Nopales Tacos with Carne Asada

Chosen Team

Preparing Nopales

Nopal & Carne Asada Tacos

As you might imagine, the American southwest is abundant in cactus. One particular type of cactus, known as nopal, prickly pear cactus, or opuntia, has long been a staple food for native peoples. It appears frequently in Mexican and Central American cuisine, providing tons of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and a mild, tangy flavor. 

With this adventurous recipe, you’ll learn how to transform fresh cactus pads into a healthy ingredient most palettes will love. We’ve used our nopales as a delicious topping for tacos filled with grilled flank steak, tomato, and avocado. Enjoy the journey!

Time: 30 min
Servings: 4
  • 1 ½ lbs skirt steak, cut into ¼“ cubes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Chosen Foods Avocado Oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt, divided into halves
  • 3 nopal cactus leaves
  • ½ medium white onion, diced small
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • ½ serrano pepper, minced
  • ¼ bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • 1 large avocado
  1. Cut down skirt steak into cubes and place it in a medium bowl. Add lime juice, avocado oil, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss until evenly coated, then cover and refrigerate while you prepare the nopales.
  2. Carefully remove the spines of the cactus pads with a sharp paring knife. Then cut the pads into small cubes or slices, whichever you prefer. Dice half of the onion and sauté it with the nopales in a dry skillet. Sprinkle with salt and cover.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes. The nopales will ooze natural slime, but it cooks off in the process. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring as usual, until the cactus is fully cooked and no longer slimy.
  4. Place the cooked nopales in a medium bowl and add the diced tomatoes, minced serranos, and chopped cilantro. Drizzle everything with more fresh lime juice and a touch of avocado oil, then toss to coat. Refrigerate while you cook the carne asada.
  5. Set a hard bottom skillet or cast iron pan over high heat and spray with avocado oil. Cook the marinated steak for 3-5 minutes to your preferred doneness.
  6. Heat the corn tortillas in a dry pan (or a gas stove for extra charing).
  7. To assemble the tacos, fill each tortilla with carne asada, nopales, and a slice of avocado. Enjoy!

Nopal & Carne Asada Tacos