Goutweed Soup

This is just a simple recipe to remind us that not everything edible comes from a supermarket. The name of goutweed reveals a lot – it’s generally thought of as a weed that should be rooted up, not as a green leafy vegetable. The young sprouts can be eaten raw, in salads or on sandwiches, but even the leaves that have grown a tad larger are edible, and can be used much like spinach. Goutweed has an interesting aroma, a little salty and a little sharp – delicious in a simple soup like this one.

Wild vegetables should never be picked from road banks or anywhere close to heavy traffic. It’s also important to know exactly what you’re looking for – we were happy to have the advice from Heikki’s mom, who’s been trying to root up the goutweed from her allotment garden for the last few decades!

Here’s what we had in our soup:

  • 5 dl goutweed (lightly packed), rinsed and chopped
  • 5 dl veggie stock
  • 2/3 dl semi-dry white wine (we had Portuguese vinho verde)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 dl fresh bread crumbs (the insides of a baguette, for example)
  • oat cream and chives

I first fried the onion and the garlic in the oil on medium heat for about 12 minutes, until they started to turn golden but not yet brown. Then I added the white wine, and let it come to a brisk boil. I added the veggie stock and goutweed, heated the soup until it was boiling again, and simmered it for one minute. Now, I removed the pot from heat, added the bread crumbs, and used our immersion blender to purée the soup.

After plating the soup, I drizzled our portions with a little oat cream and sprinkled with chives.

Fresh goutweed leaves.

19 Comments

  1. Posted May 21, 2008 at 23:09 | Permalink

    You amaze me every time…I read the wikipedia entry for goutweed, and there’s a list of measures to get rid of it. None of them was “make a delicious soup with it”. They have no idea…

  2. Gabrielle McDowell
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 03:26 | Permalink

    looks too much lke poison ivy. Everyone needs to be very careful. PLEASE.

    Gabrielle McD

  3. Posted May 22, 2008 at 03:45 | Permalink

    that’s rad.
    i really like learning about what you can eat in the wild.
    i’m even more thrilled that you used it to make a soup!

  4. Posted May 22, 2008 at 06:53 | Permalink

    I love the green and red contrast you used there for the picture!

  5. Posted May 22, 2008 at 09:06 | Permalink

    I’ve never heard of goutweed before- I’m going to keep my eyes out for it, though.

  6. Anni
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 12:45 | Permalink

    Gabrielle – I would never pick a new wild vegetable without having someone knowledgeable to point it to me the first time – I hope everyone does the same!

    And thanks everyone for your comments! My favorite wild vegetable is nettle, but goutweed is nicer to pick since it doesn’t sting…

  7. Posted May 22, 2008 at 14:46 | Permalink

    I never heard of this before, I thought it has something to do with curing gout :D

  8. Posted May 23, 2008 at 17:32 | Permalink

    My grandmother always told me that this plant was edible and I always wanted to pick a bunch and cook with it. Thank you so much for this recipe! I need to get out and pick some goutweed this weekend!

  9. Posted May 23, 2008 at 18:11 | Permalink

    Thanks for exposing me to and teaching me about goutweed!

  10. Posted May 26, 2008 at 18:30 | Permalink

    Glad to see I’m not the only Finn who eats goutweed! You can make Fat-Free Vegan’s Gumbo z’Herbes using wild veggies like goutweed, fireweed, nettle and dandelion greens. Fireweed is also nice cooked and eaten as is.

    I think I’ll try this soup, but will probably sub some mirin for the white wine, as I usually do because we very rarely have any wine in the house.

    Greetings from Pajamäki (from someone who lived near Kallio for 24 years). I’ll definitely have to include a link to this blog when I next update my vegetarian links.

  11. Anni
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 22:49 | Permalink

    Hi Maija, welcome to our blog! Thanks for all the tips on how to use wild vegetables – there’s so much to learn.

    -Anni.

  12. Posted May 29, 2008 at 22:57 | Permalink

    That looks absolutely delicious!!! I wonder if we have any in southern California? I’ll have to look…..I love soup!

  13. Posted May 30, 2008 at 20:08 | Permalink

    I hate goutweed. I crawl around on my hands and knees muttering “stinking bishop” (its other name is bishop’s weed). But now, perhaps I have another use for it. Huh.

  14. Posted July 11, 2008 at 13:05 | Permalink

    Made it today, subbing mirin for white wine and leaving out the bread crumbs and oat cream. Tasty, easy and surely nutritious too (it probably isn’t easy to find the actual nutrition information for goutweed…)

  15. Heikki
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 16:03 | Permalink

    Glad to hear it turned out tasty! I really liked it too. Maybe we’ll try it with mirin too the next time we make it.

  16. Posted May 19, 2010 at 20:07 | Permalink

    I have a large patch of all-green goutweed that has invaded my periwinkle bed. Having only known the variegated form prior to this, I was stumped to learn what it actually was. In my search to identify this plant, I found this site. Wonderful!

    Now, is there a point where this plant is too large to eat, or is it edible at any stage of its growth?

  17. Heikki
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 10:44 | Permalink

    Jude, I think the larger it grows, the more bitter the taste will be. Also – just a guess – the texture might get too fibrous to be enjoyable.

    We’ve only picked them when they are quite small, I’d say 10 cm tall at most.

    I just heard that about 100 years ago goutweed was still pickled in Finland for the winter. Maybe used that way one could utilize larger plants too. I’ll comment on this thread if I find more information on this.

  18. Jeanette Hansen
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 17:38 | Permalink

    Hmm.. Tastes like a broth with a light shellfish scent/flavor. Honestly I prefer the leaves young and fresh. My hubby certainly won’t touch it in this form, but it tastes like it’d be a great base for a pork or beef stew. Apologies to my vegetarian cohorts! very good, overlooked food. I just tried eating a baby shoot from my garden before souping it up! Last year was nettle-leaf soup. Now I just need to figure out the best dressing to go with dandylion leaves!

  19. Heikki
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 12:28 | Permalink

    Hi Jeanette, I’m glad that you’re into eating goutweed too! Everybody with a garden knows that there’ll be no shortage of that plant any time soon…

    My favourite dressing with dandelion is a simple balsamic vinegrette. I find the taste to be very close to arugula. It’s funny that it is considered a weed here, but sold in the market in Southern Europe…

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