Skip to Content

Nopalitos Cactus Salad

An authentic Mexican cactus stalk salad or “ensalada de nopales,” as it’s commonly called in Mexico. Nopales are a staple in the Mexican cuisine and frequently used in salsas, salads or stews.

Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes


  • 4 medium cactus stalks
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 an onion (preferably red or white), finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco, or queso cotija


  1. Clean the cactus stalks of spines and wash them very well.
  2. Slice the nopales thin and put them in a pot with water to cover them. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Cook the leaves on medium high heat until tender, for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Set them aside.
  5. When nopales are cooked, remove them from the stove, drain the water. When cool, use them for the salad.
  6. In a salad bowl, place the cactus leaves, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and dried Mexican oregano.
  7. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the salad. Add oil. Taste for salt and pepper and mix everything together.
  8. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over and serve.
Back to top