Nopales Salad

Nopales salad (ensalada de nopales in Spanish), is a refreshing and light salad made with Mexican cactus. Perfect to serve as a side dish for grilled proteins or as a light meal any day of the week, this tasty and nutritious salad, is also naturally vegan and gluten-free.

Nopales salad in a clay bowl.

What are nopales?

Nopales, sometimes also called nopalitos are Mexican cactus widely used in the Mexican gastronomy. Those cactus are known in English as prickly pear cactus and besides from being so delicious and versatile, they are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. – Related article: Benefits of eating nopales cactus.

Nopales salad is just another way of eating this amazing super food in Mexico, where it’s common to find it served as a side dish for main meals (specially grilled meats as carne asada, pollo asado, etc), or as a toppings for tacos, tlacoyos, sopes, and tostadas; or just as an appetizer scooping it up with tortilla chips.

Nopales salad served in a clay Mexican bowl.

How To Cook Nopales

  • Place cleaned and diced nopales in a large pot and cover about 2 inches with water.
  • Add salt, 1 small onion cut into half and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes or until nopales are tender.
  • Drain well, discard onion and the bay leaf and leave the nopalitos to cool down before using in the recipe.

How To Make It

Prepare your ingredients. Chop the onions, dice the tomatoes, and chop jalapeño or serrano peppers and cilantro. If you using jarred nopales, drain them and roughly chop them too. If using freshly cooked nopales just make sure they’re cooled down before making the salad.

Ingredients for nopales salad labeled and displayed on a cutting board.

Add everything to a bowl, including the nopalitos. Squeeze 1/2 lime juice over and season with a pinch of salt.

Squeezing a wedge of lime over ingredients in a bowl.

Mix well the nopales salad and adjust salt and lime juice to taste. Serve as a side dish or as suggested below.

How To Serve

Nopales salad are perfect to top tacos, to eat as an appetizer with totopos (corn chips), or to serve alongside with your favorite grilled meats. I love pairing this salad with adobo chicken or top my sopes with it; even though, my favorite way for eating nopalitos salad is in a taco with frijoles de la olla, queso fresco and molcajete salsa, just as in the picture below:

A taco made with corn tortilla, nopales salad, beans, queso fresco and salsa.

Useful Recipe Notes

  • You can discard the seeds and core of tomatoes, but if you want your nopalitos salad to be more on the juicy side, just chop them and add them with everything.
  • If you’re going to remove the seeds and veins from chilies, don’t forget to use gloves or wash your hands immediately after handling them, so you won’t end with some spiciness on your hands, or even worst, your face.
  • This salad last up to 3 days stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Add a splash of vinegar to the salad, not only this gives a nice “pickly” taste but it helps to preserve it longer.
  • I am using here a 15 oz jar of Doña Maria brand nopalitos, I love making nopales salad with those because they’re already cooked and cut, and that my friend, is a nice shortcut in this recipe.
A jar of Doña Maria nopales.

Other Mexican recipes you might like

Nopales salad recipe.

Nopales Salad

A delicious a nutritious salad made with Mexican cactus, tomatoes, onions and spicy peppers. Serve as appetizer with corn chips or as a side dish for grilled meats.
PREP 10 minutes
TOTAL 10 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1-15 oz jar nopalitos (read notes)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (chopped)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • Add tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers and cilantro in a medium bowl.
  • Drain nopales from the jar, chop them roughly and then add to the bowl.
  • Mix and season with salt and lime juice to taste.

NOTES

If you want to use fresh nopales:
 
  • Place 2 1/2 cups of fresh, cleaned, and diced nopales in a large pot and cover about 2 inches with water.
  • Add salt, 1 small onion cut into half and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes or until nopales are tender.
  • Drain well, discard onion and the bay leaf and leave the nopalitos to cool down before using in the recipe.
Nutrition
Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 566mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1339IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 1mg
Don’t miss any recipe.Subscribe for free to our Newsletter!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS NOPALITOS SALAD RECIPE? Please, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you! Also, remember that you can share it using the buttons below and follow this blog on PINTERESTINSTAGRAMFACEBOOK and YOUTUBE!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating