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Nopales are common in Mexican dishes. Their flavor is a mix between a cucumber and zucchini. When nopales are cooked in water, they are similar to okra.

Nopales or nopalitos and prickly pears are very keto-friendly and can be enjoyed when eating low-carb or sugar-free. For 1 cup sliced, nopales only have 1 net carb.

For those that are not familiar with the parts of a prickly pear cactus, I wanted to break it down for you. Nopales are the paddles/leaves of the prickly pear cactus. The prickly pear cactus is one type of cactus that’s part of the cacti family with flat-stemmed spiny stems and edible fruit on them. The edible fruit is called prickly pears. (source1, source 2)

“Prickly pears are a subgroup of Opuntia, identified by their wide, flat, branching pads, and are often called nopal cactus or paddle cactus.” (source) There are more than one prickly pear species.

Carbs in Nopales and Prickly Pears

Name Amount Carbs Fiber Net Carbs
Nopales 1 cup Sliced (86 grams) 2.86 1.89 0.97
Prickly Pears 1 cup (149 grams) 14.3 5.36 8.94
Nutrition was taken from

Buying Nopales

You can purchase nopales at most grocery stores. They are sold either with spines or without spins, and in jars or cans.

If you have the choice to get them without spines on them, get those. Removing the spines can be done but it can be tricky and would require wearing gloves that are knife safe.

These are just a couple of cactus recipes that you can enjoy on a low-carb diet.

Here are a few more recipes to check out

Resources Used