Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cactus Salad Anyone?

I always see cactus leaves at Mexican grocery stores and at the Farmers' Market, and have wondered how it tastes. Some of these are sold with their tiny spines and nubs still on; some have been removed, and some have been diced already. And there are some prepared salads sold in small plastic containers.

The cactus or nopales at a grocery store.

On my visit to the Farmers' Market 2 weeks ago, I asked the Hispanic woman, who always sells oriental vegetables, about preparing cactus. She explained to me on how it is prepared, but did not give me details or recipe.

Cactus with the spines and nubs removed.

I thought I would give it a try and bought from her a dollar's worth which was 3 pieces and took it home. I found a recipe in the internet, which was simple and easy to make.

As per the woman's instruction I diced the cactus (I used one for now) after washing it, and boiled it for 10 minutes. Then I drained it. I chopped a medium sized tomato, some onions, a Jalapeno pepper and mixed all of them with the boiled cactus. I had it for dinner along with some rice, fried fish, and...I forgot the other dish. ( senior moment.) It did not turn out the way I expected. It was blah...bland.

We have 2 Farmers' Market here: One on Sunday mornings at the college campus; and on Thursday afternoons at the Market Street on Old Town Newhall. I stopped by at the Market Street and found this Hispanic man selling some cactus. He told me that instead of boiling, he grills them. That way, he said, it doesn't lose the flavor and the food value of the vegetable. He makes sense.

Cactus salad

So that's what I did. Well, not exactly. Rather than fire-up my grill, I popped the 2 remaining cactus in my toaster-oven and broiled them. When done, I diced them. And this time, I chopped some cilantro (coriander), tossed it in with the chopped jalapeno pepper, tomatoes and onions; and I squeezed a bit of Mexican key lime. This time the cactus was crunchy, and the lime added flavor to it. It was uhm uhm good.


Pacey said...

Hhmmm...Am still imagining how it'd taste. Still can't get the idea of eating it. Hahahah...but anyway, maybe I'll have to try first before commenting.

Sandy said...

I would have never thought of eating cactus! And i have so much around on my property. Maybe I'll have to give it a try. I enjoyed the post, very informative and nice photos too!

Mari said...

I would try any vegetable, but not a creepy crawly thing I'm not familiar with. LOL

Mari said...

Yes, give it a try.

Nance said...

I always wonder how they'd taste myself, because like you, i see them at the grocery stores often. One of these days, I'll buy one and try it.
Your cactus salad looks good, i always like the combo of coriander and lime...with a little patis. hmmmm, can't wait to try it!

Photo Cache said...

We eat this in the restaurant as part of a dish, just a minor ingredient sometimes, not as the main ingredient.

I like it, it's different but it's also good.

ev said...

My first time to hear about cactus being edible by means of making it into salad. I wonder how it tastes Mari..but your picture looks great and yummy!:)

The gift of nature is simply telling us that in order to live and survive, it's all just a matter of innovation.hehe!

Mari said...

Go try it. It's good.

You know what funny? I saw my husband this morning eying my cactus plant in the backyard. LMAO.

Mari said...

Photo Cache,
I bet it's good as well.

Mari said...

They have other cactus dishes, too, like soup, salsa, burrito and etc.

Clementina aka "La Traductora" said...

I for one, adore cactus--just check out my Mexican food blog. Have you ever thought of sauteeing it? It retains it fresh green bean--asparagus with a hint of lemon--like flavor.

ghee said...

cactus salad?!?wow!ive never heard of that.but actually,i think its healthy.i wish mexico is just around the corner so i could buy a lot of cactus,too!(or maybe afraid of swine flu...)hehe

Raine said...

I cannot imagine eating a cactus! With all its thorns and spikes and all that.. It's really weird.. Haha. Anyway, happy eating!

Mari said...

I'm going to try that - sauteed nopales.

Thanks for the tip.

Mari said...

Yeah, it was good; crunchy, and of course, healthy.
If you're afraid of swine flu, come to Southern California, we have lots of cacti here as well.

Mari said...

The thorns and nubs are removed before cooking them. It's like eating fish. You remove the bones before eating them. He he he
Thanks for the visit.

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

as i see the pics, ang sarappppp
gusto ko lalo na green, koriander, my favo, too, kainin ko ito, directly, kahit wlang spices or anything.

masarap ba?....hindi ko ito narinig dito, or see,,,,yon lang juices, pero ewan hindi pa ako nakatikim.

good for the health daw....pero sa tingin ko sa juice, ewan......parang hindi ko ma-drink.

thanks for sharing, mari.

have a blisful weekend........

free si bernie for a week, Himmelfahrt, ewan ano ito sa english.....ascension?
holiday dito sa thursday.


Vk-mahalkaayo said...


baka yon asawa mo, think that you make-try salad of your cactus plant there in your garden....heheheheh


Vk-mahalkaayo said...

psst nakita ko ang cactus mo sa right side....yellow color pa...

siguro masarap yan----

na-imagine ko, ano kaya subukan ko ano?
hanap nga ng cactus dito, pero
meron si sascha, ang laki na...pwede na yon, para try lang?

kahit anong klase ng cactus ba ito?

kasi na imagine ko tomatoes,lemon juice and coriander.....masarap yan,
lalo na yon koriander, sa thailand.
sarap at bango.

cgi, bye .........sorry sa comment ko.

Ebie said...

I am not bold to try this dish. We had this at Gribaldi Restaurant in downtown LA, my office mates were raving about it. And I passed. Maybe time will come...

Mari said...

Close your eyes and say aaahhh! LOL

Yeah, maybe someday you can try a tiny bit of it. Then you'll gobble up the whole bowl. LOL

Mari said...

Masarap siya. Malutong. Subukan ko ang ibang luto. Sabi nung isang nag-comment puwede raw igisa. Puwede pa rin daw gawing parang French fries, at ihalo pa sa ibang gulay.

Kung subukan mo, yung mura pa lang na cactus. Saka hindi lahat ng klaseng cactus...yung malalapad lang yata. Marami ditong mabili niyan, ewan kung puwede itong tanim ko. Ha ha ha

Sige salamat sa comment mo.

bing said...

wonder how it would taste. am a lover of veggies, too, but i do not know if i'll like it. the texture of the cactus gives me that 'not edible' look. he he

Mari said...

You can always spit it out if you don't like it. LOL

Thanks for the visit.

goldensparks said...

Hi Friend.. Interesting Post.. Keep up the good work.. Will drop by your blog often.. Do find time to visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care.. Cheers mate!

goldensparks said...

Hi Friend.. Interesting post.. Keep up the good work.. Will drop by your blog often.. Do find time to visit my blog.. Keep in touch.. Take care.. Cheers mate!

Dennis Villegas said...

I didn't even know cactus are edible to humans!
But from your write-up then I realize it is indeed, and must be delicious, too!
Thanks for sharing Mari!

Anonymous said...

vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper would make it taste like our cucumber salad. a friend tried it one time.
yummy with fried fish...

passing by my friend,

Joy said...

That sounds delightful. Must try succulents. But when you said fried fish, I started imagining fried tilapia and steaming rice.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Come back tomorrow for the last photo in the Keukenhof series!

A Pinay In EnglandYour Love CoachI, Woman

Sidney said... seems to be very healthy !

Mari said...

Will hop to your blog soon.
Thanks for the visit.

Now you know. LOL
Thanks for the drop.

What a surprise!
I should try that one...vinegar and etc.
Thanks for the surprise visit.

Yup, steamed rice and fried pompano with the salad. Great combo.
Thanks for dropping by.

It is.
Thanks for the visit.

dodong flores said...

Didn't know that cactus can be eaten. We used to have cactus back home (in the province) and it is exactly the same cactus I'm seeing here in your photos. I should have eaten those long time ago had I know it is a delectable vegetable :)

ann said...

Daming cactus dito pero di ko yan alam....can't imagine na pwede pala yang salad.

Hi! I'm Grace said...

Cactus salad? I never heard of this before, but I would be willing to try. :)

Mari said...

dodong, ann, and grace,

Try it. Go to Clementina's (commenter above) blog and follow her recipe.

Thanks all for the visit.

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

i told bernie about this recipe,...and to kim n sascha.........sabi lang, subukan mo, pero ikaw lang sigurong

sabi pa ni kim, subukan mo yon cactus ni sascha, mama. baka masarap......

nag-jokes cla sa akin.

pero hindi ko nakita or know dito itong recipe na ito.

nakita ko lang yon juices mixed in joghurt.....

thanks ha.......

tingnan ko sa vege-rest. or nature foods....baka meron ito.

sabi ni nini, lagyan ng venigar, salt, pepper parang cucumber salad?

sarap siguro ito.....pero wala akong nakitang cactus for sale-kakain ba.

thanks again........