Huaraches de Nopal are a recreation of the typical Mexican “Huaraches” made from masa harina (corn flour). The nopal replaces the huarache and then it is topped off with refried beans, savory “Pollo (tofu) Asado, avocado, salsa, and cilantro. It’s flavorful, authentic, diabetes-friendly, and easy to make!
Huaraches de Nopal
Huaraches are similar to the Mexican “sope” but shaped differently. It is shaped like the Mexican sandal, called huarache. These huaraches de nopal are not made with masa as the base but instead use a whole nopal. This makes them low-carb and more diabetes-friendly!
Nopales are also known as “prickly pear cactus” because this type of cactus grows a sweet fruit called the prickly pear. Research shows that it can help reduce inflammation, control blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. Nopales are a power food as they contain fiber, lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
A lot of Mexican dishes were influenced by the Spanish. However, nopales are native to Mexico and were part of indigenous peoples’ lives before the Spanish arrived. Nopales are a big part of Mexican culture and for a good reason!
It’s more typical to eat them as a nopal salad, or ensaladas de nopales, is a great way to add more vegetables to your favorite Mexican dishes! You can eat it as a side with enchiladas, frijoles de la Hoya, tacos, or even make some nopal tacos.
Where to find Nopales
You can find nopales at your local Mexican grocery stores while also supporting local. If you don’t live near a Mexican grocery store, try finding them at big stores such as Safeway and Foodmaxx. They may not have fresh nopales but might have the jarred kind (which unfortunately are already diced).
You can find nopales sold in 3 ways
- Fresh nopal leaves. This one is sold with thorns and all. This is my favorite way to buy them because they are the freshest and most authentic type.
- Cut and cleaned, possible diced. This is my next choice. A lot of people like buying them this way to avoid cutting off the thorns. (I find that therapeutic to do lol).
- In a jar/can. Canned nopales are available year-round and I use them when I know that nopales are not in season. Doña Maria and La Costeña are the brands I would choose.
Tips to Prep Fresh Nopales for Huaraches de Nopal
- Lay out a big area of newspapers or a large area of baking sheets on the table where you will be cleaning your nopales. This will help collect any flying thorns.
- Clean and slice off all thorns on nopales carefully. Try to cut only the skin of the nopales to avoid waste.
- Cut the nopales around the edges to get rid of any excess thorns that may be growing on the sides/edges.
- When slicing off the thorns make sure to slice away from your face/body.
- Leave the nopales whole to prepare them like “huaraches”.