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Grilled Quesadillas with Nopales and Salsa Slaw

Prep time 30 mins
Yield Serves 4
Cactus pads, or nopales as they're known in Spanish, are a common ingredient in vegetarian cooking in Mexico. Many Latino grocery stores sell bags of them already cleaned and cubed, which makes this dish really easy to toss together.


  • About 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup cleaned and cubed nopales
  • About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 8 flour or corn tortillas (8-in. size)
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 1 qt. shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup salsa (any kind)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream

Nutrition Information

  • calories 494
  • caloriesfromfat 36 %
  • protein 18 g
  • fat 20 g
  • satfat 7.6 g
  • carbohydrate 63 g
  • fiber 8.3 g
  • sodium 1382 mg
  • cholesterol 25 mg

How to Make It

  1. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (450° to 550°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds). Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, chiles, and nopales until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and remove from heat.

  2. Lay 4 tortillas on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 cup warm vegetable mixture. Top each with a second tortilla.

  3. Using a wad of oiled paper towels and tongs, oil cooking grate. Use a spatula to transfer quesadillas to grill; cook, turning once, until grill marks appear and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from grill, cut each into quarters.

  4. In a small bowl, combine cabbage, salsa, lime juice, cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Serve quesadillas with slaw, and sour cream if you like.

  5. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.