We’ve been making this cactus salad for years, going back to our Memphis days. We always used bottled nopalitos, but they are expensive and a bit heavy on the salt. I’m looking to experiment with fresh cactus available at our local market at a reasonable price. In the meantime, here’s an interesting looking recipe for fresh cactus I’m hoping to try soon.


1 can cactus tenders ; drained
1/2 onion ; chopped
1 can tomato ; drained
1/2 teaspoon salt


Combine cactus, onion, and tomatoes. Mix oil and vinegar to make a salad dressing. Add to cactus mixture to taste.

Note added 6/3/2012:  I made this from fresh cactus today, and it’s fabulous. It’s a bit tedious cleaning the pads of the needles and the little spots that sprout them, but it’s worth it.

Just clean the pads (Yeah, easily said.) Cut into a dice. Boil for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain.

Add thinly sliced onion (1/2 medium yellow onion or 1/8 to 1/4 medium red onion).

Add a 14 ounce can of tomatoes; drained first; then chopped.

A bit of minced garlic.

A handful of fresh cilantro.

A drizzle of your favorite vinegar/oil dressing.

Some black pepper; and maybe a splash of hot sauce or some sliced chile peppers.

Chill and serve.