Nopal Cactus (aka Prickly Pear Cactus)

Nopal Cactus (aka Prickly Pear Cactus)
July 30, 2016 Christina Mullin

Nopales cactus is found along U.S. roadsides in the desert southwest and throughout its native Mexico. Nopal has several health benefits from treating diabetes, to high cholesterol, and obesity. It’s also touted for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-oxidant properties. The June 2009 issue of “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition” reports that when tested against colon, liver, breast and prostate cancer, nopal’s phytochemical compounds inhibited the growth of cells in all four cancers without affecting the healthy cells of the body.

To prepare fresh cactus leaf, carefully scrape the spines off and slice into string bean size pieces. In a cast iron skillet, sauté for five to ten minutes in a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Eat it on it’s own, or as a side vegetable with eggs, salad, chili, and stir-fry dishes.

So delicious! The nopal featured here was picked from my own garden. Use caution when picking it as they are covered with tiny and large prickles. I used tongs to hold them when I cut the paddles off the plant and also when I cleaned it.