Buffalo Tongue with Cactus

September 30, 2022

“Cactus certainly isn’t a sexy accompaniment, but it is a low-calorie food rich in amino acid, vitamins and minerals,” Chef Walter Staib says. “The cactus plant naturally absorbs moisture to survive. Pairing with a delicious protein like buffalo tongue allows for the flavors of the main dish to soak into the succulent vegetable pads.”



Rinse the tongue and place it in a large pot. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves, onion, salt and pepper and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 3 hours, until tender and cooked through.

While boiling, prepare cactus paddles by removing thorns with a knife. Wash and cut up cactus into smaller 1/2-inch strips and pieces.

Remove tongue from water and let cool enough to remove the light outer skin. Heat bacon fat in skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the tongue in 1/2-inch sections and place in skillet. Sear the slices until they are browned evenly on both sides. Remove and assemble on platter.

Using same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the diced cactus paddles, and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and let the cactus cook and sweat for about 20 minutes. Remove and serve with buffalo tongue.

Find more authentic recipes, like this Buffalo Tongue with Cactus, from "A Taste of History" at https://www.atasteofhistory.org/recipes/. For more great cooking ideas, visit our Recipes page at https://coloradocountrylife.coop/recipes/.


1 buffalo tongue (about 2 pounds)

2 bay leaves

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

Salt, to taste

Ground pepper, to taste

2 pounds cactus paddles (often called nopales)

3 tablespoons bacon fat (butter used as alternative)