Ensalada de Nopalitos Activity

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Updated on Aug 23, 2013

Cactus isn’t an ingredient that is commonly used in American cooking, but the tender pads or paddles of the plant, also known as prickly pear, are used in Mexico as a vegetable in many dishes. It can be purchased in specialty markets and online, packaged fresh, pickled or preserved. 

Be adventurous and celebrate Mexican culture with this simple recipe using pickled nopalitos! Nopales have a mild flavor and lend Mexican flair to this zesty and spicy side dish.

What You Need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 oz. jar cooked, sliced and pickled nopalitos with onions, cilantro and serrano peppers (recommended: Dona Maria Nopalitos); drained
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (omit if your family likes less heat)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped

What You Do:

  1. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Have your child add the onion and garlic and cook for three minutes.
  3. Add the jalapeno and tomato and cook another couple of minutes. 
  4. Stir in the nopalitos and heat through. If you prefer, use fresh nopal in lieu of pickled and add a little lime or vinegar to it.

Suggestion: Make a burrito with your nopalito salad. Spoon a generous amount into a warm corn tortilla with a scrambled egg. Top with grated queso fresco or Monterey Jack cheese and light sour cream. Mmmmmmmm!

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