Nopalitos en vinagré or pickled cactus are the perfect botana or snack for your next taco night! Also known as curtido, this easy formula for nopalitos en vinagré I learned a few years ago during the summer. I don’t know if it happens to you, but I tend to buy too much when I visit the farmers market. The nopalitos (cactus) are a great meatless option for tacos. They will preserve for months in the refrigerator. That’s if they last that long!
My experiences with pickling at home was watching Mom use the pickling brine from a large can of pickled jalapeños and pouring it over sliced carrots that were previously poached in simmering water to soften them. In my family, we all wanted the carrots out of that can of jalapeños that this was the solution to provide more carrots! many families did this instead of throwing away that perfectly good pickling brine. But since I have no need to purchase that huge can of pickled jalapeños, I just prepare my own pickling brine with white vinegar, water and spices.
Nopalitos en Vinagré (Pickled Cactus)
Use this basic formula to prepare traditional escabeche or chiles en vinagré using your favorite fresh ingredients!
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil Any mild or flavorless oil will work
- 1 cup Carrots sliced to resemble match sticks(julienne slice)
- 1 cup Onion sliced into strips
- 2 cloves of Garlic sliced
- 3/4 cup Jalapeño or serrano sliced into strips(do not remove seeds)
- 2 cups Nopalitos cactus, previously cooked, sliced into thin strips
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 cup White vinegar
- 1 cup Water
- Salt to taste
- In a pan or a skillet, add the oil and heat to medium.
Add the carrots and saute for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, add the onion and jalapeño. After another 2 minutes, add the oregano, garlic and bay leaves. saute for a few seconds.
Mix in the previously cooked and rinsed nopalitos. Stir well to combine. Pour in the vinegar/water and salt mix. Stir gently and reduce heat slightly. Cook just until you see the jalapenos turn from bright green to an opaque green color or olive color.
- Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature. Store in glass jars with tight lids in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks.
Anytime I share recipes using nopales people will ask how to get rid of the slime. You can cook and rinse them, but eventually as the cactus sits, it will naturally produce more slime, lol! It's not terrible, but some people don't like it.
You can use this same formula for curtido or escabeche for pickling peppers, carrots, onions, cauliflower and many other vegetables.
Try to slice the ingredients in uniform size when possible.