Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde

Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde - Plated (Featured)

Growing up one of my favorite ways to eat chile verde included nopales, Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde, to be exact. What are nopales? They are cactus pads. Cactus pads that are cleaned of the prickles, cleaned, sliced and brined. Typically I buy them in a jar, but if you want to get extra traditional, you can do all the hard part on your own because I will always be buying the jar version : ) New mom, remember? Back to business, nopales, ah yes, nopales and chile verde. Let’s just get to it!

Nopales (Cactus Pads)

Nopales have tons of health benefits. Who would have thought, not me. I have mentioned before, I am not a nutritionist, I only know what I read on my own due to my own curiosity. They contain Vitamin A, C and K, fiber, calcium and its low in carbs, and calories. There are many other health positives if you keep digging into the nutritional facts. 

The type of nopales used in this dish are ready to eat, sliced and jarred in a brine. All I do before using is give them a quick wash (I like to get the brine taste out because it’s all about the chile verde, you know what I’m saying). 

Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde - Nopalitos (washed)

Chile Verde

You can never go wrong with chile verde in any dish. Tt will instantly make your food 10 points better. If you don’t eat chile verde at least twice a month, are you even Mexican? That’s me trying to make a funny. 🙂

Anyhow, the good news as I always mention, is chile verde is incredibly easy to make and it’s pretty universal, meaning it can be used in many many dishes. I use the same chile verde recipe in my Enchiladas Verdes and Carne en Chile Verde as well. Ready for the quick recipe? 


  • Tomatillos, peeled, washed, halved 
  • White Onion, halved
  • Chiles Serranos, stems removed
  • Cilantro, fresh, bunch
  • Garlic Cloves
Blend all ingredients together with 2 cups of water until almost smooth. That’s it. Set aside in its raw form. We will cook it and season once in the pan. Don’t worry, I’ll go into further detail in the recipe card below. ♥

Drum Drum Drumsticks

Still with me? Yes? Great! We are almost there. It’s almost dinner time. You are almost lighting that candle. Now it’s time for juicy drumsticks. Heat enough oil to lightly cover the surface of a large saute over medium-high heat. Once the pan and oil are hot, add the drumsticks and sear just until they have a nice browned exterior, but not burned. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way at this point, it will continue to cook in our chile verde. After the drumsticks have seared, transfer them to a foil tented plate and maintain warm. Simple! 

Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde

All the components are ready, let’s light this candle. Cue the bullet points. 

  • Use the same hot oiled skillet used to sear the drumsticks. If it needs more oil at this point, add 2 tbsp. 
  • Saute julienne onions until soft and translucent. 
  • Add the washed sliced nopalitos and saute until fragrant, slightly darker and the entire brine taste has cooked out of the nopales. 
  • Pour in the raw blended chile verde and bring to a boil. Once boiling, season with the Knorr’s Chicken Bouillon Seasoning. (Always taste your sauce and add more as needed in small increments, tasting every time. The last thing you want is a salty sauce that you can’t fix. Start slow and work your way up.)
  • Return the drumsticks to the sauté pan with all the components and chile verde. Allow the drumsticks and sauce to marry together and continue cooking over a low simmer for an additional hour or until the drumsticks reach 165F internal temperature. 
  • Voila, voila and voila. Bring on the Authentic Mexican Flair ♥

Considering creating this delicious authentic Mexican dish that will fill your mouth with an explosion of tasty and healthy flavors? Yeah, I totally thought so. If you do, tell me, show me, tag me. 

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Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde

Looking for an authentic Mexican dish for dinner? Serve these Drumsticks with Nopales in Chile Verde. Simple, delicious and nutritious!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Spicy
Cuisine: Hispanic, Mexican
Keyword: cactus, chile verde, drumsticks, Mexican, nopales, spicy
Author: Sharon Guerrero-Perez


  • 1 lb 3 oz Tomatillos (peeled, washed, quartered)
  • 1 oz White Onion (halved)
  • .5 oz Chile Serrano (stems removed)
  • .1 oz Garlic Clove
  • .5 oz Cilantro (fresh, washed)
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 lb Nopalitos (jarred, pre-sliced, washed)
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 lb Drumsticks (skin removed)
  • 2.5 oz White Onion (julienne)
  • 2 tsp Knorr's Chicken Bouillon Seasoning


  • Blend the tomatillos, halved white onion, chile serrano, garlic, cilantro and water until almost smooth. Set the raw sauce aside.
  • Heat the canola oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear the drumsticks until golden, but not burnt. Remove from the pan and keep warm on a plate tented with foil.
  • In the same saute pan, add the julienne onions and saute until soft and translucent. If the pan needs more oil, add 1 - 2 tbsps.
  • Add the nopales and saute until slightly darker in color and fragrant.
  • Add the raw chile verde and bring to a boil. Once boiling, season with the Knorr's Chicken Bouillon Seasoning.
  • Add the seared drumsticks back into the pan in single layers. You want the sauce to come up at least half way to your drumsticks. If for any reason you need more liquid, add a tad bit more water.
  • Cover the pan and continue to cook over low heat until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 165F. This is also meant marry the chile verde with the drumsticks, combining both flavors together. The long this process, the better, about 1 hour should be suffiicient.
  • Done! Serve with corn tortillas for some tacos action, duh. 🙂
    Pair with Mexican (tomato) rice and/or beans if you'd like!


  • Be sure to drain the nopales from the jar and give it a good wash prior to use - you don't want the brine taste in your dish, the flavor will come from the Chile Verde
  • The Knorr's Seasoning amount is essentially to taste - I always start slow and increase the seasoning as needed (1 tsp at a time)
  • Eat with tortillas as tacos and/or pair with Mexican (tomato) rice, and beans of choice! 
Extra Notes: 
  • No need to season the drumsticks before searing, all the flavor and sodium will come from the chile verde and the Knorr's chicken seasoning
  • If you wish to skip the sear, boil the drumsticks before adding them it the sauce. This will also help reduce "cook" time because the drumsticks will already be cooked 

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Sources: Witherspoon, Deborah. Medical News Today. What are the benefits of nopal? 12 December 2017. Retrieved on 24 July 2019 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320293.php 

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