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Pollo con Nopales (Chicken and Cactus)

Pollo con Nopales (Chicken and Cactus)

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Chef Kiki

Don't let the cactus part fool you! They already sell it canned or peeled whichever you prefer. One of my bff's mom taught me this recipe and it goes great with just about anything. Not for the faint of heart if you're not into spicy things.

Ingredients {{adjustedServings}} servings

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Original recipe yields 2 servings



Amount per serving ({{servings}} total)

  • Calories:
  • 174 kcal
  • 9%
  • Fat:
  • 3.2 g
  • 5%
  • Carbs:
  • 11.9g
  • 4%
  • Protein:
  • 25.7 g
  • 51%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 59 mg
  • 20%
  • Sodium:
  • 99 mg
  • 4%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet


  1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the chicken breasts in the boiling water until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Drain and set aside to cool. Once cool, shred the chicken into small strands.
  2. Fill the pot again with water and bring to a boil. Cook the tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, and nopales in the boiling water until the vegetables are all tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  3. Blend the tomatillos and jalapeno peppers in a blender until smooth; pour into the pot with the shredded chicken and place over medium heat. Cut the nopales into small dice and add to the mixture. Allow the mixture to simmer until completely reheated, about 5 minutes.
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This is really simple and tasty. I've made it twice now and the second time around I used 4 tomatillos and when I blended the tomatillos and jalapenos I added a little chicken broth.


Very good! I also used additional tomatillos and only used 1 jalapeno since I have a tendency to make things too hot for most tastes. I added about 1/4 C chicken broth and 1/4 t ground cumin. Serverd on tortillas with mex blend cheese and something new, Rosa Rita green salsa verde, which had just the right kick. Will make this again!


Good & easy recipe. As So. California residents my mother grows cactus aka Nopales in her yard & she harvests this "green meat" throughout the year. As kids we grew up on it. Thanks for sharing with my additions it was a hearty meal that got rave reviews. I served it corn tortillas, a side of rice and limes. My edits: I added tablespoon of chicken bouillon, garlic and a big chunky onion.