Ayocotes with nopales and fiery salsa – Rancho Gordo

A serving bowl with cooked black beans, cooked cactus, salsa, and cornbread

Nopales are prickly pear paddles that you can find in most Mexican markets and some supermarkets. You can often buy them pre-cleaned, but if you must do it yourself, here are some tips.

  • 1 to 2 cups cleaned, diced nopales (cactus leaves)
  • ¼ of a white onion, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked heirloom rancho gordo beans, such as ayocote negro or ayocote morado, with some broth
  • 1 sprig of fresh epazote
  • Chile de arbol salsa for serving

  • Skillet Cornbread (optional; see below)

2 serves

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add nopales and onions and cover 1 inch with water. Simmer until the nopales are cooked but still al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and reserve the vegetables, discarding the water.
  2. If you’re starting with cooked beans, add the beans and their broth to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the epazote sprig and cook, stirring gently, for about 10 minutes. (If starting with dried beans, add the epazote sprig during the last 10 minutes of cooking.)
  3. Divide the warm beans between bowls and garnish with a scoop of nopales. Serve with salsa and cornbread or corn tortillas.


1½ cups cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon plain yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature, beaten
¼ cup melted butter (melted in a large skillet)

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together the milk, yogurt and egg. Stir the melted butter into the wet ingredients. Toss the remaining butter in the pan to evenly coat. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; stir

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake about 20 minutes until golden brown.

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