Mushroom Soup with Roasted Tomatillos and Cactus(Sopa de Nopalitos

"This lovely soup served steaming hot brings home the advantage of warm-climate cuisines on frosty cold winter days. The soup is thick, delicious and piquant. From Riven Rock Gardens as published in our local newspaper."
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Ready In:


  • 1 lb nopales cactus pieces, paddles
  • olive oil
  • 12 lb fresh tomatillo, husked and washed (about 5 medium)
  • 12 lb ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 13 cup sliced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
  • 14 teaspoon ground aniseed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 9 sprigs cilantro
  • 12 lb fresh shiitake mushroom, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Preheat broiler.
  • If nopales have thorns, carefully trim them from cactus paddles with scissors, then rub paddles with clean plastic scouring pad to get rid of the very small ones.
  • Rinse with water and brush each side with a little olive oil.
  • Set on a cookie sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until limp, (10 to 15 minutes).
  • Set the cooked cactus paddles aside to cool.
  • When cool, cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1/4-inch-wide slices.
  • Place the tomatillos and tomatoes whole on baking sheet and broil until soft and blackened in spots, about 4 minutes.
  • Turn and broil on other side.
  • Set aside to cool; peel tomatoes when cool.
  • While the cactus is being cooked, combine the garlic, jalapenos, onion, anise seed and olive oil in large stockpot.
  • Saute until onions are tender (not browned) and garlic is fragrant, about 6 minutes.
  • Combine roasted vegetables in food processor with 2 cups of the vegetable stock and the cilantro.
  • Puree until chunky smooth.
  • Add the puree to the garlic and onion mixture with remaining stock and simmer over medium flame.
  • Add mushrooms, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer approximately 20 minutes.
  • Add cactus pieces to soup and simmer 5 more minutes.
  • Serve hot.

Questions & Replies

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  1. tamarinda
    The anise and cilantro are a nice complement to the sour flavors of the cactus and tomatillos. I made this a little creamier with the addition of some cooked and pureed lentils.
  2. Pearlsb4swine
    This was amazingly reminiscent of Chinese Hot and Sour soup to me. Found it very easy to make and will be making it in the future. It's probably a Mexican mama's answer to Jewish penicillin! Subbed a cascabel pepper for the jalapenos, regular button mushrooms for the shiitakes, and chicken broth for the vegetable broth (because that's what we had on hand).



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