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Nopalitos Salad with Pickled Chipotle

4 Servings
Ensalada de Nopalitos con Chipotle en Escabeche


  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, slivered
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried chipotle peppers
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1/2 pound zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 1/2 pound cactus paddles, cleaned and cut into sticks (1 1/2” to 2” long by 1/2” wide)

To Prepare

  • Heat the oil in a large extended casserole over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, garlic and dried chipotles, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften. Add the oregano and salt, and stir. Raise heat to high, add the vinegar, and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Turn off heat and set aside to cool. (You can make this chipotle pickle ahead of time and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.)
  • Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan and take turns cooking the vegetables. First cook the carrots for 2 minutes, remove with a large spider or slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Then cook the zucchini for 30 to 40 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the carrots. Lastly, add the nopales and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water, for at least one minute, until all viscous liquid is removed.
  • Incorporate the carrots, zucchini and nopales into the prepared chipotle pickle, toss well and scrape into a bowl or container. Let it sit and marinate for at least an hour before serving. You can also cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Mix well before eating.