Grilled Chili-Lime Nopales Cactus

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016

You might have one in your office or at home, but on a shelf in your fridge is probably one of the last places you’d expect to find cactus. Nopales (the Spanish name for prickly pear cactus and its pads) are a vegetable found most often in Mexican cuisine. The pads can be diced and used as a crisp and juicy salad topping or sliced into strips and cooked with eggs or served as a side. In this recipe, we’re coating the prickly fronds with lime juice and chili powder and throwing them on the grill to make a zesty dish that can be enjoyed on its own, topped with onion rings or dipped into guacamole.

Nopales cactus fronds with salad


Grilled Chili-Lime Nopales Cactus


5 Nopales cactus fronds or pads, sliced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
Juice of 2 limes
Pinch of sea salt
Crispy Baked Onion Rings, optional


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine fronds with olive oil, chili powder, lime juice and sea salt, making sure each frond is well coated.
  2. Grill or pan fry cactus over medium heat until desired crispiness.
  3. Top with fresh cilantro and onion rings, if desired. Can also be enjoyed on its own or as an alternative to chips for salsa and guacamole.