A Succulent Serving: Cooking With Nopales

While cactus pears are the delicious, flowering fruit of a cactus, they are not the only edible part of the plant. In the spirit of sustainability and creativity, we’d like to explore dishes using cactus pads, also known as nopales. Commonly served in Mexican cuisine, nopales are crunchy on the outside, but have a soft interior. With a flavor similar to green beans, they can bring a little slice of the American Southwest to your menu. Here are a few dishes to look to for inspiration.

Gifted Guacamole

Want to spice up your guacamole? By chopping nopales and adding them to your mixture, you can bring an extra layer of texture to your dish. To take it to the next level, consider including roasted jalapeños or chiles to your guacamole, as the flavors compliment each other nicely. Serve the guacamole on its own or with your favorite classic Mexican dish.

Blissful Breakfast

We’re big fans of combining nopales with eggs. Though the pairing may seem a little odd, the nutritional value and flavor speak for themselves. Stir frying nopales and scallions with scrambled eggs makes a quick, no-fuss dish that pairs wonderfully with Cotija cheese or salsa.

  • Pro Tip: Consider using nopales in a southwestern omelette! Simply combine with beans, bell pepper, and the protein of your choosing.

Fantastic Fries

Bring southwestern sophistication to an American classic with nopales fries. Easier to prepare than you would think, simply boil the cactus before cutting, and then fry them after dipping in a standard deep-fry batter. This dish is great for dipping in salsa, and will have a taste reminiscent of fried okra.

Rewarding Ribs

“Costillas de puerco y chiles rojo”, or pork ribs and red chiles, is a traditional Mexican dish known for its astoundingly rich flavor. Essentially a stew with a mixture of chilis, garlic, and tomatoes, it is best prepared with a slow-cooking method. Adding nopales brings texture, color, and freshness to this classic dish while staying firmly rooted in Mexican culture.