How to cook nopales (cactus)

How to cook nopales (cactus)

How to cook nopales (cactus) Recipes

How to cook nopales (cactus): a perfect meaty veggie for vegan dishes. Awesome in Mexican-inspired meals or tossed with a little chimichurri!

Cuisine :
Recipe Yields :
Prep time : 5 minutes
Cook time : 20 minutes
Keywords : ,


  • Nopales paddles
  • Oil (optional)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (smashed, optional)


  1. Pick nopales paddles that are flexible but not soft. They should give a little but not TOO much. Smaller paddles are more tender.
  2. Remove knobs and spines with a knife or peeler. See post for greater detail. Trim the edges about 1/4″ and the base about 1/2″. Wash and then cut into strips or squares, as you desire.
  3. Two options for cooking. First: bring a pot of salted water with a couple smashed cloves of garlic to boil. Add prepared nopales and let boil about 15-20 minutes, or until tender and gelatinous substance has seeped out. Drain and use as desired.
  4. Second option: Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat on the stove and add a bit of oil. Add cactus and a pinch of salt and cook for a couple minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Let sweat and cook 20 minutes, or until clear substance has evaporated. Use as desired.

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