Let them eat cactus! 3 delicious nopales recipes

As a former picky eater myself, I am still sometimes struggling with eating more vegetables. But I know these days that making an effort to eat more greens (and less red meat) is really important. There's one green I never considered though, and that's cactus.

The cactus is pretty famous in Mexican cuisine, though. After reading about how having a healthy nopales salad is really good for you, I decided to look for more recipes using this unusual ingredients—especially recipes that would be perfect for dinner. Incorporating chorizo, chicken and pork ribs with nopales as a meal is a great treat for the whole family.


Read more ¿Qué más? Healthy Mexican Recipe! Ensalada de Nopales.

Nopales with Chorizo (recipe courtesy of Mexico in My Kitchen)

2 cups of cooked nopales (Prickly pear cactus paddles)
3 chorizos (About 2 oz each)
1 ½ Tablespoon of vegetable oil
½ cup of finely diced onion
2 medium tomatoes (about 1 ½ cup diced)
1 serrano pepper
1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground cumin (optional)
Salt and ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the Chorizo (casings removed) and keep cooking about 8-9 minutes. Stirring from time to time.

3. While the chorizo is cooking place the tomato, serrano pepper and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and cook in medium  heat until tomatoes and pepper are tender.   After cooking, place the tomato and pepper with a 1/4 cup of the water in your blender and process until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.

4. Once the chorizo has cooked add the nopales and stir.

5. Add the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes just to let the flavors to blend. Adding more water if skillet becomes too dry. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately with corn tortillas.

Nopales Chicken in Green Salsa (recipe courtesy of Kraft)

2  broiler-fryer chickens (6 lb.), cut up
4 large  cactus paddles (1-1/2 lb.), cut into 3-inch-wide strips
2 jars (16 oz. each) green salsa
6 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, coarsely crumbled
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream

1. Heat extra-large skillet or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add chicken, in batches; cook 3 min. on each side or until browned on both sides. Remove from skillet; cover to keep warm.

2. Add cactus to skillet; cook and stir 3 min. or until crisp-tender. Stir in salsa; bring to boil. Add chicken; simmer on medium-low heat 30 min. or until cooked through (165ºF). Remove from heat; stir in bacon and cilantro. Serve topped with sour cream.

Pork Ribs in Chile Verde Sauce with Nopales (recipe courtesy of Shedir81 on YouTube)

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Have you ever cooked with cactus before? Are you planning to try one of these recipes?

Images via Mexico in My Kitchen, Kraft