Legacy of Passion

Slow-Cooker Cactus Pear Chicken with Broccoli Rabe

While the cactus pear can be intimidating to use because of their hard seeds, sometimes all it takes to get creative with new ingredients is to know how to use them. As soon as you extract that sweet juice, you will want to use them in everything. This slow cooker cactus pear chicken with broccoli rabe brings the perfect combination of flavors and fall-off-the-bone comfort.

Recipe by Candice Walker

Candice Walker is the voice behind Proportional Plate, a food blog where weekly meal planning couldn’t be any simpler. She teaches how to meal plan seasonally to reduce waste, minimizing kitchen time so you can enjoy all the other important things in your life!

Serves: 4-6
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4-5 hours
Total: 5 hours 15 minutes


  • 4 bone-in chicken leg quarters
  • 5-6 Andy Boy cactus pears, quartered & peeled
  • 1 bunch Andy Boy broccoli rabe, large stems removed
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


1. Remove and discard the skin from the chicken. Arrange the chicken in an even layer in the slow cooker.

2. Add the cactus pears to a blender or food processor. Run until smooth. Strain to remove seeds.

3. Mix together the cactus pear juice, orange juice, lime juice, agave, garlic, oregano, chili powder, and salt in a medium bowl and pour it over the chicken.

4. Cover and cook 3-4 hours on low.

5. Add the broccoli rabe to the slow cooker on top of the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone, 1 more hour on low.

6. Optional: Transfer the liquid from the slow-cooker to a saucepan. Simmer until reduced by half. Pour over the chicken. Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Cactus Pear Chicken with Broccoli Rabe