recipe – nopales fajitas with mango & avocado

recipe – nopales fajitas with mango & avocado

Searching for a vegan dish to serve at your Cinco de Mayo fiesta this weekend?  Not really?  Well… here’s one anyway.

I didn’t intend for this to be a Cinco de Mayo recipe (or a vegan one, for that matter)… it just kinda happened.  Josh and I were scouring the SM Farmer’s Market for the next candidate in my “Cook Something New” challenge (see: Chiogga beets from last week).

“Here’s something I bet you’ve never cooked before,” he said, pointing to a table full of cactus paddles.  “True, and I’m not quite sure what to do with them,” I thought as I scooped up a handful and promptly stuck myself full of thorns (damn you cactus).

Turns out, cactus – also known as prickly pear or nopales – are surprising easy to prepare.  You can roast or grill them whole, or dice and saute them like I did in this recipe.  They taste like a lighter, citrus-y green bean (with a similar texture to green beans) and they combine beautifully with a wide variety of ingredients, from eggs to tomatoes to mangoes.

I didn’t really have a recipe for this dish, so I just improvised with a bunch of random fruits and veggies we had on hand.  The combo of sweet mangoes with tart nopales and savory-sweet caramelized onions worked beautifully… light, healthy & fresh.

Nopales Fajitas con Mango y Avocado


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 nopales paddles, dethorned & diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 mango, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Cotija cheese, finely crumbled (optional – eliminate for vegans)
  • 2 limes
  • Flour tortillas

To prep nopales: use a sharp knife to scrape the thorns off the paddle, then slice off the outer edge all the way around the perimeter.  Cut off the thick bottom end and rinse the paddles in cold water.  Slice into strips or dice as desired.

Cook Fajitas:  heat 2 tbsp canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add red onion and cook until lightly caramelized, about 7-10 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add nopales.  Cook just until they begin to soften and give up their juices, about 5-7 minutes (when you taste them, they should still have a little crunch but release a savory/tart flavor).  Add tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  Stir in cilantro and mangoes.

To serve:  char a flour tortilla over a charcoal grill or gas flame until hot and blackened in spots.  Spoon about 1/2 cup of nopales mixture down the center of the tortilla, then sprinkle with avocado and cotija cheese.  Serve warm with lime slices on the side.

Save any leftovers and serve them for breakfast atop scrambled eggs… olé!

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2 Responses to recipe – nopales fajitas with mango & avocado

  1. Beth Partin says:

    That sounds like a fun new recipe.

    • Casa Resnick says:

      Thanks Beth! It was really yummy, I think you’d like it… great for breakfast too (on eggs, in a quesadilla, etc)

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