Ensalada de Nopalitos

By • July 27, 2011 0 Comments

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Author Notes: A salad made with cactus paddles! It may seem exotic to some, but if the ingredients are available, it’s worth the
effort. We created this recipe for the film "Tortilla Soup" in our book "Cooking with the Movies: Meals on Reels."
Anthony Chiffolo


Serves 8-12


  • 7-8 fresh cactus paddles (needles removed)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 sm. red onion, diced
  • 1 Serrano chili
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup yellow squash, diced
  • 3 bunches cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup añejo cheese, finely grated

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to Broil. Place the cactus paddles in a bowl and coat them on both sides with a bit of olive oil. Spread onto a cookie sheet and place in the broiler to braise, about 7–10 minutes on each side, until the tops of the paddles begin to turn black. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. When sufficiently cooled, cut into small strips. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the tomatoes and the onion. Cut a Serrano chili into small pieces, removing the stem and seeds. Add to the salad along with the pine nuts, squash, and cilantro.
  3. Combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk well with a fork.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Refrigerate until serving. When serving, sprinkle with añejo cheese, then toss.

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