Hey there! Every traveler knows that when you visit a new place, food is a whole new adventure. I am pescatarian, who fell in love with Nopales the minute I tried them in Mexico City. Food in Mexico is like a new religion, and people know how to take simple ingredients and make something absolutely delicious. So, if you are looking to try something new or just wondering why Nopales are good for you – this is the post to read. The recipe I am sharing today comes straight from the kitchen of my mother-in-law, who taught my husband (who showed me 😉 ) how to prepare this healthy type of cacti.
Here are some benefits of Nopales, which I found out about after I have been eating them for a while, so it turned out to be a win-win situation for me:
– Nopales are a great source of Vitamin B6, copper, iron, fiber, Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and riboflavin;
– Nopales improve digestion, can aid in weight loss, and even prevent cancer;
– Nopales are full of antioxidants;
– The juice from the leaves of Nopales has anti-inflammatory effects;
– Nopales have been used to treat liver conditions, fatigue, wounds, glaucoma, ucers and ever type 2 diabetes.
We usually buy peeled Nopalitos from local Mexican stores in Austin, TX (like “Fiesta Mart”), so all we have to do is clean them before starting cooking.
To cook Nopalitos you need:
1) Fresh peeled and washed Nopalitos.
2) 2 cloves of garlic;
3) 1/2 onion (preferably white):
4) salt, black pepper;
5) cilantro (optional);
Getting hungry? Let’s cook!
Place a medium-size pot with water to boil and cut the Nopalitos into small strips.
Once the water is boiling, add Nopalitos and boil uncovered for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure the cactus is covered with water. It will change the color from bright green to hazel while boiling.
In the meantime, add oil to a skillet over medium heat.
Chop 2 garlic and onion. Add garlic to the skillet, cook for 30 seconds and add 3/4 of chopped onion.
Drain tender cactus and add it to the skillet. Mix everything well and add enough salt and pepper (Nopalitos do not have a particular taste, so make sure you add enough spices). Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the rest of onion and keep cooking for another 6-8 minutes stirring to make sure that cactus is cooked evenly. Garnish with cilantro (oops, we were out of it).
- Fried cactus is supposed to be a side dish (not for me though haha), so, additionally, yesterday we fried some shrimps in the same skillet to get that rich flavor and make tacos.
- My husband usually fries meat on the side and mixes it with Nopalitos to infuse the meat flavor. He also adds Nopalitos his homemade hot sauce.
- I prefer eating fried Nopalitos without adding anything just because I really like the texture and flavors. But sometimes I make a salad by adding cherry tomatoes, grilled bell peppers, avocado, queso fresco, lime juice and oi.
- Nopalitos make a perfect stuffing for breakfast burritos as well!