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Nopales (Cactus) Salad

Living in San Diego, I am constantly surrounded by amazing Mexican food. I have come across restaurants using cactus paddles, or nopales, in tacos, as a side, and in margaritas. I thought it could be fun to experiment with nopales myself by making a nopales salad that can be served on its own or in a tortilla.

Step 1, cutting the cactus paddles
The final product!

Nopales Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


3 nopales cactus paddles

1 garlic clove, smashed

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup chopped tomato

2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp oregano

1/3 cup olive oil

Corn tortillas, to serve

How to Make It

  1. Place the cactus paddles on your cutting board and, using a sharp knife, trim off the edge. Scrape the spines, thorns or eyes, running your knife from back to front until completely clean. Turn the cactus paddles and do the same on the other side. Cut the cactus paddles into small strips.
  2. Place a medium size pot with 4 quarts of water to boil. Once the water is boiling add the cactus, garlic, and salt. Boil uncovered for about 8-10 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once cooked, drain and rinse the cactus. Let them drain completely or pat them dry with paper towels.
  4. Place the nopales in a large bowl; add the chopped tomato and cilantro. In a separate bowl mix lime juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add this to the nopales mixture and stir. Enjoy the salad on its own or eat with corn tortillas.

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