If you’ve never tried nopales, well then your in lucky. Today I’m sharing with you a very simple recipe to get you started. Now, there are many ways to enjoy Nopales, you can sautéed them and add them to your salad, scramble them with tofu, but my absolute favorite way to eat them is grilled and put in a taco with avocado and vegan cheese.
Vegan Nopales & Corn Tacos
If you haven’t had these yet let me tell you that they are surprisingly tart tasting– they’re something in between rhubarb and asparagus. They are also very juicy, kind of like aloe vera if you’re familiar with that. This is due to the ridiculous amount of pectin that makes nopal cactus insanely high in fiber. Not just in fiber but nopal cactus is also known for being high in vitamin C and rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, they’re really good for you!
If you don’t have access to cactus nopales you should be able to find them at a grocery store in the produce section or at a local Mexican food market. Thankfully we get the freshest nopales, already trimmed and ready to cook! When buying nopales you want to avoid those that have dark spots and try to find some that are crispy. That is what matters when you choose the nopales. If they are soft and bendable, do not buy them.
This vegan nopales and corn taco is one of our favorite ways to eat nopales. You can fire roast fresh ears of corn over a grill or you can find bags of fire roasted corn in the freezer section at your local Sprouts or supermarket. Either way, the fire roasted flavor is absolutely necessary for this recipe, it gives the tacos a depth of flavor and smokiness that plain corn just can’t provide.
- FOR THE NOPALES:
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 4 cactus paddles (5-7 inches in length) - cleaned & sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, diced (optional)
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- Sea salt to taste
- FOR THE TACOS:
- 1½ cups raw organic sweet corn
- 8-10 corn tortillas
- 1 cup vegan cheese (I used follow your heart brand)
- 1 avocado, cut into slices
- fresh cilantro leaves & lime wedges for serving
- Heat a large cast iron skillet with 1 tbsp avocado oil over medium high heat. Add sliced nopales to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until mixture is warmed and just beginning to brown
- Add sliced onion and red bell pepper to the skillet & cook with the nopales for a few minutes until heated throughout. Add in seasoning and liquid smoke - turn off heat & leave skillet on the stovetop to stay warm while you prepare the tacos
- Warm a griddle over medium heat, once hot, add a few corn tortillas to the griddle & cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Fill with each tortilla with the nopales, using about ½ cup of filling per taco (use more or less depending on the size of your tortillas)
- Remove filled tortillas from griddle and put on plates to serve. To each taco add raw sweet corn, a slice or two of avocado, vegan cheese & fresh cilantro leaves
- Serve tacos with lime wedges. Enjoy!
I like to add refried black beans to up my protein and fiber intake :)
Let me know what you think when you give this recipe a “go”! When you try it, take a picture and post it on Instagram — also be sure to tag @livesimplynatural and #livesimplynatural so the LSN community can get inspired by your dish too :)