How to Eat Dragon Fruit and 8 Recipes

Are you ready to try dragon fruit?

Dragon fruit recipes are popping up all over social media as more and more people discover the healthy and flavorful benefits of eating dragon fruit! If you are wondering just how to eat dragon fruit, we’ve got the answers for you below. And rest assured, we’ve pulled together eight amazing dragon fruit recipes that highlight this exotic fruit’s stunning color, taste, and texture.

What Is Dragon Fruit?

Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit that goes by many names, including cactus fruit, dragon pearl fruit, pitaya, and others. This delicious fruit is part of the cactus family and is often oval or pear-shaped with a spiky, but not sharp, exterior. The interior of the dragon fruit can be white with little seeds or a vibrant red or fuschia color.

Looks only go so far. What does dragon fruit taste like? The flavor is a combination of sweet and tart that some people describe as similar to the taste of kiwi fruit. Today, dragon fruit is cultivated in the Caribbean, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hawaii, and South Florida.

Dragon Fruit Nutrients

Dragon fruit is high in vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and fiber, and low in calories. And, this tropical fruit is an excellent source of energy-enhancing B vitamins, fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and lycopene.

Dragon fruit’s nutrient makeup is impressive. Each 100-gram serving includes:

  • Protein: 1.1 grams 2.1% DV
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 11.0 grams 3.4% DV
  • Fiber: 3 grams 12% DV
  • Vitamin C: 20.5 milligrams 34.2% DV
  • Riboflavin: 0.05 milligrams 2.9% DV
  • Thiamine: 0.04 milligrams 2.7 DV
  • Niacin: 0.16 milligrams 0.8% DV
  • Iron: 1.9 milligrams 10.6% DV
  • Phosphorus: 22.5 milligrams 2.3% DV
  • Calcium: 8.5 milligrams 0.9% DV

Dragon Fruit Health Benefits

One of the top questions asked—“is dragon fruit good for weight loss”—doesn’t give us an affirmative answer supported by science, but recent research shows dragon fruit may help prevent type 2 diabetes. In a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of dragon fruit, researchers found that greater blood glucose reduction occurred in those who consumed more dragon fruit. This was a preliminary study and further research is required.

Other potential health benefits of dragon fruit include:

  • Boosting the immune system due to the high concentration of vitamin C and other flavonoids.
  • Aiding digestion thanks to dragon fruit’s high fiber and oligosaccharide content.
  • Decreasing oxidative stress, arterial stiffness, and cholesterol levels.
  • Preventing certain types of cancer courtesy of a high concentration of lycopene.

Are you ready to try dragon fruit?

How to Eat Dragon Fruit

Fresh dragon fruit is available in many grocery stores. But because dragon fruit is still a relative newcomer to the United States, this exotic fruit may be picked too early or left on the shelf past its prime. To select fresh dragon fruit, carefully examine brightly colored fruits for bruises and spots and then check the firmness of the fruit. Dragon fruit is ready to eat when it is just barely soft to the touch like a perfectly ripe avocado.

If you are curious about how to cut dragon fruit, here is our favorite way to harvest the delicious interior.

  1. First, lay the dragon fruit on its side and slice it in half, lengthwise from stem to blossom end.
  2. After slicing, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, starting at the blossom end.
  3. If your dragon fruit is ripe, you should be able to scoop out the entire half of the fruit to make it easy to dice or chop for your favorite recipe.

Dragon fruit is available year round in the freezer section of most grocery stores. You can find cubed or pureed dragon fruit that is easy to drop into smoothies, salsas, or other delicious recipes. Don’t worry about eating frozen fruits and berries—in some cases because frozen dragon fruit is left on the vine longer it actually has more nutrients than fresh fruits picked before their prime to ensure they survive transit and handling to the market.

And the last option for dragon fruit is dragon fruit powder. Dragon fruit powder is a shocking pink color that is loaded with all the nutrients mentioned above. This superfood powder doesn’t need to be refrigerated and easily mixes into smoothies. It can also be used in sweet treats as you will see below!

8 Dragon Fruit Recipes

Have we convinced you to try dragon fruit? Here are some of our favorite recipes using fresh, frozen, or powdered dragon fruit.

1. Beet Dragon Smoothie

Beets and dragon fruit are a marriage made in heaven, and this superfood smoothie partners beets and dragon fruit with frozen banana and strawberries, bee pollen, and almond milk. This recipe is bursting with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamin C, and fiber. It tastes…mythic!

2. Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls are a delicious and beautiful way to enjoy the health benefits of a smoothie in a “thicker” fashion. If traditionally blended smoothies leave you less than satisfied, smoothie bowls are a great option—the toppings make all the difference! The act of chewing and savoring bite after bite and the added fiber and flavor will help to keep you satiated longer.

In addition to the frozen dragon fruit, this smoothie bowl bumps up the nutrients with coconut milk, kiwichia seeds, coconut flakes, goji berries, and bee pollen. This dragon fruit smoothie bowl is loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants to boost your immune system and fight free radicals.

3. Coconut Pineapple & Pitaya Pancakes

If you want to delight your family with a vibrant and delicious weekend breakfast, this recipe from Live Fit is the one to try! The pancakes are made with high-protein pancake mix and coconut flour, but the real star here is the dragon fruit “syrup” sweetened with pineapple juice and real maple syrup. The pancakes are then topped with shredded coconut, kiwi, and raspberries for a pancake breakfast rich in nutrients, fiber, and protein.

4. Dragon Fruit Salsa

For your next Taco Tuesday perk things up and try this striking salsa from Mama Likes to Cook. Dragon fruit replaces the tomato in a traditional salsa, but the rest of the ingredients remain the same. This recipe doesn’t include chiles, but you could easily add a jalapeño to spice things up and create a sweet-hot-salty combo to love.

5. No-Bake Pink Pitaya Cups

Dragon fruit is an excellent ingredient for a sweet treat, and this recipe from Pitaya Plus highlights this tropical fruit’s flavor and color perfectly. The base of the cup is almond meal and dates, giving it a satisfying chew, while the topping is creamy and almost cheesecake-like. The secret is the soaked and blended cashews, dragon fruit, and coconut oil that combine into a lovely hue and decadent taste.

6. Vegan Pink Dragon Fruit Layer Cake

If you have tried vegan and gluten-free cake recipes before that have fallen flat in the flavor and texture department, this recipe from Rainbow Nourishments is a game changer. This dragon fruit cake is nearly too beautiful to eat and tastes even better than it looks.

Feel good about serving this delectable layer cake to your family. It’s loaded with fiber, healthy fats, protein, and phytonutrients. Dragon fruit powder is used here for flavor and color, accompanying other healthy ingredients like cashews, raspberries, chia seeds, buckwheat, and beetroot juice.

7. 4 Ingredient Dragon Fruit Sorbet

Sorbet is vegan, fat-free, and an icy cold treat. The Spruce Eats have created a dragon fruit sorbet with just four ingredients: ripe dragon fruit, water, lemon juice, and sugar. If your dragon fruits are sweet and juicy, this becomes a two-ingredient sorbet recipe that can be made in an ice cream maker, or just by freezing the mixture in a shallow pan. Try this—you will love the flavor and the texture.

8. Vegan Pitaya Raspberry Cacao Popsicles

Do you have popsicle molds in the back of your pantry? If you do, you must try this inspired (and healthy!) popsicle from One Green Planet. This recipe is bursting with antioxidants from dragon fruit, raspberries, baobab, and cacao powder. It’s seriously one of the quickest and healthiest sweet treats you can whip up. Fruit and almond milk are blended together and frozen, and then the popsicles are dipped into a mixture of cacao, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Yum!

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