Nopales salad with tomato and chiles

Total Time
46 min
20 min
16 min
Napoles salads are very refreshing and healthy and traditionally eaten throughout Mexico. This version features fresh corn, spicy jalapenos, bright red onions, and fresh tomatoes and cilantro. If you've never cooked with nopales (Spanish for cacti) beofre, there's no reason to be intimidated. Simply hold a paddle with tongs and rinse under cold water, being careful not to prick your fingers on the small thorns. With a small, sharp knife, scrape off the dark bumps and thorns (do not remove all the outer dark green skin). Rinse the paddle again. Then just trim 1 inch off the edge and 1 inch off the thick base and you're ready to rock and roll.


Olive oil cooking spray

4 spray(s)

Sliced nopales

¾ pound(s), (2 whole large fresh cactus paddles, cleaned and trimmed)

Kosher salt

¾ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp

Fresh yellow corn

2 small, husks and silk removed

Olive oil

1 Tbsp

White balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp

Jalapeño pepper(s)

2 tsp, seeded and minced

Fresh tomato(es)

12 oz, assorted mini tomatoes, halved

Uncooked red onion(s)

2 Tbsp, chopped, finely chopped


2 Tbsp, fresh leaves


  1. Heat large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly spray both sides of nopales with olive oil nonstick spray; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Cook nopales, in batches, until lightly charred and tender, 2–3 minutes per side, transferring each batch to cutting board as it is cooked. Spray corn with nonstick spray. Place corn in skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until charred, 8–9 minutes. Transfer to cutting board.
  2. Meanwhile, to make dressing, whisk together oil, vinegar, jalapeño, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in salad bowl.
  3. When cool enough to handle, cut nopales into 1-inch pieces and cut off kernels from ears of corn. Add nopales, corn, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro to dressing in bowl; toss until coated evenly.
  4. Per serving: 1 1/4 cups