If you’ve been part of my blog for a little while, you know I used to live in Florida and exactly a month ago, moved to Denver. One of the reasons I love this city is because of it’s huge Hispanic, specifically Mexican, community and businesses. I grew up in Mexico for a large portion of my life and one of the biggest emotional ties are to the food. I shared this picture on Instagram last week after my latin market food haul find:
Pictured there are :
- Calabacitas, a specific type of squash
- Soyrizo- popular in vegan markets, a vegetarian version of chorizo (a pork product with spices), but here, available for only $1.60 per link.
- Queso fresco, a Mexican crumbling cheese delicious for topping calabacitas or any other tacos
- Fresh corn tortillas- fresh and authentic tortillas are night and day from the commercially produced ones (and are easier to handle in dishes such as enchiladas)
- Nopalitos or cactus – these have already been trimmed and the spines removed and ready to eat
Wait a second, you can EAT cactus? Absolutely! Nopalitos are popular in Mexican cuisine and have lots of healthy benefits. They are super low in calories but have vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can immensely benefit health. They aid in digestion and can be eaten raw, juiced or in my case, grilled.
You can find them fresh at latin markets, already cleaned and diced like the ones pictured. If you can’t find them fresh, you can find them pickled in the Latin food aisle, though you just want to use them in hot dishes such as egg scrambles or fajitas.
This is a super simple way to prepare Nopales and the dish was inspired by Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers . Enjoy!
Nopalitos (Cactus Fajitas)
2/3 c of Mexican Beer ( I used Negra Modelo)
Juice of half a lime (about 2 tbsp)
1 clove of garlic, grated or crushed
1/2 to 1 tsp. of chile powder
2 lbs. of a mixture of squash, nopalitos, onions and jalapenos, sliced into strips ( I used 1 lb. nopales, 1 squash, 1/2 an onion and 1 jalapeno)
For the tacos:
12 corn tortillas
Mexican crumbling cheese
Sour cream or mexican crema (thinner consistency)
- In a bowl, combine beer, lime, salt, garlic, and chile powder.
- Place the raw veggies in the marinade and let them soak for about 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure they’re all covered.
- In a cast iron or grilling pan over medium heat with a little oil, place about half of the veggies using tongs. Make sure they have some marinade, but not enough where they are just boiling. Grill for about 4 to 8 minutes, until they are browned and tender. Add a litle more oil and repeat with the remaining vegetables.
- Heat up your tortillas, place the hot nopalitos and top with the condiments.
These are great to serve with refried beans or a baked potato. Enjoy!