Nettle Burritos

Nettle Burritos

Uncomplicated burritos become slightly more complicated with the modest addition of wild nettles.  A quick blanch in boiling water removes their sting.  They add a welcome shock of green to an otherwise straightforward dish. 


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of spring garlic (or scallions), chopped, white and greens separated
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp dried oregano
  • 1(15-ounce) can black or pinto beans
  • 8 oz fresh stinging nettles (you could also use young chard or baby spinach in place of the nettles) 
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
  • 2 tsp lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Habanero Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • olive oil
  • Hot sauce of choice (optional)
  • Sour cream, avocado, pickled radish, or other toppings, as desired


  1. Heat some olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Crumble the beef into the skillet and add the onion and whites of the spring garlic.   Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned and the onions are beginning to soften, 8-12 minutes. 
  2. Add the cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  Break up any large pieces of beef and continue to cook until the spices are fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beans to the pan along with the tomato and its juices.  Simmer, stirring and scraping up anything that sticks to the pan, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in the lime juice and the greens of the spring garlic, and season once more with salt and pepper.
  4. As the beef finishes, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.  Using tongs or heavy gloves, transfer the nettles to the boiling water and blanch for 1-2 minutes, or until bright green and wilted.  Immediately transfer to the ice bath.  Once cooled, squeeze out any remaining water and coarsely chop. 
  5. Arrange the tortillas on a clean work surface. Sprinkle half the cheese across the center of the tortillas. Top each tortilla with ⅔ cup of the beef-bean mixture, a few spoonfuls of the chopped nettles, and the remaining cheese. Drizzle a little hot sauce over everything, if you like it hot.
  6. Fold the tortilla’s short sides over the filling, then fold the bottom of the tortilla tightly overtop. Roll the burrito to seal the folds.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas. 
  7. Place the burritos, seam side down, in a seasoned cast iron skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes in total. Serve hot and top with whatever suits your taste.
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