Cactus Tacos

The very first time I had cactus was years ago visiting a friend in Arizona (of course, right?) and then was reminded of this treat while in Mexico. Upon my return, I told Husband that I ate cactus almost everyday — at this point *cue begging* Husband kindly asked that I make cactus tacos for him since he didn't join me in Mexico. Of course, being the kind, loving and caring wife I am...I made cactus tacos.

3 large cactus leaves
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1/2 jalapeño, deseeded and diced (more if you like spicy!)
1 carrot stick, cut into matchsticks (I used about 5-6 baby carrots because that's what was on hand)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado
1 lime
1 bunch of cilantro
Salsa, to serve

Use a sharp knife and carefully cut away any spikes on the cactus. When shopping for this ingredient, it may be called nopal or even prickly pear. Then, carefully cut the tough edge off each piece and set aside. Rinse the cactus under cool water to wash away any remaining blemishes.

Next, slice the red onion, dice the jalapeño, tomatoes, cut the carrot into thin matchsticks and mince the garlic. Lastly, rough chop the cilantro and slice the avocado and lime — set aside.

Drizzle some olive oil on a grill pan and turn the heat to high. Sear the cactus until they're cooked through and the edges are slightly blackened, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Drizzle a little more olive oil in a large sauté pan, then sauté the onions, carrot, garlic, jalapeño, and tomatoes over high heat for about 3-4 minutes or until the veggies are soft.

While the veggies are sautéing, dice the cactus. Add them into the sauté pan with the other veggies, stir and then remove from the heat.  

On the grill pan, warm the tortillas over medium heat until they're soft and pliable.

Fill each shell with the cactus mixture, an avocado slice, salsa, then garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Have you ever eaten cactus? On a fun vacation or exotic spot? How was it prepared? Please share!

You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.
Julia Child


  1. Ouch!! I got a prickler! Grandpa

  2. I have never had cactus before, but now I am intrigued! You make it look very tasty!

  3. As a salad, not a taco. I love it! I cheat though, I purchase it at Ángel's in Chicago. With your very simple recipe, I might be able to make my own!

  4. Thank you for your recipe ; ) I had cactus tacos years ago at a friends house and enjoyed it. I am visiting my niece in Arizona, and on a walk with her boys I told her 4yr you could eat it ( he did not believe me). While at the store with his daddy a few days later, he seen cactus and told daddy he would eat it, so daddy bought some so I could fix it for them. I can't wait to try it again ; ) Thank you again

  5. Thanks, we had these tonight and they were great! We have a large tender prickly pear cactus in our yard & use it as a veggie quite often, (cooking it much the same way you do) and adding it to different things. Finding this recipe was great! Thanks again!