6 Comments

Nettlekopita

With apologies to the Greek language and culture.

Nettlekopita for Dinner

Nettlekopita

It’s nettle season in our local marshes, so we’re eating our fill of these wonderful, free greens. 

Our local grocery had some organic phyllo dough on sale the other week, and now that we can eat some gluten again, I was excited to bring a box home. I was too lazy to make baklava, but I had a fresh bag of foraged nettles that needed to be turned into dinner. I figured I’d use them in place of spinach to make some nettle spanakopita, using what I had on hand: Fresh nettles from a local marshy spot, chives and walking onions from our garden, and the cheese I found in our fridge.  I didn’t look up a recipe to use as a baseline so I forgot to add any eggs, but we ended up with a delicious dinner that my girls and I both loved. The measurements here are educated guesses – Adjust as you see fit, and feel free to add an egg or two to help bind things together.

stinging nettles, in the ground and in the bag

Forage for Stinging Nettles

If you’ve never harvested or cooked with stinging nettles before, don’t be scared off – It’s not as dangerous as it may sound. I’ve posted my tips for harvesting and using nettles here; do give it a try!

Walking Onions

Walking Onions

Nettlekopita

  • phyllo / filo dough, one package (you’ll have enough left over for a quick apple strudel)
  • nettles, about 2 cups when steamed and pressed dry (about 4 cups steamed before they’re pressed)
  • 2 cups cheese, your choice, grated or crumbled – I used a mixture of Tillamook cheddar (my kids’ all-time favorite), mozzarella, and parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
  • 1 handful chives
  • 1 handful green onions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • melted butter or olive oil (or a combination) to brush onto phyllo dough

    Don't Forget the Freshly Grated Nutmeg

    Don’t Forget the Freshly Grated Nutmeg

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  3. Steam the nettles for about 5 minutes, until wilted but still bright green. Drain, reserving the liquid to drink as a spring tea (beware, it’s very energizing; don’t drink it at bedtime) or for use as a hair rinse (Crafty Little Gnome has hair tonic directions).

    Steamed Nettles

    Steamed Nettles

  4. Press the nettles dry in a fine colander or cheesecloth.
  5. Chop the nettles into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Dice the chives and green onions.

    Walking Onions and Chives, Chopped

    Walking Onions and Chives, Chopped

  7. Combine nettles, chives, green onions, grated cheese, and spices in a bowl. Mix well.

    Nettlekopita Filling

    Nettlekopita Filling

  8. Lay out one sheet of phyllo and brush it with melted butter or oil. Keep the other sheets of dough covered as directed on the box or they’ll dry out before you can use them.
  9. Add a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first, brush it with the butter/oil, then cut along the long side of the dough to form 4 even strips.
  10. Place about 2 tablespoons of nettle mixture in the top left corner of the first strip, then fold it to meet the right side of the strip, forming a triangle (if you ignore the rest of the strip, that is).

    Folding Nettlekopita

    Folding Nettlekopita

  11. Continue folding like this, from side to side, until you’ve worked your way down the strip of dough to form a tidy triangular pocket filled with nettle.
  12. Brush lightly with more butter/oil and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  13. When all of the nettle mixture has been wrapped, pop the triangles into the hot oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.
  14. Serve immediately or include a cooled nettlekopita in a packed lunch – They’re most flaky when fresh from the oven, but they still taste great at room temperature.

    Nettlekopita for Dinner

    Nettlekopita for Dinner

If you’re looking for other nettle recipes, I’ve posted a few of our other favorites:

JoJo’s Nettle Special (our version of New Joe’s Special)

Gluten-Free Nettle-Potato Dumplings and Pancakes 

Nettle, Potato, and Kabocha Squash Soup

Springtime Frittata

If you have a favorite nettle recipe, please let me know – We’ve got a few weeks left in the season, and I’d love to try something new.

6 comments on “Nettlekopita

  1. That sounds wonderful Rebecca! Reminds me of my adventures with “orakopita”- I spent a summer in the Bay of Fundy, and they have a wild green known locally as “orak” that grows along the upper fringe of the beach, tastes like a salty spinach, and makes a FABULOUS substitute for any green. oooh, I miss that. Will have to try the nettles!

  2. Extra yum! I have to admit I’m a little nervous about eating nettles after I munched on the remains of some nettle tea I had cooked up for Miss E. They smelled great, and I wanted to eat them but I had an almost instant throat-tightening, coughing response to chewing on the moist, soaked (organic bulk dried) greens. Maybe a different deal with fresh greens I harvest and cook corectly? Have you heard of this? I am craving nettles but now I’m a bit worried. (The nettles were steeped with some organic rosehips and hibiscus flowers to make them more palatable for my wee one. Maybe not a good mix for my throat…)

    • Camille, that sounds horrible! I’ve never had a reaction like that, but it sure sounds like a classic allergic response. If they weren’t heated or dried enough to disable their sting, you’d feel an awful pain, but it sounds like what you experienced was different than that. Maybe a tiny taste of each component (nettles, rosehips, hibiscus flowers) on its own would be worth a try. I’m hoping you’ll find that nettles are just fine for you to eat. Please keep me posted.

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