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Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions

Nopalitos, chopped prickly pear cactus paddles sautéed with onions, garlic, jalapeno, and tomatoes.

Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions
Elise Bauer

Nopalitos are the edible young paddles of the prickly pear cactus, grown throughout their native Mexico, the southwestern United States, and the Mediterranean (brought back by the conquistadores).

The paddles are widely available in Mexican markets in the US, either whole (with spines) or prepared (cleaned, spines removed, chopped).

They are tasty cooked, and are used in many traditional Mexican dishes. Here is a quick, easy, and delisioso nopalitos recipe prepared for me by my Mexican friend and caterer Arturo Vargas.

nopalitos
Elise Bauer

Do you have a favorite nopalitos recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound nopalitos, nopales prickly pear cactus paddles that have been stripped of spines, cleaned, and chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Sauté onions, garlic, jalapeño

    Heat a tablespoon of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add red onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook for a minute, stirring occasionally.

    nopalitos-tomatoes-onions-method-2
    Elise Bauer
    nopalitos-tomatoes-onions-method-3
    Elise Bauer
  2. Add the nopalitos, then the tomatoes

    Add the nopalitos. Cook for several more minutes. Then add the chopped tomato.

    Continue to cook until all vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Links:

Cactus and Corn Salsa here on Simply Recipes

How to Cut and Prepare Prickly Pears from Garrett

Cactus and Corn Salsa from Amber here on Simply Recipes

Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions
Elise Bauer