Fire Up the Grill! Nopalitos Salad with Grilled Shrimp

The grill is hot, but you’ve already made burgers and hotdogs every which way. Time to dazzle the family with something different. Here, Lucero Martinez, chef de cuisine at Pampano, a coastal Mexican seafood restaurant in New York, shares her recipe for one of her favorite summer dishes. 



1 jar of nopalitos (available at any Hispanic grocery store)

1 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in fourths

12 oz of queso fresco, ¼ cubes (available at any Hispanic grocery store)

½ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

3 lemons (the juice)

1/3 cup of olive oil

1 tsp of sugar

½ teaspoon of dried oregano

salt to taste

16 shrimp (16/20 size)

1 avocado in slices 


Drain the nopalitos, place them in a bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro and queso fresco.  In a bowl whisk the lemon juice with the sugar until dissolved, add the extra virgin olive oil, oregano and salt. Mix the two together.

Grill the shrimp your favorite way.



1 cup of balsamic vinegar

8 oz of piloncillo or panela , “the Latin brown sugar” (available at the Hispanic grocery store)

1 cup of water

1 cup of olive oil

1 tsp sou sauce

1 tsp of chipotle in adobo (can available at any Hispanic grocery store)

1 tsp sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan add the water and let it boil, add the piloncillo or panela until it dissolves and reduces to ¼. Let it cool.  In a blender add all your ingredients of the piloncillo reduction except the oils. Start blending and add the oils little by little to emulsify the dressing


Split the cactus salad into four dishes or bowls, add the grilled shrimp around and drizzle with the balsamic piloncillo reduction, garnish with slices of avocado.





Prep Time:

Under 1 hour

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About this author

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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