Huevos Rancheros with Grilled Nopales. My favorite Mexican breakfast and or brunch recipe made with grilled nopales, or cactus paddles, in place of the traditional tortilla.
If I could pick one cuisine to have at breakfast or brunch it would be Mexican cuisine. I love Mexican breakfasts/brunches. Huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, pork chile verde breakfast burritos, breakfast tacos, anything churro etc. Huevos Rancheros are possibly my most favorite breakfast dish. It is really a simple dish, one that can be customized easily to anything you want, such as grilled nopales in place of tortillas.
Some Huevos Rancheros recipes add beans, some add pico de gallo in place of the ranchero sauce, some add chorizo or even potatoes. Really very customizable and you can't go wrong with any version. I prefer the traditional version of tortilla, or in this instance grilled nopales, sunny side up egg, ranchero sauce and toppings of cotija cheese, lime, cilantro and avocado.
Nopales can be found in any well stocked grocery store or specialty Mexican grocery. We are fortunate here in Las Vegas to have many Mexican grocery stores to shop at. We have one store that is so big they have a restaurant inside the store as well as bakery, butcher and my kids favorite to watch, the tortilla and chip making section.
We love watching the machines that make the chips after the store workers make the tortillas and cut them. If we stand there long enough watching someone always walks over with some chip samples. My kids especially love the cinnamon sugar covered ones. Then again, who doesn't?
When you look for the nopales look for ones that have already been prepped, the cactus spines have been removed so you don't have to do it yourself. It can be a bit time consuming, using a paring knife to cut a small circle around the spines is best, and you don't risk getting a finger or two poked by the spines. OUCH. You will often find the pre-prepped nopales in bags or 6-8 paddles per bag, or loose un-prepped. If you can't find the paddles with the spines already removed just plan on a bit more prep time to remove them.
I love getting in extra veg into my meals when I can and as much as I adore tortillas in Huevos Rancheros, grilled nopales for these huevos rancheros is a great variation to keep it lower in carbs but still just as delicious.
- 1 dozen cleaned and prepared Nopales - cactus paddles
- 1 dozen Whole Eggs
- Ranchero Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ⅓ C tomato paste
- 1 ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 26 oz Carton Pomi Tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lime
- Crumbled Cotija Cheese
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime slices
- Cholula Hot Sauce
Start with the ranchero sauce:
In a saucepan or high sided sauté pan heat the tablespoon of avocado oil, then add in the tomato paste and stir for one minute, add in the rest of the sauce ingredients except the chopped tomatoes and lime juice and stir for another minute. Add in the container of Pomi tomatoes and stir well. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan and add in the lime juice. Taste and season with more salt or chili powders if desired. Keep warm.
Wash the cactus and trim off any missed cactus spines and trim off any brown spots. Trim off the thicker ends to make a rounded edge. Heat a cast iron grill or grill pan and brush the sides of the cactus paddles with avocado oil. Grill the cactus paddles, turning every few minutes, until starting to turn golden and charring slightly, about 6-8 minutes per paddle. Transfer to a plate and grill the remaining paddles. Your grill pan or griddle might not fit all of the paddles at once. They will secrete a sticky substance as they cook so keep a paper towel handy to blot dry.
When the cactus paddles are almost finished grilling, heat another cast iron pan and season with oil. Fry the eggs, 2-3 at a time, sunny side up until the whites are set, edges are starting to get crispy and yolks are still runny.
Place two cactus paddles on a plate and spread a little of the ranchero sauce on top. Top with one egg for each cactus paddle then top with more sauce, leaving the yolks visible. Garnish with cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, avocado slices and a lime slice. Serve immediately with hot sauce for extra heat.
This recipe makes 6 servings with sauce leftover depending on how much sauce you put on each plate. You can make less servings, but don’t cut the sauce recipe in half or thirds. Save the remaining in the freezer for the next time you make this recipe and it comes together even faster since the sauce is already made. Just thaw and reheat.