Taco Placero With Cactus Salad

This fresh taco recipe comes from City Tacos in San Diego, Calif.

Taco Placero
Photo: Gerry Torres
Hands On Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

Tacos placeros are large, plate-size tacos that can be wrapped in one or more tortillas. While they can be difficult to eat because of their size, tacos placeros can have a wide variety of fillings. In this recipe, the hefty taco includes cactus salad, crunchy pork rinds, queso fresco, and an avocado slice. The meal is garnished with papalo, which is an ancient South American herb that tastes like a combination of arugula and cilantro. You can find it at most Spanish markets. "This is a simple taco, prepared with cactus salad, crispy pork rinds, avocado, and salsa that City Tacos Executive Chef, Eduardo Baeza and his family enjoyed on game days for the PUMAS soccer club. The whole family traveled for hours in Mexico City to get to the games, but it was worth it,"shares Gerry Torres, founder of City Tacos in San Diego, Calif. "As they approached the stadium, the food aromas from the San Angel open air market filled the air, giving them that extra bit of energy knowing that they would refuel with a taco placero, as the market had become a mandatory pitstop in old school tailgating without a car. The funny thing is, the commute, soccer game, team, and open air market were secondary to their beloved taco, which brought about all the joyful memories."


  • 4 cactus leaves

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cubed

  • 5 ounces feta cheese, cubed

  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 ounce cilantro, chopped

  • 1 ½ ounces olive oil

  • Salt, to taste

  • Dried oregano, to taste

  • Juice of one lime

  • 1 corn tortilla

  • 2 ounces thin, crispy pork rinds

  • 2 ounces cactus salad

  • ¼ avocado, sliced

  • 1 ounce queso fresco (or young ricotta or mild feta cheese)

  • Papalo, for serving (or watercress)


  1. Make the cactus salad: Wash the cactus leaves thoroughly and remove any thorns. Cut the leaves into half-inch thick slivers and place them in a pot of salted water. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

  2. Once the cactus leaves are cooked, strain them and let them cool to room temperature. Set aside.

  3. Chop the tomatoes and feta into cubes, and slice the onion into thin slivers. Place in a bowl.

  4. Add the cactus leaves and season everything with cilantro, olive oil, salt, oregano, and lime juice. Stir to combine and set aside.

  5. Assemble the taco: Use a warm corn tortilla as a base and add pork rinds, cactus salad, and avocado. Top with queso fresco and papalo, and serve with pickled jalapeños or a fresh salsa of your choice.

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