Cactus Salsa

The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!

Heat Scale
Submit Recipe


2-4 cactus pads (about 2 cups diced)
8 tomatillos (plum sized)
2 poblanos
2 jalapenos
1-2 serranos
1/2 white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp comino
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
Handful of chopped cilantro, if serving fresh (do not add cilantro if you choose to can salsa)


Lets start with the tomatillos. Bring a pot of water to boil, meanwhile remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them to remove the sticky residue. Toss them in the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, until they change color and begin to soften. Be sure to remove them before they burst and save the pot of water, you’ll use it to cook the cactus.

While you are watching your tomatillos you can prepare all the remaining veggies on a comal (or cast iron skillet). Place them on a hot dry comal and turn occasionally, making sure all sides are blackened.

Once they are done place the poblanos in a paper bag for a few minutes, then remove the skin (leave the skin on the other peppers). Remove the stems and seeds from all the peppers (leave in the seeds to add more heat if you like) and place them all in a food processor with the tomatillos.

To prepare the nopales, take each pad and run it across an open flame to burn off the needles. Then remove the nubs with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. Chop and place in boiling water for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water and put in food processor with other ingredients.

Run the food processor to achieve desired consistency. Pour off into a pan and add lime juice, vinegar, and seasonings. Stir and bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes.

At this point you can ladle the salsa into 4 half pint jars (see Canning Basics) and process for 10 minutes. Or if you’d like enjoy the salsa now, top with a handful of chopped cilantro and serve with warm tortilla chips.

*I used one green and one red jalapeno for color. I actually saved the red jalapeno and put it in the food processor at the last minute to get bigger chunks throughout.