People Want to Know How to Make This Cactus Salad

People Want to Know How to Make This Cactus Salad and I’m finally sharing My Recipe! It’s budget-friendly, extremely healthy, can easily be served as a meal, appetizer, or feed a crowd, great vegetarian-diabetic-friendly option and it tastes heavenly.

Cactus Salad

The Invention of My Cactus Salad:

Many years ago, while teaching at Eastfield Community College, I had a student treat me to a homemade Cactus Salad. It was a dry salad perfect for fajitas. However, I took the recipe and put my own spin on it, taking out the cheese and a few other ingredients and adding a few of my own ingredient ideas. Below is my Cactus salad recipe. Wherever and whenever I’ve served it, it’s been a hit. I’m asked so often for the recipe that I decided to finally post it and share my cactus salad with my readers.

Yes It Really is Cactus!

I always have people ask me, “Is there really cactus?” Or they’ll say later, “So that was really cactus? I thought it was green beans or something else?” Yes, this salad is made with real cactus!

Cacti in Downtown Dallas
We have cacti everywhere! Even on the streets in downtown, Dallas, we have to be careful to avoid the cacti. Sun protection in the summertime is also important for Texans!

The Cactus:

Nopal cactus, also called the prickly pear cactus, is remarkable for its “antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties” and beneficial for treating diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and hangovers.

Ingredients for my cactus salad


  • 1 (14oz or 16oz) Jar of “Nopalitos” drained and rinsed (*can also use fresh nopal)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 3 teaspoons finely cut raw garlic
  • 1 cup of zesty Italian dressing (I use Kraft)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup diced white onion
  • 3 cups chopped red tomatoes
  • 16oz can of dark red kidney beans (I use Bush’s Best)
The three brands of Nopalitos for my cacuts salad
These are the three brands of Nopalitos that I always find at the local supermarkets.


Prepare Nopales

Drain nopales (cacti) from the jar. Remove and discard any peppers. Place in a bowl with room temperature or cold water. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, drain the water from the bowl, place nopales into a mixing bowl. I soak the nopales in water overnight because, like okra, nopales (cacti) can have a little bit of slime, but washing and then soaking them in cold water takes that slime away.

Dona Maria Nopalitos for my cactus salad
This is a jar of Dona Maria Nopalitos. It almost always has a pepper and some slices of white onion. It’s actually my favorite brand of Nopalitos. Yes the pepper makes these nopalitos spicy but soaking them in cold water will make them mild.

Mix All the Ingredients

In the mixing bowl, add all the ingredients, nopales, carrots, cilantro, garlic, red onion, white onion, tomatoes, kidney beans, and the Italian dressing. Mix well.

Set in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers

How to Serve

At home, I serve the cactus salad to my family in taco shells or with these crowd-pleasing organic corn chip dippers from Trader Joes.

Other Recipes Using Cacti

Stay tuned for my next cactus recipe as I explain how to cook and use fresh nopal cactus pads/leaves. It’s especially exciting for your children to go camping, see you discover and pick fresh cactus leaves which you can grill and serve via a campfire.

A camping favorite, grilled cactus along with rock collecting!

Nopales can easily be added as a side dish, appetizer or to dishes such as eggs, salads, and main dishes. Follow WiseMommies for these recipes and more. And check out this easy DIY superfood that kids can make and enjoy!!

Thanks for reading my post, People Want to Know How to Make This Cactus Salad. Let me know if you make it and feel free to share my recipe with others especially via social media links.

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2 thoughts on “People Want to Know How to Make This Cactus Salad”

  1. As a New England gal I had no idea you could eat cactus! This sounds really interesting (and flavorful). Thanks for sharing with us at the Welcome Spring party. Pinned.


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