Food & Drink: Paleo Games

Nettle soup for the soul

By Ari LeVaux

The Paleolithic diet, in recent years, has basically clubbed America upside the head and dragged many of us around by our hair. Swept us off of our feet, as it were. The idea of consuming a diet based on what early humans might have eaten has captured the imaginations and bellies of many, including the scavengers.

I guess I’ve taken it as a given that our ancestors were feasting on wild game 24/7. But in many primitive societies, past and present, anthropologists have noted that the village gatherers regularly outperform the hunters. Springtime is an especially good time to forage, because the landscape is rich in edible shoots. Nettles evoke caution, thanks to their being covered with ant bite venom. But cooking them will take care of that problem, and what is left is a nutrient-dense plant full of forest umami, spring tonic and fiber. Enjoy this nettle soup recipe.

Paleo Vegan Nettle Soup

One large onion, sliced

Two large carrots, sliced

Three stalks of celery, sliced

One clove of garlic, grated or pressed

Olive oil and/or butter

Mushroom stock

Freshly gathered nettles

Cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Saute onions in butter or olive oil (or both). When they are translucent, add carrots, celery and a quart or so of stock, and simmer, with about a teaspoon each of cumin and garlic powder. Meanwhile, blanch and shock the nettles. When the carrots are soft, add the fresh garlic, stir it around and kill the heat. When cool enough to blend, puree the whole thing. Puree the nettles separately and stir them in. Adjust seasonings. Serve with a big ol’ dollop of Vegenaise.  

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