1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content

Latino Daily News

Monday May 27, 2013

Celebrate Memorial Day With This Cactus Paddle Salad (Ensalada de Nopales) Recipe

Celebrate Memorial Day With This Cactus Paddle Salad (Ensalada de Nopales) Recipe

Photo: Cactus Paddle Salad (Nopales Salada)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A dish that may seem exotic to Americans, and yet most Mexicans will find it to be very familiar comfort food. Mostly found in the Central area of Mexico, the prickly pear cactus plant is renowned for its paddles and fruit.  Its image is even found on the Mexican flag.  A version of this preparation is often used as a condiment for other dishes in Mexico, however here it is presented as a self-sufficient salad. Fresh nopales are available in Mexican groceries, but require labor-intensive processing best explained in a future recipe. For now, just buy a jar.

Memorial Day Weekend is here, V&V Supremo; one of the nation’s oldest family-run Hispanic food business, wants to share some authentic recipes to celebrate !a la Mexicana!

Cactus Paddle Salad (Nopales Salada)


1 15 oz. jar of cactus pieces, drained and rinsed in cold water
3 Ripe plum tomatoes seeded and diced
½ Medium onion diced
¼ Bunch cilantro chopped
½ Tsp. dried oregano (Mexican or other)
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Pickled jalapeños, diced
Salt to taste

For the garnishes:
4 Large romaine lettuce leaves
4 Radishes sliced thin

Mix all the salad ingredients together in a bowl.


Place 1 romaine leaf on each of four plates.  Top each leaf with ¼ of the salad mixture.  Sprinkle on cheese, jalapeños and radishes.

Yields 4 salads