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Fruit & Vegetable of the Month Club: Cactus

Fruit & Vegetable of the Month Club: Cactus

If you are getting bored with the same old fruits and veggies you're eating with your five-a-day plan, then you may want to start learning about some more unusual items that you may want to add to your diet now and again.

The FDC's Fruit & Vegetable of the Month Club is a great reference for trying out new stuff. There is a new featured fruit or vegetable each month complete with a recipe. One of this month's featured veggies is cactus, something I would have never thought to add to my diet. However cactus pads actually contain beta carotene, iron, some B vitamins, and are good sources of both vitamin C and calcium.

Want to learn an easy recipe for making cactus? Then

Sautèed Nopales, Peppers and Corn
Makes 4 servings
Each serving equals 2 cups of fruit or vegetables


1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 large onion
1 Tbsp trans-fat free butter
4 small ears of small summer corn
½ lb fresh, firm edible cactus, deprickered, cut in ¼ to ½-inch dice
finely minced cilantro or parsley

Halve peppers, then remove seeds and stems. Cut into ¼–½ inch squares. Cut onions the same size. Cook both vegetables in butter in a heavy pan over moderate heat until just softened.

Shuck corn, than cut from cob. Add edible cactus and corn to peppers and onion; stir over high heat until vegetables are cooked through, but firm-tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and serve hot.


Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 184, Protein 6g, Fat 4g, Calories From Fat 20%, Cholesterol 8mg, Carbohydrates 32g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 29mg.


Now I'm going to have to go ask YumSugar where the heck I need to go to buy edible cactus...


rubiesymusica rubiesymusica 10 years
i agree with windynini and ishop2much, nopales are yummy. my mom scrapes them and cuts them into chunks and boils them with cilantro and onions. she then strains it and removes the onions and cilantro. we use it to add more veggies in a pico de gallo for anty type of taco or eggs for breakfast. we grew cactus and alor vera in our previous house but since we have a front yard that is not gated, and loose dogs come around we dod not grow it anymore in this house. :( if you have a groceer that sells hispanic foods they usually have it in the produce aisle next to all the fresh items, picked fresh or in plastic baggies all cut up and dethorned. here in texas it is sold in all the major supermarkets.
ishop2much ishop2much 10 years
If you need any help with cactus, I'd be glad to help you. I come from Mexican descent as well, and you can make this either healthy or fattening. Both are good I might add! What we typically do is boil the cactus, (first you must scrape the thorns and slice it into small squares/chunks) then once it's done boiling, add your favorite veggies. What we tend to add are chopped tomatoes, diced onions and cilantro. I like it spicier so I add jalapenos. Many hispanics know that cactus is good for many different ailments, but especially diabetes. It really does a great job of controlling blood sugar. If you live in Cali, you can probably find it in little Mexican stores, diced fresh or they sell it already diced and pickled in a jar. It's still as nutritious, but has a little flavor to it. The fruit that comes off the cactus is delicious as well! We call it tuna's, and let me tell you...once you have one, you just can't stop! Let me know if there is anything else you might want to's my absolute favorite!!!!!!!!
windynini windynini 10 years
Nopales are the best veggies ever. I come from a Mexican family and these babies are eaten at least once a week in our house. We mix them up with eggs and have them for breakfast/lunch. My mom makes a delicious salad of them with chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, cheese, avocado, a little bit of olive oil with oregano, yummy!
chibarosa chibarosa 10 years
I've been interested in trying them after seeing them in the local international market, but I never really knew how to use them. Thanks for the recipe!
Jivespeaker Jivespeaker 10 years
Yeah, I've seen them at all the places Tutta mentioned. But if you live in Texas, you can likely walk out into the yard and pick some, like me. LOL.
Tutta Tutta 10 years
I know here in Dallas you can get them at Central Market, so I would check Whole Foods and HEB.
runinthesun runinthesun 10 years
Well this certainly sounds interesting but as for where it can be found...the local farmer's market...or perhaps the local botanical gardens... ;)
zacatecanita zacatecanita 10 years
I have been eating them all my life and I like them alot! But i guess it would take some getting used to, and you have to pick them fresh or else they can be a bit sour.
Feesje Feesje 10 years
I had NO idea that cactus was a vegetable... :o
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 10 years
WOW! I ahve never tried eating one of these before! If anyone out there has tried it, it is good???
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