good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Huaraches with Charred Cactus


While we were away in Spain we enjoyed such good food and got to try so many different dishes. Although we were able to get our fill of the world’s most delicious tapas and regional Spanish dishes, we found ourselves craving simple food that we would prepare at home. Eating out every night was a thrill and definitely a treat, but when it comes down to it, we do miss dishes that are our normal every day meal. Now that we’re back, it was time to shake off the jet lag and get back into the kitchen. K made a big pot of beans and I got busy prepping for these huaraches.

Many of you may be familiar with the sandal variety of huaraches from which these masa slippers get their name. They can be topped with anything you like, but I tend to keep ours vegetarian choosing to enjoy them with charred nopales (cactus), my personal favorite.


I also made a red tomato salsa to accompany our meal. Here is a similar recipe. If you don’t want to grill the tomatoes, you can also achieve a similar blackening by using a dry skillet over high flame or a comal.




2 lobes of cactus, spikes removed and cleaned

pre-made masa from the Mexican grocery store (or follow directions on the back of a masa flour bag. I like the Minsa brand)

refried beans (you can also used canned whole beans and re-fry in a pan without the liquid)

salt to taste

1 tomato, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

sour cream

queso fresco


salsa (optional)

Slice the cactus into 1/4″ cubes. Using a comal or dry skillet, char the cactus over high heat stirring occasionally until charred. You want some black bits and this technique gets rid of the excess “saliva” that naturally seeps out of the cactus. Set aside.

For the huaraches:

If you are using a pre-made masa (easiest route) and it is very firm, let sit out on the counter top and bring to room temperature. Break off two handfuls and place in a mixing bowl. Add water a teaspoon at a time and a sprinkle of salt. Knead with your hands until the dough just comes together and water is incorporated. The mixture should be pliable but not sticky. Add more water a few drops at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

Roll out masa between two pieces of plastic wrap until it is 1/8″ thick. Try to shape it into an oval, but a rectangle shape is just fine. Place on the comal or dry skillet over high heat and cook through until masa takes on a dull look and there are no raw spots of dough left. Flip over and cook the other side.

Place each masa slipper on a plate and spread a thin layer of beans on top leaving a 1/4″ border on the sides. Layer on charred nopales, tomatoes, and avocados. Top with queso fresco and a drizzle of sour cream. Sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy with salsa.

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