Grilled Little Gems with Nopalito Black Beans

35 minutesMakes 2 to 3 servings
Half salad, half taco, this recipe is inspired by a recent restaurant dish we were eager to imitate. This can be served as is and by itself, or piled into tortillas. The little gems are the true stars here, so whatever route you go, they'll take this dish to the next level.


16 ounces Nopalito black beans

Olive oil

3 heads little gems, outer leaves removed and cut into quarters lengthwise (leave the ends so they stay intact)

2 to 3 limes

½ pound ground beef

1 pinch chili powder

1 pinch ground cumin

1 pinch chile flakes

Queso fresco, for garnish

1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

1 bunch green onions

1 package small corn tortillas

Step 1

Heat the beans over medium heat in a small pan until they’re just warmed through. Season to taste with salt.

Step 2

Heat a drizzle of olive oil over high heat in a cast iron pan. When the oil is hot, add the little gems to the pan in one layer using tongs. Cook until each quarter has a nice char on it, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and finish with a squeeze of lime. Set aside.

Step 3

Add a bit more olive oil to the same pan. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef and break it into smaller chunks with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the spices. Continue to cook until the beef is cooked through and browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Warm tortillas directly over the flame of your stove or in a dry cast iron pan.

Step 5

To eat, tuck the little gem into a tortilla and spoon beans and beef over it. Garnish with cilantro and queso fresco and dig in!