Did I mention that we have the bestest neighbors? If the Awesomest neighbor fixes our food processors and washes our car, the other neighbor feeds us. This guy is pretty cool even though he has guns. He makes the best nopales salad I have ever eaten! It is heavenly! I guess it reminds me of the Russian vinegret, though the pickles are replaced with cactus, that has a somewhat salty-sour flavor; black beans are used instead of potatoes and carrots, and Mexican cheese is added for a more delicate flavor – all in all a healthier, more nutritious version.
Our first attempt at making nopales ended up in a complete disaster as we bought unprepared cactus leaves at the farmers market. Unless you enjoy tedious tasks similar to fish filleting combined with hedgehog petting you will not appreciate dealing with these guys!
Apparently, they sell dethorned and chopped nopales at Mexican grocery stores – easy, breezy, …easy!
My neighbor encourages to use your own imagination when coming up with ingredients and dressings (in fact I had 3 different versions of his salad and made a couple of different versions myself ). So, turn your creative side on and enjoy!Apparently, they sell dethorned and chopped nopales at Mexican grocery stores – easy, breezy, …easy!
- 1 cup of black beans, soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours
- 1 large beet
- 1,5 cups of chopped and de-thorned nopales
- 1 medium onion, peeled, and chopped
- 4 oz of queso fresco (Mexican cheese, could be substituted with feta), chopped or crumbled
- ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 4-5 radishes, chopped
- 1 chili pepper, diced
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and drain the beans, place them into a soup pot, cover with water (about 2 inches of water over the beans), and boil for about 45 minutes until soft. Drain and chill.
Peel the beet and slice it into ¼ inch-thick disks, steam for 10-15 minutes until tender. Let chill for about 10 minutes, and chop the disks into cubes.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil, add a little salt. Dump chopped nopales into the water, and boil for about 10 minutes. Drain and wash under cold water to remove all the goo.
Make the dressing: whisk olive oil and vinegar together, add salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all the salad ingredients and add toss them with the dressing.
Serve by itself or with chips or tortillas.