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Name Variations Edit
- prickly pear cactus pad
- prickly pear cactus leaf
- prickly pear cactus paddle
About Nopale Edit
Wikipedia Article About Nopale on Wikipedia
Nopales are a vegetable made from the young stem segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. They are particularly common in their native Mexico.
Nopales are generally sold fresh or canned, less often dried to prepare nopalitos. They have a light, slightly tart flavor, and a crisp, mucilaginous texture.
Nopales are commonly used in Mexican cuisine in dishes such as huevos con nopales (eggs with nopal), or "tacos de nopales". Nopales are also an important ingredient in New Mexican cuisine.
Nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber. They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper).
Long popular in Mexico, these fleshy oval leaves (also called pads or paddles) of the nopal (Prickly Pears) cactus are gaining popularity in the United States. They range in color from pale to dark green and have a delicate, slightly tart green-bean flavor. Look for small, firm, pale green nopales with no sign of wrinkling. Refrigerate tightly wrapped for up to a week. Before use, the thorns must be removed; a Vegetable Peeler will shave them off quickly. The flesh is generally cut into small pieces or strips, simmered in water until tender and used in a variety of dishes from scrambled eggs to salads. Nopatitos (nopales that are diced or cut into strips) are available canned (pickled or packed in water). Acitrones are candied nopales, packed in sugar syrup and available in cans or jars.