Nopal and Jicama Salad

The perfect cross between neighborhood eatery and high-class concept dining, SpiritLand Bistro never gets dull. In addition to their regular menu, weekly specials each follow a theme. Drawing inspiration from traditions as diverse as Fiji, Denmark, and the Mediterranean, chef and co-owner Joel Koch creates an exciting new tasting menu each week. That on its own would be enough to draw raves, but making it extra spectacular is the restaurant’s commitment to organic, sustainable ingredients and catering to every dietary need, from vegetarian to vegan to gluten-free.

This week, in celebration of Mexican Independence, the specials include pacific cod poblano with roasted chayote, almond, and guava flan; and this fresh salad of nopal cactus and jicama. Co-owner Gary Grenus of course recommends you use all-organic ingredients: “The Farmers Markets and Mesa Produce are a couple of great places to pick up organic produce.”

Nopal Cactus & Jicama Salad (serves 6) 1 T. vegetable oil 2 paddles of nopal cactus, cut into julienne strips* ¼ c. lime juice ¼ c. red wine vinegar 1½ c. olive oil Salt & pepper to taste 3 c. jicama, peeled and shredded ¼ head purple cabbage, thinly shredded ½ bunch watercress tops 1 lb. baby greens 3 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into strips Heat oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the cactus and sauté for a few minutes, until tender. Refrigerate until chilled. In a bowl, combine lime juice and vinegar. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place baby greens in a large bowl and add a portion of vinaigrette to taste. Toss and place on salad plates. In the same bowl, mix cactus, jicama, cabbage, and watercress with remaining vinaigrette. Arrange on top of the baby greens. Garnish with tomato and avocado. * To handle the nopales, Grenus suggests wearing a pair of heavy rubber gloves. Lay the cactus paddles flat on a cutting board and slice the needles off with a paring knife before cutting into strips.

4·1·1  SpiritLand Bistro, 230 E. Victoria St., 966-7759,

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