Recipe: Stuffed Nopales


If you’ve tried our cactus fries recipe, you already know that cactus pads, or nopales, have an amazing, lemony flavor. Here’s another way to enjoy them, stuffed or topped with your favorite Southwestern ingredients!

Traditionally, the pads are grilled outside, typically on a warm Summer evening! But they can be cooked on the stove as well, either in a cast iron or other skillet.

What you’ll need are:

3 – 5 cactus pads (Opuntia spp.)

Mozzarella, or another queso

2 tomatoes

1 onion

2 – 3 medium sized avocados

1 – 2 pounds of ground beef (or turkey, chicken, carnitas, so on)

Assorted seasonings; camino, cayenne, salt, pepper, etc.

First, clean and de-spine your cactus pads in a sink, under running water. Then begin browning the ground beef (or other meat) and mix in the seasonings or sauces of your choice. While the meat is cooking, dice up the tomatoes and the onion and mix them together in a bowl. Skin and slice up your avocados.

For larger pads, you can slice into them, turning them into cactus pockets. For smaller pads, they’re just as good topped with all the ingredients instead of stuffed.

Once the meat is done cooking, take it off the heat and place your cheese either in or on top of your cactus pads. Add the warm meat quickly for gooey-cheese effect! Next add the tomatoes and onion and top with avocado slices.

Enjoy these with friends, in the beautiful twilight around a fire, and watch the stars come out!


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