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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nopalitos Salad (Cactus Paddle Salad)

While we most often make a simple Cactus Paddle salad using cooked nopalitos, diced tomatoes and onion, and crumbled queso fresco with a bit of cilantro mixed in...this version is quickly becoming a close runner-up.  The creamy goat cheese just sort of melts into each bite...and the slick cilantro dressing is a nice compliment to the crunch of the onion and the tomato.  No matter which version you try, I hope you'll add Cactus to your list of addicting veggies (if it's not there already).  While you can find whole cactus paddles at any Mexican Market, you can find the jarred or canned version in the International aisle of most supermarkets today.  

Just a quickie...I'm off to enjoy the rest of this gorgeous day...and sweat through tomorrow's 90° madness. Ugh.  Oh well.  At least it's not snowing.  I guess. Sheesh, never satisfied.  I just want to live in the land of eternal-Autumn (ie...temps anywhere from 55°-70° F).  Is that really too much to ask for?
Nopalitos Salad
 This recipe calls for jarred Nopalitos.  You could obviously also used canned, or use fresh that have been de-spiked, sliced, and par-boiled.
adapted from Houston Classic Mexican Recipes
makes ~4 svgs.

~2 lb. (jarred) Nopalitos (Cacus Paddles)
¼ small red onion, sliced thinly
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. goat cheese, crumbled
Cilantro Dressing, to taste (recipe follows)

tomato, diced
cilantro, picked &/or chopped

Drain nopalitos and rinse well. Combine with onion and garlic in a bowl.  Gently fold in goat cheese.  Drizzle in as much of the Cilantro dressing as you'd like (I usually use ~½ c. and reserve the rest for another purpose).  Garnish w/ diced tomato & cilantro.
Cilantro Dressing
makes ~1 c.

1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
small handful fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. lime juice
pinch ground cumin
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice
½ c. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients except oil, salt, & pepper in blender.  Blend and then add oil in a stream to emulsify (combine). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I am sharing this post with:
Souper_Sundays2 savory sunday midnight maniac meatless monday just another meatless monday veganmondays Get-Grillin-logo
*Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.

Would you like to comment?

  1. When you find that place to live, please let me know? I, too, am forever fighting the weather. :)

    Nopalitos! I've never had them although my Texas born and bred papa spoke fondly of them all my life. I'm for anything with goat cheese and cilantro. I have a major addiction to both. I must find some nopalitos and make this salad soon. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. New to me salad and boy does it look good!

  3. Goat cheese and cactus. Seriously. Only you, Heather! Only you. Now, if I could figure out where to find cactus in NYC...

  4. Oh my gosh.....I haven't had these in years and they look so yummy. Gonna have to do this salad for the first week of "off school".
    Havent' visited in such a long time. Have super duper weekend...hugs and smooches, The Olde Bagg

  5. oh these look great! thanks for sharing them and linking up at Savory Sunday!

  6. VAya ensalada rica, una delicia.


  7. Now this isn't something you find every day! Eternal autumn...ah...too hot already. Hope you are enjoying yourself!

  8. I need to pick up so nopalitos if I get by the Latin mercantile sometime soon. I have just never quite known what to do with them. This salad looks delicious--loving that dressing too. Thanks for sharing it at Souper Sundays. ;-)

  9. My vote is for eternal spring. A constant seventy degrees would be ideal. :) I've never ever eaten cactus! I'll have to look for it in the market- this sounds delicious! :)

  10. I don't think I've seen cactus around here, but I bet I could find something to do with that dressing :)

  11. Ditto, I've never had cactus salad, or cactus of any kind for that matter.

    I suppose I'd be willing to give it a try after your recommendation and THAT vibrant looking salad!

    Thanks for sharing, Heather. Hoping you enjoyed your sunny day:)

  12. I've never had them but living in Tucson, I'm assuming that lots of people around here have! I bet this would make a great salad to bring to a Memorial Day picnic.

    Appreciate the recipe and the photos!


  13. neat salad new to me wow thats warm for the North have a great day

  14. I just can't picture myself standing around despiking cactus paddles .. would probably opt for the pre-cleaned. One of these days I'd like to try this.

  15. I tried using cactus before and wasn't overly fond of it. But that was 15 years ago, before I knew how to cook, so I should try it again.

  16. Cactus Paddle? Never even heard of it, but it looks great. Time to go educate myself I guess. That dressing sound deadly and I'll be putting that on something very soon even if I can't my hands on those paddles!

  17. new to me would love to try it loved reading your post come visit me at

  18. I have never heard of cactus paddle. It looks tasty though :) That cilantro dressing is so beautiful!

  19. Great looking salad, I have never tried Nopalitos...will have to look around :)

  20. The last time we made carne asada we topped it with pickled nopalitos and it was amazing.(first time we tried it!) I am going to have to try this salad!

  21. These look so yummy. Love your blog come and check out my blog

    Have a great day