La Vida Loca …which is spanish for grilled cactus salad

The crazy life…we all live it. Some of us find ways to embrace it…like I did tonight by making grilled cactus salad at 11pm. It all started yesterday when I found myself at Vallarta Supermarket in Mission Hills…the Mecca of Mexican grocery stores. Among the beef lips, horchata and piles of freshly pressed tortillas I found large and fleshy cactus pieces. My friend suggested grilling them and serving them in a salad…I thought hmm…that would be really nice with fruit, so I grabbed every reasonably priced and colorful fruit I could find (which was everything because their prices are so good) and started envisioning a brightly colored and fresh tasting bouquet of produce to compliment the enigmatic taste of the cactus. This salad is about bright colors and bright flavors and would be perfect as a side at a BBQ this summer (ohh haha I tend to forget it’s January in sunny LA) or right now.

La Vida Loca Grilled Cactus Salad

Serves 6 as a side

You will need:

3 cactus leaves (de-prickled and cleaned)

1 kiwi

1 white nectarine

1/2 avocado

2 large green onions or three small ones

1 ear of sweet corn

5 large radishes

2 Tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

1 Tbs lemon juice

Special equipment: grill or grill pan


1. Boil water in a large four quart pot and place corn in boiling water for fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tops and bottoms off radishes and cover them with water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil (about 5 minutes) and then remove from heat. Notice the beautiful purple color of the water as the radishes lost their dark pink tint. Remove the radishes and allow them to cool before dicing and set aside. Remove the corn from the water and allow it to cool before using a knife to separate the kernels, set aside.

2. Dice into 1/2 cubes the nectarine and kiwi and set aside.

3. Heat up your grill or grill pan. Prepare the cactus and green onions for the grill by brushing with olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Grill the green onions for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill the cactus leaves for about 4 minutes on each side or untill the bright green color has faded and the leaf becomes almost sticky.

4. Allow the onions and cactus to cool before dicing. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “La Vida Loca …which is spanish for grilled cactus salad

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