This Mexican Nopales Salad (Cactus Salad) is made with nopales, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, serrano peppers, limes and olive oil.
What do you mean it's okay to eat cactus? In Mexico, it is part of the Mexican diet. Nopales has been proven to provide a TON of health benefits like lowering cholesterol, helping with diabetes, improving digestion, and reducing weight. It is also an anti-inflammatory and high in fiber and antioxidants. I need you all to get hooked on this now!
Be super careful when cleaning nopales. You do not want to become a pin cushion! With a knife, cut along the edge and take off a thin slice of the edge of the paddle. Be careful not to touch the thorns when you grab with your hand. With a peeler and tongs, peel the thorns off while holding on to the cactus with the tongs. When you peel, it is okay if you include peeling some of the skin if necessary.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Cactus pads or a strained 15 oz jar of prepped nopales
- Serrano peppers
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Rinse the cactus under cold water and be careful with the thorns. Use a vegetable peeler and peel away the bumps and thorns. With your other hand, you should use an oven mitt so you don’t prick yourself and you can hold it. Lean them against a chopping board. Once cleaned, lay the paddle flat on a cutting board and trim ¼ inch off the edges and about ½ inch of the thick base. Cut the cactus into slices or squares, about a little less than an inch thick. Repeat wit the rest. Bring a medium pot to boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes until tender. The cactus will exude a sticky substance. Place a strainer on top of a bowl and strain the nopales. Keep the nopales in the strainer and place a towel over the strainer and bowl for 10 minutes. This step helps get rid of the sticky substance. Rinse the nopales.
If you bought strained 15 oz jar of prepped nopales, skip the first step.
Place the nopales in a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.
Squeeze the lime into it. Drizzle with olive oil.
Add salt and pepper to your liking and mix. Enjoy your Mexican Nopales Salad (Cactus Salad).
Hint: Use an oven mitt to hold the nopales when you are cleaning them.
Cactus: You can buy fresh cactus pads or a 15 oz jar of prepped nopales. Either one works well.
Tomatoes: You can use any sort of tomatoes you want. I love using Roma tomatoes, but beefsteak or even cherry tomatoes will work. Just dice them up really well.
Onion: I love using red onion for this, but you can use yellow or white onion.
Cilantro: I know some people do not love cilantro, but I love the kick it gives the salad. If you want to omit, that is fine.
Serrano peppers: You can use Serrano peppers or jalapeno peppers for this. If you do not want it to be spicy, you can omit.
Lime: Fresh lime juice gives this salad so much flavor, but also helps preserve int he refrigerator for the week.
Olive oil: I used olive oil for this, but you can use avocado oil too.
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes in the salad for a nice kick.
- Deluxe - add fresh chopped avocado!
Check out this Sonoran Hot Dog.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Stone bakeware takes longer to heat up than metal pans, and also retain heat for longer, which could make the recipe more watery, or burnt on the outsides.
I love using my Caraway pots, pans and baking sheets for best quality. Get yourself a discount by clicking here!
This will be good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
You can buy fresh cactus pads or a 15 oz jar of prepped nopales. Either one works well.Print
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove