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 list of ingredients featured on all Macheesmo recipes. 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
- 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
- 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.
- Chop cactus into about 1-inch segments.
- 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.
- When pan is mostly dry, add jalapeno peppers and toss together quickly. Cook for about a minute.
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked, fold in the cooked cactus and season with salt and pepper.
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!