As spring becomes more settled in our area, new growth pushes away the remnants of last year as it begins to emerge. One of the first wild edibles to appear are stinging nettles, with their curled, toothed leaves bundled tightly, which will open up to tall stalks and broad leaves as the season progresses.
Cooking with nettles is adventurous. Perhaps, because collecting and touching them means you need a pair gloves to prevent painful stings or because they’ve gained a reputation for being somewhat of an obtrusive outsider that surely doesn’t warrant much room on the plate when in actuality they most certainly do, and, therefore, it’s fun to show off their versatility and taste.
I’ve touched on nettles in the past and you can read more about them here. For this recipe, I wanted to create a simple and nutritious bar that can easily be tucked away into a rucksack and taken into the outdoors. These nettle bars are sweet and nutty and feel connected to the surroundings.
Nettle Honey Oat Bars (havrebar med brennesle)
Makes about 8 bars
- 3 handfuls of young nettle leaves, washed
- 2 cups (200 g) quick-cooking oats
- ¼ cup (25 g) sliced almonds
- ¼ cups (30 g) pumpkin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) honey
- ½ cup (120 ml) peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F / 190°C.
Line an 8-inch square dish with parchment paper, cut to fit nicely into the edges.
On a large baking sheet, spread the washed nettles leaves on top and place in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until dry. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the dried nettles, oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and salt.
In a small saucepan, warm the honey and peanut butter over low heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and pour over the nettle mixture. Stir everything together, transfer into the prepared dish and press firmly down to flatten evenly. Cover and set the bars in the refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
Lift the parchment from the dish. Using a knife, slice the bars into even squares or long bars as pictured. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or several months in the freezer.