Preparing Cactus Pads (Nopales)


I first had nopales (cactus pads) in a street taco years ago and have been hooked ever since!  They have a chewy texture with a light, tart flavor.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a grocery that sells them de-thorned and ready to use, then the steps below describe how to prepare them.  I love them plain (sauteed or grilled), but they also make a great addition to tacos and salsa.


cactus pads (nopales)


1.  CAUTION: the cactus pads are VERY thorny, so please be careful (see picture on the left)!  Wear gloves if you feel uncomfortable with the prickly thorns.

2.  Use a knife to carefully cut off the thorns (I work against the grain by starting a the broad flat end and cutting towards the thick base).  Throw the thorny parts away.

3.  Once all the dark eyes are gone, take a sharp knife and trim all the way around the cactus pad (see picture on the right).  You’re now ready to cook it!


One thought on “Preparing Cactus Pads (Nopales)

  1. Pingback: Garlicy Nopales (Cactus Pads) – Edgy Veggie Bytes

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