Chicken.
Nettle Nutrition + Uses
Blanched nettles are rich in chlorophyll, contain a whopping amount of vitamin K1 (caution if you’re on a blood-thinner or prone to clotting), and very decent amounts of calcium, vitamin A (mostly beta carotene and lutein), and manganese. Other nutrients of note are copper, iron, phosphorus and potassium, and some B vitamins. They contain moderate amounts of protein for a leafy green and also contain lots of fibre.
Mineral-rich nettles support skin, hair, teeth and bone health, by providing some of the necessary ingredients required to build and maintain their structure. In traditional medicines, both East and West, nettles have been used internally for building blood and moistening dry tissues. Their diuretic properties aid cleansing via the detox pathways (liver, lymph, etc.), and promote elimination via the kidneys and bowels. They can aid allergies, hives, eczema and rhinitis, and have been used for many other ailments throughout history, and across most continents.
Not bad for “just another weed”, eh?
This recipe can be made Autoimmune-Protocol-friendly (elimination stage) by removing the sunflower seeds and pepper as noted below.
You can absolutely use any mushrooms or leafy green you prefer or have on hand. What are your favourite combos? This combo is great for Spring, but also transitions into an Autumn dish quite nicely – try kale, spinach, or beet greens instead of nettles!
Shiitake + Nettle Chicken
1 c. cooked chicken, shredded
2 c. stinging nettle leaves, blanched (see blanching how-to article here)
1 c. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, optional (not AIP)
3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
Salt + Pepper, to taste (pepper not AIP)
Start by blanching your nettles (see link above for a how-to!). Once ready, set aside on a towel to absorb the extra moisture while you cook your other ingredients.
In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms (and seeds, if using), sauteing a few minutes until mushrooms soften and seeds start to turn golden. Add shredded chicken and saute another couple minutes to warm. Add blanched nettle leaves and satutee another few minutes until all ingredients are heated through. Be careful your seeds and mushrooms don’t become overdone in the process. I definitely like them a little toasty for that extra boost of flavour and texture though – yum!
Lastly, transfer to a bowl or plate and enjoy!