Nopales Salad

Nopales, the young segments of the prickly pear cactus, are a staple in Mexican cuisine and figure in a variety of dishes from tacos to salads. Somewhat requiring knife-savvy what with having to rid of nubs and spines, these flat, fleshy pads are available bottled, canned or already prepared in bags. Try this vibrant nopales with your morning eggs or dinner tacos and let me know what you think.

Nopales Salad

Nopales Salad
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 4 Servings
  • 2 Nopales pads
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Using a small paring knife, clean the cactus paddles by scraping thorns or spines from both sides. Trim off the edges and any blemished or discolored areas. Wash well with cold water. Cut the paddle lengthwise into half-inch thick strips and then cut crosswise into 1 to 1½-inch lengths.
  2. In a pot, combine garlic, about 1 teaspoon of salt and water to cover nopales and bring to a boil. Add nopales and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until nopales have changed color and are tender yet crisp. Remove from heat, rinse well under very cold water and drain well. Rinse again as needed to rid of its gelatinous sap.
  3. In a bowl, combine cooked nopales, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilanto, lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt to taste. Serve topped with queso fresco and sliced avocados, if desired.

Nopales Salad


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