Cactus Scrambled Eggs: I just discovered the joys of cooking with cactus and now I can't stop. This scrambled egg dish is a great intro and an easy way to get used to cooking with this fun vegetable. | macheesmo.com
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Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Cactus Scrambled Eggs: I just discovered the joys of cooking with cactus and now I can't stop. This scrambled egg dish is a great intro and an easy way to get used to cooking with this fun vegetable. | macheesmo.com

I’ve been writing on this little website for over EIGHT years now and one thing that really excites me (it’s the little things) is when I get to add a new tag to the ingredients page. It’s a pretty rare thing these days to get to do that.

But cactus! Cactus is a new one for me, but I’m officially trying to make it a thing. I first cooked with it when I was working on my new DIY Takeout video for Westword, which involves a cactus torta. It’s was a dream sandwich. Like, seriously, I dream about it still.

Once you get over the prickly parts, cactus is a joy to cook with. It’s very flexible, has a mild flavor and good crunch, and is really, really cheap. It’s especially great with eggs and cheese which makes cactus scrambled eggs kind of a no-brainer!

Cactus Scrambled Eggs: I just discovered the joys of cooking with cactus and now I can't stop. This scrambled egg dish is a great intro and an easy way to get used to cooking with this fun vegetable. | macheesmo.com

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Just a moment please...

Yield
Serves 2.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time

This scrambled egg dish is a great intro and an easy way to get used to cooking with this fun vegetable.

Ingredients

1 large cactus leaf, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced thin
3-4 eggs, scrambled
1 oz. queso fresco or queso panela
Fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
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Directions

1) To clean cactus, use a sturdy kitchen hold it down by the end so the needles don’t get ya. Then use a knife to scrape off the needles. The cactus should be completely smooth. Trim off the edges around the cactus. Repeat on both sides.

2) Chop cactus into about 1-inch segments.

3) In a small-medium skillet, add butter over medium heat. Add cactus and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cactus loses it’s liquid and turns an olive color. The liquid should cook off after 4-5 minutes.

4) When pan is mostly dry, add jalapeno peppers and toss together quickly. Cook for about a minute.

5) Remove the cactus and peppers from the skillet and wipe clean. Add 2 teaspoons of butter and melt over medium heat. Add scrambled eggs and cook until just set, maybe 90 seconds. Then fold in panela cheese.

6) When cheese is melted, remove from heat and fold in cooked cactus. SEason eggs with salt and pepper.

Serve eggs immediately with fresh cilantro and hot sauce.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Here’s the beast! You can find full cactus leaves in most Latin markets and sometimes you can even find them already cleaned and chopped for ya.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

The beast.

If you need to clean it yourself, no worries. Just run a sharp knife along the surface of the cactus, scraping off the needles. You can kind of dig out any stubborn needles. I’m far from an expert at this, but after a minute of scraping I had a nice clean cactus leaf!

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Scrape scrape.

Do that on both sides and then trim the edges off the cactus (there are needles along the edges as well). Then chop the cactus into about 1-inch bits and add it to a skillet with about a teaspoon of butter.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Cook it down.

When the cactus starts to cook it’ll start to release it’s liquid, which reminded me of okra liquid. Don’t worry though. It cooks off really fast and leaves the cactus not sticky at all. Once the liquid cooks off and the cactus has turned a light olive color, add the jalapenos. These are optional, but I like the spice.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Plus some peppers.

Cook those for just a minute until the peppers soften a tiny bit. Then remove all of that from your skillet and add more butter. Add the eggs and cook them until they are just set.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Easy eggs.

There should be some uncooked parts still. (See my tutorial on making perfect cheesy eggs.)

Then fold in the cheese of your choice. I like panela cheese for this recipe. It melts really nicely.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

Plus cheese.

Once the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked, fold in the cooked cactus and season with salt and pepper.

Cactus Scrambled Eggs

All together now.

Garnish the whole thing with fresh cilantro and chow down. Cactus scrambled eggs are SO good and definitely a new flavor combo for me. Hopefully expect to see some more cactus populating the Macheesmo archives!

Any cactus lovers out there? Leave a comment!

Cactus Scrambled Eggs: I just discovered the joys of cooking with cactus and now I can't stop. This scrambled egg dish is a great intro and an easy way to get used to cooking with this fun vegetable. | macheesmo.com

7 comments on “Cactus Scrambled Eggs

  1. WHAT? I hadn’t heard of cactus as a food before and I consider myself a serious foodie. I also shop in international markets all the time and happened to see this vegetable, but never made the association. Very exciting! I will definitely try this. What else might cactus be good on?

    1. Hey Kiara, I’ve only tried it in sandwiches and eggs like this, but it seems pretty versatile. It has a really mild flavor. Good luck!

  2. Please do be aware that it isn’t just any ole prickly pear cactus pad. You can find the right ones fresh at certain times of the year in an ethnic grocery store or go for the canned/jarred ones. They are much safer in my opinion–no pricklies to contend with. Look for Nopales or Nopalitos. They also go great in salads right along with the jicama.

  3. It sounds like it tastes kind of like a bell pepper? Mild flavor, crunchy… and I love bell peppers in eggs, so this sounds good.

  4. Nopales are also good with potatoes (cubed and sautéed with the nopales) as a side dish…and great with mole!

  5. Scrambled eggs with nopales has been one of my favorite breakfast meals since I was a child, and although I don’t really like to cook this is one of the dishes I made for myself as soon as I was old enough to turn on the stove on my own! Although this recipe is very simple, I make it even more simple; eggs, nopales, oil, tiny bit of dried pulverized oregano and salt. I have been thinking of trying this as a sort of mini frittata by baking it in muffin tins so I can take one to work each day. That would be heaven!
    We also cook nopales with pork chops and diced potatoes in a stewed green salsa, pork grinds (not the little ones you snack on) with nopales and faba beans in a green salsa, nopales with pot roast meat in a red chile cascabel salsa… And many other guisados (stew-like dishes)

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