Side Dishes

Ensalada De Nopales (Cactus Salad)

Nopal, or cactus leaf, is enjoyed all over Mexico in everything from salads to soups to salsa. Here, pre-cooked nopales help you get a head start on this colorful salad that’s brimming with fresh tomatoes, onion, lime juice, cilantro, and spice. Serve it up as a topping or side with tacos and tostadas.

This recipe is courtesy of McCormick Flavor Forecast.


6 - 6 serving

Total Time

Prep Time


  • 3 c. jarred cooked nopales (nopalitos) drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. fresh diced tomato
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced white onion
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped serrano pepper
  • 1 tsp. McCormick Oregano Leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. McCormick Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
  • 1/2 c. avocado peeled, pitted, and chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 c. vegan cheese chopped (optional)


Place all ingredients, except avocado and cheese, in a large bowl; toss until evenly mixed.

Just before serving, add vegan cheese and avocado, if desired, stirring gently to mix. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves. Serve with tortilla chips.

Test Kitchen Tip: Nopales are the tear-shaped leaves of the Opuntia or prickly pear cactus, harvested all year long in warm, dry regions of Mexico. The pads are harvested young and have a delicate, tart flavor and crisp yet slightly chewy texture. The juicy leaves are eaten both raw or cooked in a variety of Mexican dishes. Nopales are generally sold fresh in Mexico, but jarred nopalitos can be found in Latin markets, online retailers and in the Latin aisle of most supermarkets.

Per serving: Calories: 73 Protein: 1 gram Fat: 5 grams (1 gram saturated) Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Carbohydrates: 6 grams Sodium: 696 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram Sugar: 1 grams 

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