Cooked nopales, cheese, scallions, lime juice, oil and oregano tossed with avocado and cilantro create a fresh delicious salad! Eat as a side dish or pair with your favorite protein for a complete meal! Beyond adding delicious flavor, the avocado featured in this recipe also adds nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, making it a healthy choice to help meet nutrient needs.
- 3 c. fresh nopales
- 1 c. crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
- 1/3 c. thinly sliced scallions
- 2 T. crushed oregano
- 1/2 ea. lime, juiced
- 2 T. olive or vegetable oil
- 1 ea. Avocado From Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 1/3 c. chopped cilantro
- To prepare fresh nopales, hold them at the bottom with a wad of newspaper or tongs so as not to get needles stuck in your fingers. Carefully use a sharp knife to scrape off the thorns, running the knife in both directions on both sides of the nopales. Trim off the edges and rinse the nopales under cold water. Cut the nopales first into long, narrow strips, and then into squares measuring about 1/2”.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the nopales and simmer uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes. Check for tenderness –they should still be slightly firm and not mushy.
- You may need to skim off the viscous juices that the nopales exude once or twice during the cooking process if the water gets too frothy.
- Drain the nopales and, if desired, rinse under cold water. Drain well.
- For the salad: In large bowl, combine nopales with the cheese, scallions, and oregano and season to taste with salt. Drizzle on the lime juice and oil. Garnish with the avocado and cilantro. Toss and serve immediately.
- Note: Nopales, or cactus paddles, are actually the leaves of edible cactus. They are available fresh or cleaned and cut into squares in most Mexican markets. Fresh nopales are always preferable, but jarred nopales are convenient and will work just as well. If you use the jarred nopales, simply rinse and drain them, skipping the cooking process in steps 1-4.