Marinated Cactus Salad

Marinated Cactus Salad

Marinated Cactus Salad!

Admit it. You read the title of this post and thought, “Well, it’s finally happened. She’s gone completely nuts.”

That’s okay. I was skeptical at first but then I quickly became something of a Cactus Salad addict.

This is so good (and easy) that we’re going to need to form a support group.

I know you’re still thinking CACTUS???

Step #1 – go out into the yard with a machete…

No, not this cactus…

Image 3

THIS cactus!

I suppose there are people much smarter than me who know how to dispatch, cook, and brine their own cactus but since this comes in a can all ready to go, let’s just go with it.


Cactus in light brine is little strips of cactus (all the work happily done for you) marinated and seasoned with peppers and onions.

The cactus strips are very similar in texture to a green bean.

Think of this as zesty bean salad for the adventurous!

Here’s what you need:


Cactus, Red Onion, Tomato, Lime, Avocado, Queso Fresco, Olive Oil, and Pepper.

Click here for a Marinated Cactus Salad Shopping List

If your grocery store has a good Latin section, you can probably find cactus there. I had no problem finding it at Cub & Rainbow (along with a fabulous selection of devotional candles) when I was in Minneapolis this summer. Back in Florida, I found it at the Latin Supermarket fairly close to our house.

Non-Spanish speaking redhead with freckles buying cactus gets some looks at the checkout line. And yes, I gave the checkout lady the recipe.

When you open the can (or jar, depending on the variety of cactus) you will see the cactus, peppers, and onions all floating in the brine. Since this is quite salty, drain and rinse the cactus in a strainer under cool water.


Place the drained cactus in a large bowl. Go ahead and try a strip so you can see that I’m not crazy. It’s good!


The peppers are too hot for me so I discarded them. If you are tougher than I am, you can include them in the salad but I would suggest trying them on the side first.


Finely chop 1/4 of a red onion and add it to the bowl.


Dice up 1 tomato and add it as well. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime.


Add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, season to taste with freshly ground pepper,

and stir to combine.


If you are making this in advance, stop here and refrigerate the salad until you are ready to eat.

Just before serving, dice one ripe avocado and add it to the salad. The avocado adds a nice creamy texture to the cactus strips.


Crumble up about 1/3 cup of Queso Fresco or Mexican crumbling cheese. It has a very mild flavor but you could also substitute Feta cheese.

Stir to combine, serve it up, and prepare to be amazed!

Marinated Cactus Salad

This recipe came from my friend Nancy in Minneapolis who was kind enough to host me for 2 weeks during the opera this summer. Not only did she agree to have a crazy flutist living at her house, but she also introduced me to the joys of cactus salad. Most importantly, she let me hang out with this awesome little guy.

ImageImage 2

Meet Hugo! Every morning, that is the face I would see at the top of the stairs waiting for me to get up and go for a walk.

He’s awesome.

So is cactus salad! Give it a try!

Here’s the recipe: Adapted from Nancy Jamieson (who got it from a friend who’s name I have forgotten)

 Marinated Cactus Salad

I’m making it again this week to go with Carnitas!

Share This


11 Responses

  1. if you marinated shoe leather I will try it.
    I love just about anything marinated.
    I would be very tempted to give this a go.

    That face is adorable!

    1. Knowing that you like spicy and relishy things, I’m predicting that you would like cactus salad. Is there some sort of vegan cheese like feta? Otherwise, you could skip the cheese. It’s sort of just a bonus.

  2. Wow, does that look good!!! I’ll make it and leave the peppers in, the hotter the better and I might just add a tad of vinegar on top of it!
    Your post is too funny with the backyard cacti that need to be chopped with a machete! Next time I head to the Latino Market, I’ll definitely buy the cactus in brine along with my devotional candle!

  3. Here’s the kind of big fun we have around here… I made this for dinner later tonight (to go with taco-truck tacos) and I’m going to make the family guess what it is. haha! It’s the little things.

      1. The kids guessed green beans, my husband said “some sort of rind.” They were pretty astonished. My son took it to school the next day just so he could tell everyone around him that he was eating cactus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More MMMeals

Related Posts

Cranberry Port Sauce

Hi Friends! How is it possible that Thanksgiving is in 3 days? What happened to October? So, we’re getting in right under the wire with

Hatch Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Hatch Chile Season has come and almost gone so I thought I’d better get back to Idiot’s Kitchen to evangelize about these awesome, seasonal peppers.

Remembering Cody

Dear Friends, I hope you will permit me a moment of remembrance for a dear friend to me and to Idiot’s Kitchen. My friend Cody