Nopales are cactus pads found in Mexican cuisine. This cactus recipe comes to us in the form of salsa atop a mound of cheese-coated chips. Preserved nopales, tomato, onion, and cilantro create a salsa that’s bright, fresh, and acidic. A super unique salsa for a party.
Cactus Salsa Taste & Uses
Make Your Own Cactus Salsa
Where to buy Preserved Cactus:
- Adriana’s Best Recipes is the closest I could find to what this vendor made. He didn’t use any cumin or jalapeno, but it wouldn’t hurt if you do!
- Briny & acidic. The first words I used to describe this salsa was pickle-y. Not as intense since the sharpness of the onion, tomato, and lime balanced it out. When paired with cheese and meat, it cuts the richness. But used as a shovel for chips or topped on a mound of white rice, this cactus salsa adds wonderful flavor.
- More green. If you’re serving this at a party, garnish it with fresh cilantro for a more finished look. The preserved cactus is a dull, olive green color. Adding cilantro, jalapeno, and tomatoes will hide the lame color. I’ve seen some recipes stir in diced avocado. Try to make and eat it the same day for optimal color vibrancy!
- Make a meal. Whatever your go-to Mexican dish is, top it with this salsa. Even better, throw out the storebought stuff and use this instead.
Nachos with Cactus Salsa
SERVES: 4⎪ DIFFICULTY: Easy⎪ FUNK: Moderate
Mise en Place
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup whole milk
3 ounces (about ¾ cup) shredded cheddar
Chili powder, to taste
Salt, to taste
- Tortilla Chips
- Cactus Salsa
COOKS NOTE if making your own salsa, you can buy fresh or canned cactus at Latin American and Mexican markets.
1. MAKE THE CHEESE SAUCE
Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk frequently, for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and turn the heat up to medium-high. Whisk until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and chili powder to taste. If too, thick add some more milk.
2. ASSEMBLE THE NACHOS
Arrange the nachos on a serving plate. Pour over the cheese sauce and top with cactus salsa (and any other nacho toppings you like). Serve immediately. There will be no leftovers 😉
Prickly Pear Salsa: I’ll make my own recipe at some point, but for now here’s a jar you can buy!
Vegan Variation: This vegan nachos recipe has an awesome dairy-free cheese sauce.
Did you make Nachos with Cactus Salsa? Let me know how it turned out and leave a comment below!