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Tex-Mex Nopalito Tacos (Cactus Tacos)

What you need: 

2 fresh, de-spined nopales (Cactus)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large cooked potato, cubed
sliced, pickled jalapenos (I'd say a handful or so)
1 bell pepper (green), seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1-3 teaspoon cumin
1-3 teaspoon chili powder
1-3 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup grated cheddar soy cheese
1 can refried beans or about 12 oz. homemade refrieds*
1 pkg flour tortillas

What you do: 

When getting the nopales, if you're getting them straight from a cactus plant, first make sure you're not trespassing on anyones land (they'll shoot first in Texas) and then make sure that the cactus is fresh. The brighter spring green color they are, the fresher. Before you cut it off the plant, take a good sized paring knife and cut off as many spines as possible. This will make the whole de-spining process much easier. Then boil the nopales about 10 min or until slightly limp. Then chop into bite-sized pieces.
Cook nopales,onion, potato and bell pepper in skillet on non-stick cooking spray for about 5-10 min. Add spices, s & p, tomato and jalapenos. Meanwhile, heat refried beans either on stove or in microwave. Then heat flour tortillas over open flame (i like them slightly burnt in places). For each tortilla, add a pinch of soy cheese, a spoonful of refried beans and a heap of the nopal mixture. Should have between three and four tacos each. Can top with salsa or whatever. Viva el Nopal!
*For homemade refried beans, soak a 1 lb of pinto beans overnight. The next day, boil the beans for 1-2.5 hours or until done. Drain. Take beans and fry on skillet with vegetable oil. Take bean/potato masher and mash beans until thick paste is formed. You can spice with chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, lime juice, etc.

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I made this last night and found that it was relatively easy, fast, and tasty. I boiled the nopales and potato together to save time and that worked just fine. (I also opted out of the soy cheese, because even after being vegan for years, I still don't think it tastes like "cheese.")

My husband and I liked the heat, but it was too much for my 3-year-old. Next time, I'm going to remove some veggies for her before I add the spices.

All in all, a very nice recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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