November 9, 2012 12:00 PM
Cactus Paddle Tostadas
POSTED IN: TV Show Recipes , Pati's Mexican Table
TAGS: cactus , EP213 , Jinich , Mexico , nopales , Pati , PBS , recipe , refried beans , show , tostada , vegetarian
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Tostadas de nopales
Serves 8

3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
3 pounds fresh nopales, rinsed, cleaned and diced; or, if canned, rinsed thoroughly
1/2 pound ripe tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped, optional
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped, seeding optional
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
Salt to taste

For the tostadas:
8 corn tostadas
1 cup refried beans
Garnishes of your choice: queso fresco, Mexican crema, avocado, salsa...

To Clean Fresh Cactus Paddles:
Rinse fresh cactus paddles under cold water, being careful not to prick your fingers with the small thorns on its surface. Using a vegetable peeler or small sharp knife, peel away the darker bumps where thorns grow, as well as the thorns, trying not to peel off all the outer dark green skin. Lay the paddles flat on a chopping board, then trim around approximately 1/4 inch of the edges and 1/2 inch of the thick base. Once cleaned, rinse and dice into 1/2-to-1-inch squares, to your liking.

To Use Cactus From A Can, Bag or Jar:
After you have removed the diced cactus from the jar or can, rinse it under water and drain well.

To Cook the Cactus:
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a thick, large-sized skillet (one that has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the diced cactus, stir in the salt and stir for a minute or two. Place the lid on the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium and let the cactus cook and sweat for about 20 minutes, until it has exuded a gelatinous liquid that will begin to dry out (NOTE: If using cactus from a can or jar, already cleaned and cooked, just cook for an additional five minutes).

Take the lid off the skillet, stir and make sure most of that gelatinous substance has dried up. If it hasn't, let the cactus cook for a few more minutes until it does. Let the cactus cool slightly.In a mixing bowl, toss the cactus with the tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Like this, it can be eaten as a cactus paddle, nopal salad!

To Assemble the Tostadas:
Spread a layer of refried beans on each tostada. Spoon some the cooked cactus mixture on top, and add the garnishes of your choice. I add avocado slices, queso fresco, Mexican crema and salsa verde!


Hi! pati's I love your show the food look so good, I will try the Coctus Paddle tastadas very health Love it,

Mimi | November 26, 2012 2:44 AM

Hola Mimi, Thank you for watching. I hope you enjoy the tostadas...careful with those cactus paddles!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Mimi | November 29, 2012 12:44 PM

I love your show and your delicious recipes. My husband is vegetarian and I especially enjoyed today's episode. My question is this, is it okay to use prickly pear cactus I have growing in my landscape or do I need to buy some from the grocery store? We have several cactus plants that are organic, never treated w/ any chemicals, look healthy. I live in Texas and they grow every where here. I hate to buy things I already have and wondered if they would be okay?
I look forward to making these tostadas, as well as the zucchini soup! Thank you!

Andi | December 29, 2012 6:32 PM

Hola Andi, I don't see any reason you couldn't use the prickly pear cactus growing in your yard, as long as you feel okay eating with it. Just be careful not cleaning it -- they can be prickly!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Andi | January 2, 2013 6:21 PM