Although cactus leaves are picked while young and tender, they still contain spines and eyes, which must be removed thoroughly before the leaves are ingested. A vegetable peeler and a sharp paring knife are the best tools to accomplish this task. The flavour of the leaves—similar to asparagus or a tart green bean—makes them a winning addition to soups, stews, and stir-fries.
1 Tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, thinly sliced diagonally
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cactus leaves (with spines and eyes removed), thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 tsp (2 to 5 mL) grated ginger
3/4 lb (350 g) medium-firm tofu, cut into chunks
1 cup (250 mL) canned pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1/4 cup (60 mL) reserved pineapple juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
Dash of black pepper
To prepare cactus leaves, wearing gloves, hold leaf on cutting board and, using a sharp knife, scrape the spines (or thorns or eyes), running knife from back to front until completely clean. Repeat on other side and then trim off the edges and rinse.
Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Add onion and carrots and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add minced garlic, cactus leaves, and ginger, and stir-fry for 2 minutes more. Add tofu and continue to stir-fry until tofu is lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly.
Serve over rice or similar grain.
Each serving contains: 179 calories; 11 g protein; 9 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 17 g total carbohydrates (9 g sugars, 4 g fibre); 303 mg sodium
from "Cook on the WIld Side", alive #365, March 2013
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