French Bean Summer Salad

with nettle & mint yoghurt dressing – a summery salad combining garden herbs, a German-inspired salad dressing and delicious French beans. A great salad for summer barbeques, lunches or simply as a starter. Just remember to use rubber gloves whilst handling the nettles, but if you do get a sting, then dab the area with sticky tape to remove the sting, squeeze on some lemon juice.

What you need


7 nettle-top sprigs, the top three bracts

350g French beans, topped and tailed

Sea salt to season

60g fresh summer spearmint leaves, roughly chopped

3 lemons, freshly squeezed juice

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 tsp white peppercorns, freshly ground

1 tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground

150g yoghurt, full fat, strained (Greek yoghurt is good and you can use low fat if you’d prefer)

1 tbsp almonds, lightly toasted, roughly chopped

A splash of fruity virgin olive oil

How to make it

  1. Firstly, pluck the nettle tops gingerly from countryside hedgerows, or your garden borders, rinse to clean, pop them into gently boiling water to blanch for about 3 minutes then plunge into ice-cold water. When cool, about 5 minutes, strain, squeeze dry, roughly chop and set aside.
  2. Using the same pot of water, add about 3 tsp of salt, pop in the beans and cook until they’re soft, but still hold a little shape, remove from the pot, then plunge into ice-cold water, set aside and leave to cool
  3. Pop the nettles, mint, lemon juice, oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a paste
  4. In a small bowl, add the paste, the yoghurt and stir together, check and rectify the seasoning.
  5. Remove the beans from the water, pat dry and lay them on a serving platter, spoon over the dressing, scatter the nuts, splash over a little olive oil and serve.