Last weekend I hosted the incredibly knowledgeable Enrique Villasenor, local healer in training, who taught all about how to use Opuntia species of cactus (aka prickly pear) for healing a vast array of health conditions. It all goes back to “balance” he says, and this plant helps us do that. Even if we aren’t suffering from a chronic disease (such as Type II diabetes which it helps to reverse), it helps the body stay balanced and maintain health. For the event I offered a tasting of what you can do with the leaf pads also known as nopales.
One of my favorite things to eat is tacos and I have been experimenting lately with making them out of different flours and unusual ingredients. For this event I opted to try adding them to a basic corn tortilla recipe. Because I like things to be colorful, I added a generous handful of spinach for added green color. Way better than any sort of artificial food coloring.
Tortillas de Nopales
- 4¼ cups masa harina
- 4-5 cactus pads (nopales)
- 2 cups water
- 2 sprigs cilantro
- 1/2 bunch spinach
- 1 tablespoon chia
- salt to taste
Combine together the cactus, cilantro and spinach together in a high speed blender which will create a thick liquid.
In a bowl, add the masa harina and slowly add the cactus mix and the warm water, until the dough is soft and is not sticky.
Once the dough is at its desired consistency, add the chia seeds, and lastly, the salt.
Separate the dough in even, small balls. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to an hour.
Flatten each ball between two sheets of plastic wrap with a tortilla press, or with a wine bottle or roller. Cook each side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they puff, on medium-high heat, with a lightly greased skillet or comal. Keep in mind, nopal burns a little easier so keep your eyes on the tortillas so they don’t burn!
These go great with grilled or sauteed nopales, salsa, avocado and cashew cream with a bit of lime. Enjoy!