Nopales con Queso

Hubby cutting Nopales at El Rancho

Thanks to the rains this summer, we have an endless supply of nopales (cactus paddles), whether it be from the vendors who knock on my door each morning or the nopales that are just ripe for the picking at El Rancho. 

As I've explained before, Nopales are an important part of the Mexican diet.   Nopales are very versatile and are a delicious addition to any dish.  Some of the more tradtional ways to enjoy Nopales is in Ensalada de Nopales or in Moles and Chilitos.

But to me, there is nothing better than Nopales Asados (Grilled Cactus), roasted outside on the grill or inside on top of a comal.  I could eat them like potato chips!  Without the guilt!!!  Nopales are loaded with vitamins and minerals and they help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.  Top Nopales Asados with a little melted cheese and you are really in for a treat! 

Nopales Asados con Queso Fresco
(Roasted/Grilled Nopales with Queso Fresco)

  • Fresh Nopales (Cactus Paddles)
  • Queso Fresco (Asadero, Adobera and/or Oaxaca cheese also works well) 

Heat a comal or griddle over medium heat.  Roast the nopales on the griddle for about 5 minutes. 

Turn the nopales over and season with salt.

Top each nopal with a slice or two of Queso Fresco and continue for another 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Serve plain or with your favorite salsa or inside of a corn tortilla for a delicious Quesadilla de Nopal Enjoy!!!



  1. Wow..looks fabulous, and how fresh can you get.  Great post!

  2. I've always heard that you can eat cactus but I've only seen a recipe for it today. What does it taste like? Isn't it great when you find healthy food that's always tasty?

  3. Sometimes the simplest things truly are the best. These sound delicious :D

  4. Ok so how to do you prepare them for cooking? do you take the skins off? I have always want to try them. but not really sure what to do with with until this post. Do you just get them from the store, wash the skin and toss on the grill?

  5. I want to try them as well.  I've seen them at the farmer's market!  I might pick some up next time.  is there any special way you have to prepare them before grilling?

  6. Mmm, looks so yummy!

  7. I never had the guts to try nopales when I was a kid. Mi mama always made them with chile. Now, grilled with queso fresco all over them ... that I'd try. A qué saben, Leslie?

  8. Thanks for sharing, I knew I wasn't crazy when I did this...I'm very fortunate, my parents grow, clean and sell nopales fresh from their backyard so during the summer we always have nopales! I think I might go grill one right now!  =)  thanks again for all your great recipes!  Oh and they don't need to be pealed as long as there are no more thorns you just rinse them and put them on the comal/grill...

  9. i love nopales but I have always bought them cleaned, peeled and cut up.How do you clean the prickles off?

  10. I was working in Mexico City this week and decided to go "all out" for some authentic "Street Food" last night. I ended up at a streetside restaurant with a long counter -- Not quite a cart, but not a real restaurant either.

    Nopales con Queso was amazing. The pad was lightly seared from a grill and the cheese was Oxacoa (I'm sure the spelling is not right, but close) -- Like a Motazarella, but a little saltier. On the side was a sliced white onion and tomato.

    This will absolutely make its way back to Detroit and be a summer BBQ staple!

    If you never tasted Cactus, don't fear. It's kind of a mix between Cucumber and Lettuce; a clean, green taste, and the texture is a little more dense than a yam or less than steamed broccoli. You can cut it with a fork with slight effort.