Nopalitos con Pollo

Ok, so I lied… One more chicken recipe (I swear I’m not a one-trick pony). I just made this at the last minute because I thought we were buying dinner, but that didn’t end up working out. This recipe is super simple–chicken and cactus (nopales).

What is that my friend? You’ve never had nopales before? I can’t say I’m surprised. Entonces, dejame ayudarte (“Well, then let me help you,” for my monolingual friends). Cactus may sound weird or exotic, but it’s just another veggie–and super simple and versatile, too.

Nopalitos con Pollo (This made about 2 servings)

  • Chicken breast, cut into strips (My package had about .65 lbs)
  • 1 small bag of fresh cactus/nopalitos (most readily available at Latin markets)
  • 1 can of Mexican tomato sauce (I used El Pato)
  • Seasonings to taste: Menudo or pozole seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • Garnishes: Radishes, cilantro, green onion

In a large saucepan, bring salted water to boil (enough to cover all your nopales). When it comes to a boil, add your nopales. Let you nopales cook in the boiling water. They will change color and texture. They will also get slimy. No frets, we will fix this.

When your nopales are finished cooking, strain them in a colander. Rinse with cold water to get the slimy stuff off and allow as much of the excess liquid to get off.

In another large saucepan, bring your tomato sauce and seasonings to simmer (check for taste before you add your chicken). Add your chicken pieces and allow your chicken to boil in the sauce. When your chicken is almost done, add the drained nopales. Allow your nopales to cook in the sauce, and allow your chicken to fully cook.

When everything’s finished cooking, serve and top with sliced radishes and chopped cilantro and green onion.

Dinner’s done!



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My name is Ali. I love food and cooking, but I am also incredibly busy. I'm a Certified Personal Trainer, as well as a Doctoral Candidate in the History Department at USC. Follow me if you'd like some of my paleo culinary creations! All recipes property of Alicia Gutierrez-Romine

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