10 Delicious Recipes Made With Invasive Species

Wanna help the environment? Grab some plates. In this globalized era, invasive organisms have become a threat that demands the attention of every country on earth. Luckily, many transplanted species just happen to make for good eating—so, in honor of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, we’ve gathered 11 awesome recipes that will help you bite back and dazzle your dinner guests in one eco-friendly stroke.

1. Lionfish Nachos

These predators definitely fall into the “pretty-but-deadly” category. Venomous, fast-breeding lionfish are currently wreaking havoc on the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. But fear not: concerned citizens can start reading The Lionfish Cookbook: The Caribbean’s New Delicacy, which features 45 dishes—including an excellent nacho appetizer.

2. Kudzu Quiche

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Reviled as “the vine that ate the South,” kudzu has been smothering Uncle Sam’s shrubs and devouring Dixie since it was championed as an anti-erosion wonder plant during the early 20th century. Southerners can score succulent vengeance via yummy kudzu quiche. Unfortunately, New Yorkers may soon join them, since the plant is steadily creeping northwards.

3. Smothered River Rat (Cajun Style)

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Louisiana’s bayous—and menus—have long been infiltrated by South American river rats (or “nutrias”). Evidently, they taste like rabbit. Pass the gumbo!

4. Steamed Snakehead

“You can invade my stomach anytime!” said one Annapolis restaurant patron after tasting his first snakehead entrée. In 2002, Maryland’s government was so mortified by the prospect of these scary-looking fish getting a local foothold that it resorted to poisoning an infested pond! Such a pity: A cook-off would have been much cheaper. You can find a number of recipes for how to cook the fish—including a soup with sweet corn—here.

5. Apple and Knotweed Pie

Looking for a guilt-free pie? Of course you are. By adding the Japanese knotweed as an extra ingredient in your apple pie, you can jazz up the flavor and take comfort in knowing that you’re using America’s most patriotic dessert to help take down one of her toughest invasive species.

6. Cane Toad Stir Fry

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Today, these notorious amphibians are eating their way through Florida, Hawaii, Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, the Philippines, and the Caribbean. But that could all change when word gets out that their scrumptious legs are world-class stir fry ingredients.

7. Silverberry Spicebush Bread

Exotic yet familiar, the crimson berries of this plant, native to China, Korea, and Japan, can be mashed up and incorporated into a sweet, delectable bread.

8. Wild Boar Bacon

Native to Eurasia, wild boars now terrorize 39 states and cause $400 million worth of annual damages in Texas alone, arguably making them America’s most destructive foreign organism. On a positive note, at least you can generate gamey bacon from these dangerous swine. 

9. Garlic Mustard Pesto

With a name like “garlic mustard,” it has to be good! An unwelcome sight in the Midwest and elsewhere, these European plants can sure punch up pasta nights.

10. Green Iguana Ragout

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Green iguanas might be popular in the pet trade, but as voracious and indiscriminate herbivores, they’re out-competing several of Florida’s vegetarian insects. So what do the five-foot lizards taste like? Chicken, of course. 

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