February 3, 2011

Ensalada de Nopalitos (Cactus Salad)

Have you tried nopalitos? I like them chopped up in scrambled eggs and also fried with potatoes. My gardener doesn't care for them, so when he went out of town a few weeks ago, I decided to make this cactus salad and eat to my heart's content.
Putting this salad together is as easy as chopping up some vegetables and mixing them with a vinaigrette. I started with green onions, radishes, garlic, tomato, bell pepper and corn. I like avocado in this salad, but the avocado I had wasn't quite ripe.
I topped some tamales with some of this salad and also spooned some over a fried egg for breakfast. The rest I ate with corn chips and found that it makes a perfectly good chunky salsa. Be sure to rinse the nopalitos well under cold, running water. They have a tendency to be slimy, somewhat like cooked okra.


Ensalada de Nopalitos (Cactus Salad)
6 green onions, sliced
3 radishes, sliced then quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup corn
1-1/2 cups nopalitos, drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2" dice 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cotija or Feta cheese

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

3 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T lime juice

Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Cover salad and refrigerate until well chilled. To serve, top with crumbled Cotija or Feta cheese.


  1. I've only had cactus once....I would try it again if I could have your salad.

  2. I have never had catus, but have wanted to try it in something. This looks wonderful Karen- Very creative!

  3. The salad looks delicious! Great photograph! I've never had cactus. Do I find it fresh? Canned?


  4. I see cactus all the time and have never taken the time to try it or learn how to use it. You've inspired me. Great photo Karen.

  5. Do you use canned cactus, Karen? I've never seen fresh in the local markets. Those great photos have my taste buds tingling. I would like to scoop up this salad with warm tortillas. Yum.

  6. You'd think I would have tried this when I lived in Texas! Always saw it, but passed it by. Now I'm bummed - this looks fabulous!

  7. It looks delicious and the first photo is gorgeous! I've had a cactus dish in Arizona that was great but I'd be hard pressed to find cactus here. Wish I could click and get a taste!!!

  8. Hummmm Karen, looks delicious and I never trie this..


  9. Are nopalitos otherwise know as cactus pears? Or is it something else? I love cactus pear!

  10. Mmm - I have actually never tried cactus before, but it looks like I might have to change that after seeing this recipe! Looks amazing. Where do you find nopalitos?


  11. This looks amazing, I'll have to try it. Thanks for sharing!


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