In this collection of our best 18 Prickly Pear Recipes, you will find fantastic new ideas to add to your recipe repertoire.
Prickly pears, also known as cactus figs, are edible fruits that grow on the nopales cactus.
It has been a staple in Mexican and Central American cooking for years because they are delicious as they are gorgeous.
It is also gaining popularity around the world as a healthy addition to a balanced diet.
Prickly pear plants are a bit tricky to prepare, as they have three different sections, although all are edible
The first section is the pad of the cactus, called nopal, that can be used as a vegetable.
The second section is the flower petals that can be used as a garnish or added to salads.
The third section is the pear, which can be eaten just like any other fruit.
With a sweet and bright flavor, the prickly pear is said to taste like watermelon.
Recipes for prickly pear can be made into almost anything too, such as Texas Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly, Gum Drops, and Prickly Pear Cactus Margarita.
Remember to check out #16 on the list if you’d like to try a unique snack recipe!
If you are thinking about what to do with prickly pear and you are still hesitant to make meals out of it, you can try a simple syrup to familiarize yourself with the taste.
The syrup is made with boil, mashed, and strained prickly pear fruit in sugar.
Use this simple syrup on waffles and pancakes, on top of other fruits, or in any dessert that needs syrup.
When you look for prickly pears, remember that the mature ones are blackish purple or darker green.
Pro tip: Feel free to add lemon for tartness.
This prickly pear recipe is a classic Mexican breakfast dish.
It’s a yummy blend of jalapenos, eggs, and onions.
Eat this breakfast staple as is, spoon it into tortillas or serve it with queso fresco and avocado slices.
As for the nopal, you can find them in the pads of the prickly pear cactus, fresh, or you can purchase them already cut into pieces, without the spines, and ready to cook.
If you purchase them fresh, it is best to look for small pads because they have more flavor.
One of the most famous prickly pear fruit recipes is jelly.
Say goodbye to the usual peanut butter and jelly combination because you can now take your sandwiches to the next level with prickly pear jelly!
To make this prickly pear jelly, add lime juice, powdered pectin, sugar, and of course—prickly pear juice.
You can try it on toast, scones, or English muffins.
Prickly pear jelly is not just for toasts and scones, it also adds flavor to grilled meat.
For this recipe, marinate the chicken breasts with the mixture of prickly pear cactus jelly, clove, olive oil, Dijon mustard, orange zest, and finely chopped jalapeno.
After grilling the meat, reheat the remaining sauce and drizzle it over the cooked chicken and oranges.
This one here is one of the prickly pear recipes worth trying out!
This lively, savory salad uses bold and beautiful cactus pears, zucchini, and shallots.
And figs! Fresh ones.
This recipe is not for the faint of heart; you may be spending some time at the farmer’s market hunting down fresh figs and cactus pears for this delight.
It’s a showstopper, just make sure you can find these amazing ingredients before you get started.
One of the most beloved prickly pear cactus recipes, this elegant yet easy-to-make dessert will surely complete your meal.
This light sorbet is made of prickly pears, lemon juice, sugar, and salt.
If you want an elegant, light, and satisfying dessert, try this cactus pear sorbet.
You need an ice cream machine for this.
Just add sugar, salt, lemon juice, and prickly pears to start enjoying this sweet treat.
7. Lemon Bars
When it comes to prickly pear dessert recipes, you can never go wrong with these Lemon Bars.
Prickly pear lemon bars are sweet and tangy, and they have a buttery crust that you will surely enjoy.
Also, the pink color is striking and it makes it so enticing to eat.
It starts with a cookie base made with butter, flour, chopped pecans, and sugar.
The tart’s sweet filling consists of lemon juice, lemon zest, and a considerable amount of prickly pear juice.
You can add chopped pecans so you can have something to chew on.
It takes 35 to 40 minutes to make, and you can add powdered sugar on top.
Want a healthy alternative to French fries?
Turn the prickly pear nopales into the main ingredient instead of potatoes.
You won’t have to worry about it being soaked in oil because these fries are baked, not fried.
These vegan, crunchy cactus fries are best paired with spicy ancho chili dip.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
This bold, deep purple smoothie has a few simple ingredients: cactus pears, almond milk, banana…
While it’s vegan and gluten-free, this juicy-looking smoothie combined with some berries (substitute any you have on hand) will pack some delicious energy into your morning.
Or anytime. Who’s to say that cactus is just for breakfast anymore?
Looking for a unique drink to serve your guests?
You can try this pink-colored tequila-based Margarita.
The recipe calls for prickly pear syrup, but you can also use the juice from fresh fruit.
This can be served on a night out with your friends, or you can just make one for yourself.
This refreshing Limeade has a unique twist.
You can enjoy the fruity and healthy prickly pears in this minty limeade that is served cold and over ice.
It is a simple mocktail that you can sip all summer long.
It uses a stevia-based sweetener, but you can also use the sweetener of your choice.
13. Tonic And Lime
Prickly pears tonic and lime is a wonderfully hydrating, non-alcoholic drink that is easy to make.
You can fix yourself this drink in only five minutes.
Just make sure that the four ingredients: water, diet tonic water, lime juice, and prickly pear juice, are all ready to mix.
14. Pork Ribs
Pork ribs are a decadent and flavorful choice for dinner every day.
However, the Pork Ribs with prickly pear are best served during special occasions, it is just that tasty.
It takes an hour to prepare so make sure that you have enough time.
The dish has 100 calories per serving, so if you are watching what you eat, this is great for you.
It is ideal for those who are on a diet and are looking for something delicious to eat.
The sweet, savory, and spicy flavors will surely tantalize the taste buds.
Nopal cactus provides nutrition, texture, and taste to a lot of Mexican dishes.
The Nopales Chopped Prickly Pear Pads recipe combines six ingredients for a flavorful and decadent dish that your friends and family will enjoy.
Have this as a side dish with your favorite meal, as a light lunch, or you can even have it as an afternoon snack.
Any way you have it, your taste buds will surely thank you.
18. Gum Drops
Prickly pears make some pretty delicious Gum Drops.
It is a fun recipe to make.
However, keep in mind that the climate and other factors may affect the overall quality of the gumdrops.
You may need more pectin than called for to get them to firm up if you are in a humid climate.
The gumdrops take overnight to prepare, and it has a shelf life of two weeks.
The bottom line
When it comes to what to do with prickly pear, there are a lot of options that you can consider.
Prickly pears may classify as fruit, but they are very versatile.
From main dishes, dessert, to drinks, you can add them to almost anything.
It adds a sweet and melon-like flavor to recipes.
The fruit may be intimidating to harvest, but they are surprisingly very easy to handle.
- Prickly Pear Syrup
- Nopales Con Huevo (Cactus With Eggs)
- Texas Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly
- Grilled Chicken And Oranges With Prickly Pear Glaze
- Red Leaf & Cactus Pear Autumn Salad
- Cactus Pear Sorbet
- Lemon Bars
- Cactus Fries (Nopalitos Fritos)
- Cactus Pear & Berry Smoothie
- Prickly Pear Cactus Margarita
- Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
- Tonic And Lime
- Pork Ribs
- Lamb Rib Chops
- Nopales Chopped Pads
- Gum Drops
- Take a look at our Prickly Pear Recipes list!
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