A Deliciously Tasty Iguana Soup Recipe

Iguanas are a type of reptile native to Central and South America (primarily Brazil) and across the Caribbean to eastern islands. The iguana is a natural and common prey for animals like snakes, jaguars, and lizards, but it is also considered an example of native cuisine in many cultures.

Iguanas can reach upward of three feet (including their tail) and weigh up to 25 pounds if owned as a pet and kept safe from their natural predators, although they tend to be about eleven pounds on average in the wild.

While many parts of the world are unfamiliar with iguanas, the reality is that iguanas are eaten in many cultures – some consider them a delicacy. Iguana is a food staple in several parts of the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Guyana, to name a few.

Most who love to eat iguana describe the taste as similar to that of chicken. Perhaps this is the reason many Caribbean cultures who eat iguanas regularly refer to them as the Chickens of the Tree or pollo de los árboles. People enjoy iguana for its taste but also because it consists of protein that is high-quality and in amounts that exceed the protein level/type provided by chicken meat.

From stews to curries, salsas, gumbos, and soups, iguana brings a taste of the Caribbean in unique deliciousness.

Getting Ready to Make Iguana Soup

Grab a large soup pan, a cutting board, a paring knife, and a ladle as you prepare to take your taste buds on a taste journey from deep within the Caribbean and Latin cultures –

  • Preparation Time – 10 minutes.
  • Cooking Time – 65 – 70 minutes.
  • Servings – 4 – 6.

The Ingredients Used to Make A Deliciously Tasty Iguana Soup Recipe

As noted above, it is common to find a deliciously tasty iguana soup recipe across the Caribbean as well as Latin America. Iguana soup is said to be nutritious, with significant health benefits. Those who enjoy iguana believe it boosts the immune system’s effectiveness and functioning. It also promotes weight loss as it offers a great source of protein and nutrients.

Note that if you can’t find iguana meat, ask the supermarket manager or local butcher if they can get it for you and provide it cleaned, skinned, and ready for cooking.

  • The meat from one average-sized Iguana.
    Pro-tip – the exact amount of meat will vary based on the size of the iguana. Ask the butcher to clean and skin the iguana before purchase.
  • 1½ Quarts of Low Sodium Chicken Broth.
    Pro-tip – it is best to control the sodium during the cooking process by using a low-sodium broth. You can always adjust the seasoning at the end of the cooking process, and those enjoying the soup can season it to taste to their specific palate.
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic.
  • 1 Leek – Thinly Sliced.
  • 1 Tomato – Coarsely Chopped.
  • 1 Onion that is Studded With 3 Whole Cloves.
  • 1 Green Pepper – Seeded and Quartered.
  • 1/4 of a Small White Cabbage – Coarsely Chopped.
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cumin.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper.
  • A Dash of Nutmeg.
  • A Few Ounces Of Vermicelli or any variety of super small pasta.

Cooking Directions for this Tasty Iguana Soup Recipe

  1. Cut the iguana into bite-size servings before cooking.
  2. Add the chicken broth, onion, garlic, sliced leek, tomato, green pepper, or cabbage in a large stockpot or saucepan. Stir to combine all these yummy ingredients evenly.
  3. Bring these veggies and broth to a rolling boil and allow them to boil for about a minute.
  4. Reduce the heat under the vegetables and broth to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the iguana meat to the chicken broth/vegetable soup base and stir a bit to ensure all ingredients are incorporated evenly.
  6. Simmer the mixture for an additional half-hour when the added meat is added. This should be the length of time needed to ensure the iguana meat becomes tender enough, and it heats the meat to at least 165 degrees, the temperature required to ensure salmonella has been eradicated.
  7. After this 30-minute cooking period, add the remaining ingredients – cumin, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and vermicelli. Pro-tip – Those who enjoy iguana often add a bit of chili-lime seasoning to add depth to its flavor profile.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes or until vermicelli becomes tender and the soup is heated throughout.
  9. Serve piping hot with Funchi (corn-meal mush), which is an Aruban version of polenta.


Can You Freeze this Deliciously Tasty Iguana Soup Recipe?

Like most non-dairy-based soups, this tasty iguana soup recipe freezes well if stored appropriately in an airtight container. Date the container and enjoy this soup within a few months of freezing for the best result.

Are There Laws With Regard to Killing Iguanas in the United States?

State laws differ, but for example, it is legal to kill iguanas in Florida; however, Florida state law requires that iguanas be killed humanely, without suffering. On the other hand, Texas law protects iguanas. It’s illegal to kill an iguana unless they pose a threat to human safety/health. Or if are causing property damage in the Lone Star State.

Are Iguanas imported into the United States?

Due to the regulations and standards set forth by CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the importation of iguana meat is not allowed in the United States as well as in certain other countries. CITES refers to an international agreement that was established in 1973. This agreement was signed by 184 parties. It’s purpose is to help ensure that international trade does not lead to endangering any plant or animal’s ability to survive in the wild.

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