clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
spoonful of cactus salad

Low Carb Cactus Salad

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x


Cactus salad (ensalada de nopales) is a gluten free Mexican salad that makes a fantastic filling for tortillas or a side with grilled meat.  Just toss together canned nopales, fresh veggies, and an easy dressing.  Make it vegan by leaving out the cheese.


  • 1/3 cup jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (about 1 large pepper)
  • 3/4 cup Roma tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 large tomatoes)
  • 15 ounce jar pickled cactus, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 an onion)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (from two limes)
  • 1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Mix together the chopped onion, tomato, pickled cactus, and fresh jalapeño in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the white balsamic vinegar, spices and olive oil in a smaller bowl.
  3. Pour the freshly squeezed lime juice over the vegetables and stir.
  4. Add the dressing, then mix well to coat all the vegetables.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and stir until well blended.
  6. Cover and chill for at least an hour, then mix in half of the crumbled cheese just before serving.  Transfer it to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining crumbled cheese.  For best flavor, serve slightly cold or at room temperature.


  • To make this less spicy, don't use the pickled onion and serrano pepper from the jar of pickled cactus.
  • If you don't have any queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) on hand, feel free to substitute with feta cheese.
  • Use the pickled version instead of fresh to save time.
  • To remove any slime, rinse the cactus under cold water.
  • Serve as a side with grilled meat or with tortilla chips.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Chopped
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: prickly pear cactus, mexican, nopalitos