Grilled Cactus Salsa Cheese Burgers

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

With strawberry and melon essences, this American original is perfectly at home with however you like to unwind.

Well yesterday there were jars of cactus on clearance for an awesome price. That is when the light bulb above my head went off. So I headed to the produce section to see what fruit was available that grows in the dessert. That is where I found the prickly pear. It actually grows on a cactus! I thought I’d be creating something that was never tried. I hope this is the case!


3 tbsp. Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/3 prickly pear innards shredded (found in produce section in grocery store)

1/3 cup Vidalia onion shredded

1/3 cup sweet bell pepper shredded

2 tbsp. fresh garlic cloves shredded

1 tsp. Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

2 cups tender cactus (strips) /nopalitas

1 ½ cups diced fresh ripe red tomato (most seeds removed and discarded)

187 ml. Sutter Home White Zinfandel (single serve mini bottle)

2 lbs. Angus Beef 85% lean ground

12 slices provolone cheese

6 bulkie rolls


1. Preheat the grill to high heat with lid closed.
2. Shred center of prickly pear, onion, pepper, garlic, Chipotle Pepper sauce and mix with cactus strips.
3. Put the olive oil and then cactus vegetable mix in an 8 in. (or comparable in size) cast iron frying pan and pour in wine. Place pan on grill when it reaches 400 degrees. Cook with grill lid closed for 15 minutes. Temperature will continue to rise. Stir occasionally throughout the cooking process.
4. Form six burger patties handling beef as little as possible. And after 15 minutes of the vegetables cooking put burgers on the grill and cook on high heat with grill lid open for 4 to 5 minutes. (4 for medium rare)
5. Flip burgers and put two slices of folded cheese on each. Folding prevents it from melting off the burger into the grill. Cook burgers 4 more minutes with grill lid up.
6. On the last minute of burgers cooking put halves of rolls on grill inside down to toast.
7. Remove rolls then burgers and place the burgers on a platter to rest 3 minutes.
8. Dump hot cactus in a stainless or ceramic oven proof dish and toss gently with the diced tomatoes.
9. Serve burgers on buns with 1/3 cup warm cactus salsa on each.