Nopales Summer Salad

A beloved ingredient in Mexican cooking, nopal cactus can be enjoyed both cooked and raw. Here, we cook it and toss it with tomatoes and corn for an impressive summer salad that doesn't break the bank.

Nopales Summer Salad
Photo: Ali Redmond
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 4 medium nopales (fresh cactus leaves)

  • 1 large tomato, diced

  • ¾ cup fresh corn kernels

  • cup crumbled queso fresco

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Holding nopales by the bottom, gently scrape off thorns, brown spots and ends using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. (To protect your fingers from thorns, wear thick gloves or use a cloth.) Rinse the nopales under cold water. Cut them into long narrow strips, then cut crosswise, making 1/2-inch squares.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the nopales; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and olive green, about 5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

  3. Combine the nopales, tomato, corn, queso fresco, jalapeño, cilantro, oil, lime juice and salt in a large salad bowl and toss to coat. Top with more cilantro, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

108 Calories
6g Fat
11g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 108
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 5g 10%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Vitamin A 961IU 19%
Vitamin C 20mg 22%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 25mcg 6%
Vitamin K 10mcg 8%
Sodium 196mg 9%
Calcium 198mg 15%
Iron 1mg 6%
Magnesium 62mg 15%
Potassium 432mg 9%
Zinc 1mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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