How To Make Nopales Cactus Tacos
How To Prepare Nopales
Start by cleaning your cactus paddles.
- Fill up a basin or bowl with water and submerged your cactus in water and start brushing to take out any dirt. Don’t forget to use some rubber gloves to keep you from getting hurt from its thorns.
- You can use a vegetable peeler or a knife to take out the thorns and bumps from the paddles and their edges.
Once your nopales are clean and thorn-free, cut them into dice and cook them in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Their lush and bright green color will turn into olive pale green. Dry and cool them before using them for your salad.
How To Prepare Nopales and Roasted Corn Salad
In a medium-size bowl, combine the nopales, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, and some salt. Toss them until well combined. Saute your nopales mixture in a skillet over medium heat. Add in your kernel corn just before the nopales mixture starts to brown. Cook the nopales and roasted corn salad just until it’s heated through. Keep it warm while preparing to assemble the tacos.
How To Assemble Nopales and Roasted Corn Tacos
Start with heating up the tortilla for 2-3 minutes or until it’s lightly toasted in a greased griddle or skillet. While the tortillas are heating up, add in your shredded cheese and top it with your nopales and roasted corn salad. Serve it warm and garnish with some sour cream and lime juice mixture, slices of avocados, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro leaves.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cactus Paddles - also known as nopales and prickly pear cactus, this is a common vegetable in Mexico and can be cooked by boiling or grilling. It’s slimy like okra and the flavor is almost like green beans but a bit acidic.
- Yellow Onion - pungent and has a strong onion flavor but when cooked, gives off a sweet flavor that will complement this taco recipe.
- Jalapeno Pepper - compared with other fresh chilies, jalapenos have less heat or are just moderately spicy but has a bright flavor that helps lift up your palette.
- Cilantro - also known as coriander and commonly found in Latin American, Asian, and Caribbean dishes. Not everyone appreciates the flavor of cilantro but to those who do, describe it as vibrant.
- Fire Roasted Corn Kernels - roasting corn kernels is super quick and easy, you can easily fire roast it in a skillet. The smoky flavor is a great addition to this dish making it richer and fuller. You can also use frozen corn kernels, just thaw them before adding them to the nopales mixture.
- White Corn Tortillas - you can use store-bought tortillas and you can also make corn tortillas from scratch with just 3 ingredients. You can use this recipe for Homemade Corn Tortillas.
- Monterey Cheese - this type of cheese has a mild and buttery flavor and will go well with all the flavors of these tacos. You can also use a Mexican cheese blend.
Tips & Suggestions
- Garnish - tacos always taste better with some garnish! For this recipe, slices of avocado, sour cream with lime juice, and crumbled cotija are highly recommended for a full and better taco experience.
- Leftover nopales - if you have some leftover nopales, you can use it for some nopales salad. You can use it with other leftover vegetables like tomatoes and toss it with your favorite dressing and top it with cotija cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can nopales be refrigerated?
Nopales can keep up to a week in a refrigerator. Just place it in a sealed plastic bag to keep it fresh. Freezing nopales is not recommended since the quality can be affected.
How to make nopales less slimy?
Nopales are naturally slimy, like okra. If you like its flavor but not the slimy texture, you can dice it, toss it in salt, and bake it for 20-30 minutes.
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