Vegetable of the Month: Edible Cactus!
The edible cactus you buy should be de-spined though you will need to trim
the "eyes," to remove any remaining prickers, and outside edges of the
pads with a vegetable peeler. Trim off any dry or fibrous areas and rinse
thoroughly to remove any stray prickers and sticky fluid.
Edible cactus can be eaten raw or cooked. To cook, steam over boiling water
for just a few minutes (if cooked too long they will lose their crunchy
texture). Then slice and eat! Cactus can also be cut and sautéed in butter or
oil for a few minutes.
Steamed cactus can be added to scrambled eggs and omelets, or diced fresh
and added to tortillas. They can also be substituted for any cooked green in
The pads can be served as a side dish or cooled and used in salads. They
taste especially good with Mexican recipes that include tomatoes, hot peppers
and fresh corn.
Make Edible Cactus Part of Your 5 A Day Plan
- Cut up and add to salads.
- Dice and add to your favorite salsa recipe or any store
- bought salsa.
- Cut up and add to any corn side dish.
- Dice edible cactus and add to couscous along with diced tomatoes.
- Add to your favorite burrito along with lettuce and tomatoes.
Scrambled Eggs with Edible Cactus
Makes 4 servings
Each serving equals one 5 A Day serving
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1/4 lb edible cactus (nopales), de-prickered,
rinsed, and cut into ¼ inch squares
2 Tbsp peeled and diced medium-hot chili-pepper
or low sodium diced tomatoes
1 3/4 up egg substitute
salt and pepper
Toast nuts in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring often;
Spray nonstick pan with cooking spray. Stir in cactus; toss gently over
moderate heat until crisp-tender (about 4-5 minutes). Stir in chilipepper.
Blend eggs, adding salt to taste. Add eggs to cactus and chilies. Stir often
until set. Sprinkle with pepper and pine nuts and serve hot.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 52, Protein 10g, Fat 0g, Calories
From Fat 5%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 2g, Fiber 0g, Sodium 264mg.