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Cactus Salad (Nopales)

Bagged cactus can be found in Mexican markets and is cleaned and ready to cook.  Some people don’t like it because it has the same gel-like consistency as okra.  It took me some years to get over it but now I love it.  Not to mention its low fat and can be used as a filling in vegetarian tacos or on top of carne asada.

Serves 4


  • 1 small bag cactus, needles removed, cleaned and diced
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large round tomato
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • drizzle olive oil
  • few dashes red wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.)  Place cactus in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Heat to just boiling over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and let cook until fork tender and more of an olive green in color, about 6-8 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
2.)  In a medium bowl, combine cooled cactus, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  Toss to combine and serve.