Filiberto’s Nopales / Cactus Salad

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 4 cups [about 1.5 lbs.] chopped fresh nopales, with spines removed
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice [opt: apple cider vinegar]
  • 1/8 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 2 avocado, sliced thinly


  1. Rinse off the nopales and cut into long strips about a half inch wide. The spines should be removed, but if not, take a knive amd shave off the spines.
  2. Place cactus in a large pot with the garlic cloves and cover with water. Boil gently for about 20 minutes or until all of the cactus pieces have changed from a bright green to an olive green color and are tender.
  3. Once cooked, strain the nopales and rinse under running water until most of the “slime” has washed away.
  4. Chop the onion into thin julienned slivers, either with a knife or a mandolin. Add lime juice [or apple cider vinegar], chile flakes, and half of the salt, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Mix together the nopales, tomato, cilantro, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or up to 24 hours to let the flavors come together. Before serving, garnish with queso fresco, cilantro, any remaining onion, and sliced avocado.