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Mexican Cactus Salad

Cactus salad will offer a memorable experience to those who are keen to experiment with exotic cuisine. If you’re curious to find more about a certain traditional cuisine, you must taste its very special dishes which make it so special. Besides the traditional dishes, there’s always a wide range of less popular, but incredibly tasty other recipes. In the Mexican cuisine, one of these recipes is the cactus salad.


Even though worldwide the cactus is known as an ornamental plant, its use differs from country to country, moreover it serves as a delicious ingredient also in the kitchen. In some countries with water restrictions, the cactus is one of the most popular ornamental plants, while in other, due to its specific form,the perfect means to create cactus fences, like in Kenya.

Besides the use in landscape architecture or even protection, in some countries, cactuses are used in salads. The edible cactus (also called 'nopales') is a very popular ingredient in Mexico cuisine and other Central American countries, but also in Europe, Australia and some parts of India or North Africa. When cooked, the cactus tastes like green pepper or asparagus, and it’s extremely rich in iron, carotene, vitamin B, C and calcium.

But cactus can do more than that. It has multiple uses and a wide range of purposes: it can be used as a sweetener, as a food ingredient, ice-cream flavoring, landscaping, hair conditioner, to treat red eye, as a dye, as flour, and the list might as well continue. Cactuses are made of 90% water, and all its components are edible: the pads, the fruits, the seeds and even the flowers. And, in our case, this plant in its complete beauty is the famous ingredient for a delicious summer salad – the cactus salad.

Here is the list with the necessary ingredients for the cactus salad recipe, which serves 6:

  • 24 ounce jar sliced or diced prickly pear
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano leaves
  • dash of pepper


  • The cactus can be cooked in two ways. It can be steamed over boiling water for a few minutes, sliced and eaten, or it can be grilled and then sliced. Before cooking it, unless it comes out right from a jar from the supermarket, the cactus needs to undergo some cuts: it should be de-spined, its prickers removed the outside edges also, and the dry and fibrous area trimmed off.

    Cactus usually can be also consumed raw, but in this Mexican recipe, it needs to be cooked. As said before, either the cactus is boiled, or is grilled, and then, in both cases, sliced and ready for the salad.

    The salad takes only few minutes to prepare and it involves some simple steps. The cactus, the tomatoes, the onion and the cilantro are to be mixed in a large bowl. Meanwhile, all the other ingredients, the vegetable oil, the white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and the oregano should be mixed in a separate jar. The mixture is poured over the vegetables in the large bowl and tossed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or even overnight, before serving the salad.



    Tags: cactus salad recipe, cactus salad, salad dressing, salad recipe, salad recipes, easy salad, cactus recipe, appetizer recipe, Mexican recipe, mexican food


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