Quesadillas filled with nopales en chile rojo, or cactus paddles in a red chile sauce, and lots of shredded Chihuahua® Brand Quesadilla Cheese cooked to perfection in a flour tortilla until crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle.
This post is sponsored by V&V Supremo®. All opinions expressed here are my own.
There’s no better way to celebrate National Quesadilla Day than with these nopales quesadillas!
While I don’t always need an excuse to dig into one of my favorite Mexican foods, I welcome the opportunity with open arms. I usually make classic cheese quesadillas when I’m cooking dinner for my toddler, but when I want something with a little spice, these made with nopales en chile rojo really hit the spot.
Serve them with a side of guacamole and a little Mexican crema for the ultimate satisfying meal.
- Cheese: The most important ingredient in a good quesadilla is the cheese! V&V Supremo’s Shredded Chihuahua® Brand Quesadilla Cheese is truly the perfect queso for every quesadilla you’ll ever make. It’s rich, buttery, and has a long and luxurious stretch when melted. It’s sold in pre-shredded and whole varieties and is the gold standard for quesadilla-style cheeses. Do yourself a favor and pick some up at your local grocery store! You won’t regret it.
- Nopales: This staple Mexican ingredient can be found fresh in the produce aisle of most Hispanic grocery stores, and can often be found already washed, cleaned, and trimmed. I’m using fresh nopales in this recipe, but if you can’t find any, you can use canned nopales.
- Dried chiles: A mix of guajillo and arbol chiles make up the chile rojo sauce.
- Tomato: One Roma tomato is blended into the chile rojo for more flavor and color.
- Seasonings: Garlic, salt, and Mexican oregano to season the chile rojo.
- Tortillas: Large flour tortillas are best for these quesadillas. 10-inch “burrito” size or larger work best.
How to Make Quesadillas de Nopales en Chile Rojo
Start by boiling the cleaned, trimmed, and diced nopales in water with some garlic, salt, and Mexican oregano. When they’re cooked, make sure to rinse them under clean water to remove any excess slimy liquid.
Make the chile rojo by rehydrating and soaking the guajillo and arbol chiles in boiling water. When softened, blend them together with a Roma tomato, garlic, salt, Mexican oregano, and a bit of water. The sauce should be smooth. I like to strain it to remove any little solids, but if you have a very powerful blender, you may be able to skip that step.
Stir fry some sliced onions in olive oil, then add the cooked nopales and the chile rojo. Be sure to cook the chile for about 6 minutes to thicken the sauce. If it’s too runny, the nopales mixture will be too thin to stay in the quesadillas while cooking.
Assemble the quesadillas by generously layering some V&V Supremo Shredded Chihuahua® Brand Quesadilla Cheese on half of the tortilla, followed by spoonfuls of nopales en chile rojo and more shredded cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the fillings, then cook in a hot skillet or comal until the cheese has fully melted and the quesadillas are golden brown.
The end result is a golden brown crispy outside, and ooey-gooey, stretchy and cheesy inside that is simply irresistible!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating these quesadillas as they are without any sides or toppings, but if you want to be extra, here are a few serving ideas:
- Make sure to cook down the nopales en chile rojo until the sauce has thickened. This will ensure that the filling doesn’t completely run out of the quesadillas during cooking.
- Don’t take the quesadillas off the skillet too soon. The quesadillas should be golden brown and a little crispy on the outside.
- Strainer: Great for straining out any solids from the chile rojo to make sure it’s smooth.
- Blender: For blending the rehydrated chiles and making the sauce.
- Skillet: For cooking the quesadillas. A medium or large skillet is perfect.
If you have leftover quesadillas, you can reheat them on the stovetop, in an oven, or in an air fryer.
- For the stovetop, reheat them in a skillet over medium-high heat until the cheese bubbles and the tortilla becomes crispy again.
- For the oven, reheat them on a wire rack for 5 minutes at 350°F.
- For the air fryer, reheat them for 3 to 5 minutes at 350°F.