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Vegetable of the Month: Edible Cactus!

Recipes continued...

Stir-Fried Edible Cactus with Tomatoes and Herbs

Makes 4 servings
Each serving equals four and one-half 5 A Day servings.

Ingredients

1 lb edible cactus, small and thin, prickers removed
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 pint small, ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh oregano, thyme, basil, salt, pepper

Cut nopales into strips about ¼ by 2 inches. Heat oil in large skillet; add garlic and toss. Add cactus and a pinch of salt; toss to coat. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until sticky juices are thoroughly exuded and cactus is not quite tender - about 5-8 minutes; stir fairly often. Mixture will appear quite sloppy.

Uncover and stir often over moderate heat, until tender and no longer sticky, about 10 minutes.

After mixture has finished heating, toss with onion and vinegar; add tomatoes, red bell peppers and herbs and toss gently. Add salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 61, Protein 3g, Fat 2g, Calories From Fat 30%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 10g, Fiber 1g, Sodium 145mg.

Cactus Leaf (Nopales) Slaw with Red Fresno Chile

Makes 4 servings
Each serving equals one 5 A Day servings

Source: Melissa's

Ingredients

4 cactus Leaves
1 jicama
1 chili seeded and finely diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Peel the jicama including the fibrous layer just beneath the skin. Cut in half and slice jicama into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Stack the slices and cut into julienne strips.

Scrub cactus leaves and remove spines. Use a potato peeler or a knife to cut around the nodules and remove them. Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Place cactus leaves on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Set cacti leaves aside and allow to cool.

Slice cactus leaves into thin julienne strips and combine with the jicama. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 53, Protein 1g, Fat 0g, Calories From Fat 5%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 13g, Fiber 5g, Sodium 5mg.

Nopales and Couscous Salad

Makes 4 servings
Each serving equals three 5 A Day servings.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cooked, whole wheat couscous
3/4 lb small edible cactus (nopales), prickers removed
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, coarsely diced (about ¾ cup)
1 fresh chili pepper
2 Tbsp cilantro

Cook couscous according to package directions. Steam nopales about 4 minutes. Cool and cut into ¼ inch wide strips. Combine lemon juice, salt and olive oil; blend. Toss with nopales and onion. Remove stem and seeds from chili, then dice into small pieces. Add to nopales and toss. Combine with couscous and cilantro and mix well. Cover and chill until serving time.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 122, Protein 3g, Fat 4g, Calories From Fat 27%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 19g, Fiber 1g, Sodium 400mg.

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WebMD Public Information from the CDC

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on July 29, 2005

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