February 25

3 Delicious Cactus Recipes


by Julie Baker

Studies suggest eating cactus can reduce cholesterol, body fat, and blood pressure. Try these fantastic cactus recipes to up your intake.

1. Authentic Cactus Leaves Salad

Try this authentic Mexican dish. With only 10 ingredients and 60 calories, it takes 30 minutes to prepare.


  • 4 cactus leaves (medium, cleaned of spines)

  • 3 green onions (chopped)

  • 3 medium tomatoes (fresh, diced)

  • 1 lime

  • 1 bunch cilantro (chopped)

  • 1/4 cup queso anejo (crumbled, or queso cotija or Feta)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano (dried)

  • salt and pepper


  1. To prepare the cactus, clean the spines from the leaves and wash them.

  2. You'll need to thinly slice the nopales before putting them in a pot with water and covering them. Make sure to add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

  3. The leaves can cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-high heat. You want them tender.

  4. As the leaves cook, chop the tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Place them aside.

  5. Once cooked, remove the nopales from the stove. Place the veggies in an ice water bath and let them cool.

  6. Once cool, mix the leaves with the onion, cilantro, tomato, and Mexican oregano, squeezing lime over the salad, adding oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

  7. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over the salad, serve, and enjoy.

2. Mexican Picadillo

Looking for something a little more filling? This picadillo recipe is a complete meal and only takes 30 minutes.


  • 600 grams ground beef

  • 300 milliliters tomato puree (canned)

  • 3 tomatoes (peeled and diced)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 carrots (diced)

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 onion (diced)

  • 1 cup cactus (acitron, candied, may substitute candied pineapple)

  • 3/4 cup almonds (chopped)

  • 3/4 cup peas (small can)

  • 3/4 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon herbs (Italian)

  • salt and pepper


  1. In a pan, place the onion and oil and saute for a few minutes before adding the garlic and meat. Stir the beef, allowing it to cook and separate but not brown, five minutes.

  2. Increase the heat while adding tomato puree, tomato, broth, salt, and pepper. When boiling, turn down to low heat.

  3. Add the cactus, almonds, peas, and carrots, mixing well. Allow the mix to cook for five minutes on low heat, covered.

  4. Add the remaining ingredients after removing from the heat and approximately 15 minutes prior to serving. The bay leaf can be removed when served.

3. Egg and Cactus-Paddle Tacos

Want a breakfast or brunch for champions? Try this recipe.


  • 8 corn tortillas

  • 4 eggs (beaten)

  • 2 cactus paddles (trimmed of any thorns/blemishes with a vegetable peeler)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 onion (small, finely diced)

  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

  • 1/2 red bell pepper (seeded and diced)

  • 1/2 cup cilantro (finely chopped)

  • salt and pepper

  • salsa, sour cream, avocado (optional)


  1. Cut the cactus into inch-long, 1/2 inch thick strips, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes in salted, boiling water until tender. Then, drain, rinse, and set aside.

  2. Place the tortillas, wrapped in foil, in a low heat oven to warm.

  3. Over medium heat, get the butter hot and foamy, adding in the garlic, onions, and bell pepper to saute for seven to eight minutes. Stir often.

  4. Season the mix with pepper and salt and lower the heat. Add the cactus strips and allow them to cook for another two minutes. Pour the eggs over the mixture and scramble.

  5. Divide the eggs into the tortillas and garnish. Serve and enjoy.

Know of any other delicious cactus recipes?


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