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In Mexico, cactus leaves (nopales) are usually combined with ingredients such as tomatoes, chiles & onions. This results in refreshing salads that act as a side dish to meat, poultry and fish.
Nopales (cactus) leaves can be purchased in Latin American supermarkets or grocery stores. Here is our exquisite take on this traditional dish – Summer Cactus Salad.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
3 cactus (nopales) leaves (found in Latin American grocery stores or supermarkets)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 of a Serrano Chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped, fresh mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cactus (nopales) leaves into 1/2-inch pieces.
2. Transfer the chopped cactus to a colander set over a bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, combine the chopped red onion, red bell pepper, Serrano chile and mint in a mixing bowl.
4. Rinse the chopped cactus under cold water and drain.
5. Working in batches, transfer about 1/4 of the chopped cactus to double paper towels set on cutting board.
6. Take paper towels and pat dry (cactus will stick to the paper towels).
7. Release the dried cactus from paper towels and add it to other ingredients in bowl. Repeat with remaining cactus.
8. Add olive oil and lime to salad ingredients and toss. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.
9. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours ahead.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real