Don’t be afraid to eat cactus or nopales, they’re easy to cook, full of nutrition and taste amazing. This vegan recipe for nopales con chorizo is one you’ll want to make over and over again.
Table of Contents
What Are Nopales
Nopales is the Mexican (Spanish) word for cactus, or rather the oblong-shaped green paddles of the “nopal” cactus. Some people will also call them “prickly pear cactus”. Though that can be a bit confusing as that name can also refer to the fruit that grows on the paddles. (Those are called tunas in Mexico.)
Cactus, nopales or nopalitos are a very common vegetable in Mexico. We Mexicans love to use them in smoothies and most commonly like to cook them in countless ways. A common way you may have seen is the cold nopales salad which is served with onion, tomato, cilantro and sometimes cheese.
Personally I prefer my nopales warm and sauteed. I like to enjoy them on top of some topopos, tostadas, or as a filling for tacos and quesadillas. To make a full meal out of them I like to serve them with some rice, beans. Add a pile of tortillas and a nice medium-spicy salsa.
What is Vegan Chorizo
Vegan chorizo is a completely meat-free, animal-free and of course cruelty-free alternative to the popular Mexican sausage. Chorizo is made of pork (though you can also get turkey chorizo) and has a bright red color brought on by the red chiles and sometimes annatto (or achiote) seeds used to spice the meat.
The meat versions do come in casings. And you must remove the casing to release and cook the meat into a crumbly broken down sausage. Thankfully for the vegan chorizo we don’t need to deal with any of that!
The quickest and easiest vegan or soyrizo to use is storebought. I live in Mexico and I’ve had to test out a few brands to find the one right for me. I like ones that aren’t too greasy and also that aren’t too tart. My favorite brand is one called Sabori chorizo vegetariano. Find the brand that you like best and use it for all your chorizo needs.
How to Cook Vegan Chorizo with Nopales
This simple and rather inexpensive meal is one you can cook quickly and have on the table in about 20 to 30 minutes. You can also cook it and freeze it for later use or also for your weekly meal preps.
Check out the recipe below, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment or go find me on social media and ask away. (Find me everywhere as Mexican Made Meatless.)
How to Cook Nopales con Chorizo or Cactus with Mexican Chorizo Sausage
- 2 cups nopales cubed cleaned and prepped
- 1 cup soyrizo
- 1/2 cup white onion roughly chopped into small pieces
- 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- splash of vegetable oil olive oil
- salt to taste
- Prep all of your ingredients before you begin. In a large pan add a splash of oil and once hot add the onions. Saute until they begin to soften, stir often. Next, add the soyrizo and saute until it begins to crisp up a bit. Then add the nopales and saute until they turn a darker green color and have softened. They’ll start realizing some of their viscous liquid but just keep cooking them to cook that off.
- Next, add the garlic and the salt, give it a good stir and cook for another minute or two to soften the garlic. Make sure you stir until well combined to distribute the garlic and salt.
- Continue to cook for another few minutes, taste and if needed adjust the salt or add any other additional seasonings. If you get a nice and flavorful soyrizo you really won’t need to add much more seasonings.
- Serve as desired, see suggestions in the article. It’s great to accompany with a bowl of a medium-spicy salsa if of your choice.
How to Serve This Easy Vegan Meal
If you cook this for a weekly meal prep you’re going to love all the ways that you can eat it. For starters, you can simply serve alongside rice and beans. You can use it as a filling for tacos, quesadillas, burritos…
Serve as a topping for some tostadas by simply smearing the tostada with some refried beans and scooping up some chorizo and nopales on top. Or you could also do the same with some sopes, or even use it as a stuffing for gorditas.
There are so many options and ways to enjoy this deliciously healthy, vegan meal full of traditional Mexican flavors.
Make sure to come back in a few days so you get the recipe for my sopes and gorditas.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…