Spicy Pickled Nopales

  • ACTIVE: 25 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 10 MIN plus 2 days marinating
  • SERVINGS: Makes 2 cups


  1. 1 pound nopales (fresh cactus paddles)—thorns removed, paddles peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (see Note)
  2. 2 jalapeños, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  3. 1/4 cup kosher salt
  4. 2 cups water
  5. 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
  1. In a large bowl, toss the cactus paddles and jalapeños with the salt and let stand for 45 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the cactus and jalapeños to a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water with the vinegar, sugar and paprika and bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the cactus and jalapeños and stir well. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 2 days before serving.
Make Ahead
The pickled cactus and jalapeños can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Most nopales are sold with the spikes removed; any stray spikes can be removed with a sharp paring knife.