Cactus and Kale Salad


Chef Ruiz says that while this recipe could serve 12 as a side dish, once you taste it, you may want to eat the whole thing!

2 pounds cactus (nopales) cut into small strips (about 3-by-0.5 inches)
4 ripe tomatoes, cut into small wedges
½ small red onion, julienned
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 bunches kale, chopped in bite-sized pieces
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
½ cup olive oil

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat and sauté garlic slices until browned. Set garlic aside, and let the oil cool completely.

Once the oil is cooled, combine with Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce) and lemon juice in a blender. Cover and blend on low speed. While on low speed, slowly pour in oil and blend for another 10 seconds. Pour dressing into a jar and add the julienned onions. The dressing is great on tostadas, tacos, served by itself or along with just about any other dish.

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the cactus and again bring to a boil (about 5 minutes). Strain the cactus from the pot and set aside to cool.

Place the cactus in a serving bowl that is large enough for the remaining ingredients. Add the dressing to the cactus and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, making sure to mix the cactus and dressing once an hour. Note: For the best result, make the dressing first and marinate the boiled cactus in it for 24 hours.

Add the remaining ingredients, bring to room temperature and serve.

David Kennedy