How To Make Nopalito Salad

Salads are any dish that is served with any one or combination of vegetables, pasta, legumes, eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or even fruits. Salads can be served cold or hot depending on the preference. Most salads require sauce or dressing but this is not a prerequisite.
Salads can also be classified as appetizers, side sides, entrée salads, or dessert salads. Salads have been served for over two thousand years as food historians traced back the presence of salads back in the Roman era.

Salads are served differently across different countries and regions. While most Americans prefer Caesar salad as appetizers, Koreans love Kimchi or pickled vegetables, Mexicans have their own version of salad – the Nopalito salad.

If you are planning a Mexican menu for your next party, consider serving Nopalito salad along tacos and enchiladas. Nopalito salad, or sometimes referred to as Nopales, use prickly pear cactus as its main ingredient. Nopales are vegetables that are commonly grown in Mexico. Nopales are known to be very rich in dietary fibers that are good for you health. Fresh Nopales might be difficult to find in your local grocery store, so consider buying canned Nopales.

  • Prepare your shopping list for your Nopalito salad:  two large unpeeled garlic cloves, a quarter cup of lemon juice, half a cup of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, one-fourths teaspoon of dried oregano and dried thyme, a tablespoon of pickled jalapeno peppers. These ingredients are for your dressing. For the salad, you will need:  a fifteen-ounce jar of sliced Nopalitos, four scallions, two medium tomatoes, four red radishes, one head red leaf lettuce, a bunch of cilantro leaves and half a cup of crumbled feta cheese.
  • Slice the vegetables. Jalapeno peppers should be finely chopped. Chopped the scallions and the cilantro leaves coarsely then slice the tomatoes and radish thinly. Wash your red leaf lettuce then tear it into small pieces.
  • Start with your dressing by heating the garlic in a cast-iron skillet. Cook for about twenty minutes using the medium setting of you stove. Turn the garlic occasionally to avoid burning the garlic. Remove the softened garlic from the skillet, peel them and then mash thoroughly. Put the mashed garlic into a small bowl.
  • Put together the lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, oregano and thyme. Use a metal whisk to mix them together. Add the garlic and the jalapeno peppers into the mixture and mix thoroughly. Once you’re done, set this aside. If you are preparing ahead, then simply put the dressing in your refrigerator until you need it.
  • When you’re ready to serve your salad, toss the Nopalitos with the dressing in a large salad bowl. Make sure that you drain the vegetables well before you put them in the bowl. Allow the dressing to seep through the Nopalitos. Just when you’re ready to serve your salad, add the remaining vegetables into the salad bowl and toss well. For the finishing touch, add the crumbled feta cheese into the salad.

A little warning though, this salad is a spicy type of salad. Make sure that your guests are inclined to eat spicy food. Enjoy your Mexican dinner!  


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