Cactus tacos

By Olinca Trejo
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  • 2 nopales/cactus paddles
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped
  • Cilantro (for garnish)
  • Guacamole/pico de gallo or avocado (for serving)
  • Other toppings: fresh cheese, sour cream


  1. Using tongs or rubber gloves, carefully remove cactus paddle spines/thorns on both sides with a sharp knife and cut the outer perimeter (about three millimeters) from each cactus paddle.
  2. Make four to five slits in the skin of the cactus (careful not to cut through it), rub with garlic, lime and oil, sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. If grilling: set your grill for medium heat. Grill cactus on both sides until lightly charred and the pad becomes tender (10-15 minutes).
  4. If cooking: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Cook until pad becomes tender (colour will change to a pale green as it cooks) and begins to develop a light brown colour and its juices evaporate (about three to four minutes per side).
  5. Once grilled or cooked, cut into strips (about six millimeters)
  6. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium/high heat, add tomato, onion, chile, salt and pepper to taste. Once tomatoes and onion soften, add nopales. Cook for two minutes.
  7. Serve nopales on tortillas with guacamole/pico de gallo or avocado, garnished with cilantro and toppings of your choice!


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