Cactus Paddle Salad

by0| PUBLISHED May 2, 2007 8:00 AM
Cactus Paddle Salad
See the Recipe. Laurie Smith

(Ensalada de Nopalitos)
Nopalitos are the paddles of the prickly pear cactus, cut into strips. They taste like green beans or asparagus, but when first cut, they secrete a sticky juice and must be blanched and rinsed before cooking (see Preparing Fresh Nopalitos); it may be easier to use canned nopalitos, as in this recipe from Mexican Family Cooking (Fawcett, 1986) by Aida Gabilondo.

Yield: serves 8


  • 1 (32-oz.) can nopalitos
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • &lt;a href=""&gt;Flour/ tortillas&lt;/a&gt;


  1. Drain nopalitos in a colander. Pick out any onion or pepper pieces.
  2. Whisk lime juice, garlic, and oil together in a large mixing bowl. Add nopalitos, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeño. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss well. Chill for at least 1 hour and serve wrapped in tortillas.