Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, to talk over platters and bowls of food, and to merry-make with our loved ones. Every year, there’s probably someone in the family or your group of friends who are tasked to handle the Thanksgiving dinner. Is this year your turn? If you’re tired of the usual fare being served during your annual Thanksgiving dinners, maybe up the competition a notch by going full succulents on them. That’s right. Unknown to many, there are many delicious recipes that involve succulents. You can make a whole feast—from appetizers to soups to salads to entrees—out of succulents.


How about a mini taco that can be passed around from one table to another? You can saute the cactus with your favorite taco filling like chicken, shrimps, beef, and pork. You can choose between a hard taco shell or a soft taco shell. The crunch of the cacti leaf, which is meaty and sumptuous, will be an exciting surprise for your guests.


A heartwarming nopales soup on a chilly winter night is the best way to jumpstart your Thanksgiving dinner. You can make a lentil and cactus soup by boiling water in a soup pot with garlic, lentils, and chicken bouillon. After the lentils become soft at the one-hour mark, you can then lower the heat to a simmer. In a separate skillet, put extra-virgin olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the tomato and stir until the tomato releases its juice. Add the lentil, the cumin, and the chicken bouillon before putting the nopales and the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.


Grilled cactus sounds good to you? That’s right. You can grill the cactus leaves and chop them into cubes. Put your favorite dressing together (a light virgin olive oil with a squeeze of lemon sounds wonderful), as well as other vegetables and garnishes such as iceberg lettuce, onions, olives, chopped eggs, and cherry tomatoes. Toss them all together and you’ll come up with a wonderful salad that everyone will love.

Main Entrees

Okay, you can still have your turkey dinner, don’t worry. Prepare your turkey the way you like it—with stuffing and turkey gravy and your cranberry sauce. But on the side, instead of the usual carbs like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, you can serve the turkey with a cactus salsa. Turn your Thanksgiving dinner a bit Mexican by chopping the cactus into bite-sized pieces and mixing it with tomatoes, onions, and corn kernels. Drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and Himalayan salt, and you’re good to go.

And while there are no succulent desserts, you can always design your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies into cactus shapes. Simply purchase a cookie cutter in the shape of a cactus and color your cookies with same colorful foliage of the succulents in your garden. Using the right piping tip, you can also create a rosette on your cupcakes.

About the author
Giancarlo Perlas
A freelance writer who loves cars, sports, carpentry, and gardening. Check him out on Twitter at @giancarloperlas and Pinterest at Succulent Shaman.

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