Grilled Cactus Leaves Nopales Garlic Shrimp Salad

Contributed by: Chef Marco Zapien

Grilled Cactus Leaves Nopales Garlic Shrimp Salad

Recipe type: Yield: 1 salad Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

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Grilled Cactus Leaves and Garlic Shrimp Salad
1 pound Shrimp 16-20’s (peeled shelled and deveined)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Chopped Garlic
4 each Cactus Leaves (Nopales)
8 leaves Butter Lettuce (1 to 2 heads – You will need 8 nice leaves)
4 each Cactus Pears diced
1/2 cups Pine Nuts toasted
1/4 cup Organic Cilantro chopped
1/2 cup Queso Fresco to be used in plating
Salt and Pepper to taste

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

1/2 cup California Blood Oranges juice
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Chopped Garlic
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 cups Salad Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Preparation for Cactus Leaves and Shrimp Salad Toss the shrimp with the garlic, half of the olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
  3. Heat a sauté pan and cook shrimp until just firm.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Trim cactus leaves around the outside edge and crape the thorns from both sides with a potato peeler. (Melissa’s are virtually thorn-less).
  6. Rinse under cold water to remove any excess “gooey stuff” (obviously a restaurant term).
  7. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side, remove from heat and let cool.
  9. Cut into julienne pieces and rinse again to remove the remaining “gooey stuff”.
  10. Toss the shrimp, cactus, prickly pears, pine nuts, and cilantro together and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  11. Preparation for Blood Orange Vinaigrette
  12. In a blender, blend all ingredients except the salad oil.
  13. Slowly drizzle in the salad oil to emulsify.
  14. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  15. Plating Instructions Arrange the lettuce cups on the salad plate and fill with the cactus and shrimp mixture.
  16. Crumble the queso fresco over each salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

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