Ensalada de Nopales – Cactus Salad

Designed for Compassion Over Killing’s Spanish outreach literature, this was the first time I ever had nopales—those big cactus pads you might have seen in the market. Hopefully you can find some de-thorned, so you won’t have to slice off all the prickles before cutting up the cactus for cooking. I am justifiably irrationally terrified of cactus, but I was lucky enough to find some pads at the market with the thorns already removed. This salad is very fresh and filling, perfect served along with perhaps something cheesy like a vegan quesadilla!

Ensalada de Nopales (serves 6-8)

4 large nopales (cactus), julienned
1 small-medium jicama, julienned
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 fresh serrano chile, cored and minced
1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled and diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Place nopales in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, drain, rinse well and repeat with fresh water. Simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes total. Rinse well with cold water. Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, vinegar and lime juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the cooled nopales, jicama, onion, tomatoes, serrano and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning. Marinade for at least 30 minutes for flavors to mingle. Just before serving, fold in the avocado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *