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.

This Story Originally Appeared On


Recipe Summary test

30 mins
30 mins
Serves 4


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutrition Facts

494 calories; calories from fat 36%; protein 18g; fat 20g; saturated fat 7.6g; carbohydrates 63g; fiber 8.3g; sodium 1382mg; cholesterol 25mg.