Can You Eat Nopales Raw?

Last Updated on September 24, 2021 by admins

Can you eat nopales raw? That’s a question that many foreigners ask. Cactus is a staple in Mexico and it is commonly referred to as nopal or nopalitos. It is fundamental for many people’s diets and as such there are many dishes that include this wonderful, although somewhat subtle tasting, It has a wealth of nutrition that shouldn’t be overlooked. They contain a high amount of magnesium, potassium, sodium, and numerous important vitamins. 

In nature, there is a lot of variation in cactus species. The kind that’s consumed in Mexico is the variety that looks like a grouping of large green leaves which are referred to as stems, paddles, or passed. Not all cactuses are edible, and this is very important to rememberers there is only one species that people consume, which is the Prickly Pear Cactus.

The most common way for people to prepare it is as a salad in order to compliment a larger meal, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when you take into account that it has a taste that’s similar to green beans, bell peppers, and even lemon, and it has a texture that’s comparable to okra.  

However, if you really want to experience its flavor in all it’s glory you should grill it or at least make it in a stew. This rings especially true when it comes to recipes that employ some kind of meat, while pork and beef are the most popular, you can also make it with fish to get a truly fresh and succulent experience. 

Ways Of Eating Cactus Raw

Preparing nopales for cooking is something that´s very important to do carefully, taking it one piece at a time, as you need to cut the thorns out with a knife making extra sure that you don’t leave any part of any thorn on. Then you wash it. You start out by running it through cold water, and then you submerge it in a container that has both water and salt. You have to make sure that they’re completely submerged as this will ensure that you do away with some of the sabia, or as it’s called in Mexico ¨drool.¨ Leave them in there for about 30 minutes and afterwards run them through cold water again. 

 eating cactus rawThe easiest way to cook cactus is in a pan by covering them in a bit of water, not too much however as some even don’t add any at all as the cactus has its own water to help with its cooking. Then you can cooking it to one’s preference. Some like them a bit firmer while others prefer that very tender, almost pasta-like texture. When you’re pleased with the firmness you can take them out and then just remove the liquid. add a little bit of vinegar

At this point, you can cut them into strips and serve as part of a salad or to round out another dish like tacos, while they taste exceptionally well when the tortillas are made out of corn. If you’ve never tried them together, do yourself the favor of savoring the commingling of flavors. You can find a wide assortment of recipes that are ideal for vegans, or those who would just simply like to eat healthier. 

Tips and Tricks for Your Nopal

There are a variety of salads that taste delicious with cactus. If you like to have that garden-fresh essence present in your meal you’re sure to love it as a contribution.  Many people love to cut up onion or chives, along with tomato and either cilantro or oregano to make a companion for heavy meats like steak and chorizo! You can also prepare a scrumptious nopales salad!

A great thing about making cactus into a salad is that you can save as much as you want that’s leftovers to eat later by simply putting it in a tightly sealed plastic container, or bag, and then storing it in the refrigerator. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t leave them in there much longer than a day as they may start to turn after that and even become harder to digest when you get to the third day.

While you may be aware of cactus as a food, a lesser-known part of the plant that is just as delicious is the flavor part of the plant, which is called tuna. These are actually quite large as well, around the size of a closed fist, and are quite beloved in a bunch of candy and drinks because of their refreshing and juicy taste.

If you want to enjoy the fullest, tastiest flavor make sure to buy them when they’re harvested young in the early springtime. At this time of the year, you can even make them into tacos that only include chives, cilantro, tomato and if you wish, the tree chili peppers that are so common in asian cuisine and as topping for pizza.


There are many tasty ways to enjoy fresh cactus pads, and although you may have your doubts about it you can absolutely eat them raw. It’s a very manageable plant and over the years many people have used cactus to develop all manner of edible products, including wines, vinegars, cooking oils, nectars, flours, and pastas.

It’s pretty interesting to think that these plants cover millions of acres and many people are just finding out that, although they have been consumed in Mexico for time immemorial, they make wonderful contributions to our diets and cuisine. A lot of people in Mexico start many of their days off by eating them with scrambled eggs.

It’s just a matter of time before it catches on, especially when you consider that they don’t take very long to prepare, you don’t even have to cook them, and they hold a wealth of health properties. They soothe pain, are antioxidant, boost immune activity, and have been even proven to offer protection to the liver. Additionally, they are a great source of natural fiber.

Read more about A Fascinating Way To Make Lengua In Crock Pot

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