Nopales or nopalitos are the pads of the nopal or prickly pear cactus, well known for its high antioxidant, vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. Nopales contain quercitin, a highly anti-inflammatory flavonoid specific for the treatment of allergies. And they are traditionally used throughout Mexico to lower blood sugar in type II diabetics. This paleo-friendly recipe is also a good way to cut the carbohydrates out of your sandwich.
Angeles learned to de-spine the nopal pads when she was seven. Her abuelita showed her that it’s all in the secret of holding the knife. She holds the nopal pad at its base with a fork over a sink lined with newspaper, and moves the knife down across the face of the cactus at a 30-degree angle. When all the spines are removed, she peels the sides of the pad.
- 2 nopales
- olive oil, enough to lightly coat the pads
- dash of salt pepper
- sandwich fillings of choice: we like grilled queso fresco, organic salsa, and grass-fed steak
After removing spines, lightly coat nopales with olive oil and grill or sauté over medium heat until just brown (about 2 min on each side).
Add a dash of salt and pepper and use as the sides in your sandwich of choice. If you leave the grill/pan hot you can grill some queso fresco and/or grass-fed steak. Drizzle with Norma’s tomatillo salsa!