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How to Cook with Dragon Fruit

Sharon Palmer

Get to know dragon fruit! Those exotic, fuchsia tentacles and horns inspire the name “dragon fruit,” which is also known as pitaya. What’s really cool about this fruit, which is grown in the Caribbean and parts of Asia, is that it also grows in California—my home state! In fact, I have a young plant growing in my garden. I’ll keep you posted on that. This exotic fruit is actually in the cactus family. It comes in either bright magenta or white flesh with small, dark, edible seeds. 

I especially love red dragon fruit, for its stunning color!

Thankfully, this gorgeous, nutritious fruit is becoming more mainstream. It’s a powerhouse of vitamin C, as well as phytochemicals which lend it’s bright colors. So what do you do with dragon fruit? You simply slice it in half and scoop out the soft, juicy flesh. You can slice it into salads, desserts, or smoothies, too. Check out my 3 favorite ways on how to cook with dragon fruit.

3 Ways to Use Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

If you’ve ever seen a dragonfruit in the supermarket and wondered what to do with it, here is one of my favorite ideas. Just scoop that gorgeous, sweet fruit out of it’s exotic, “dragonlike” skin, dump it into a blender, and whizz it all up to make a delicious, colorful, nutrient-rich smoothie. I used red dragonfruit for this smoothie to color it a deep fuchsia shade, however you can use white dragonfruit (the flesh is white), too.

1 red dragon fruit, peeled, sliced (may use white dragon fruit too)
1 banana
1 cup soy milk, unsweetened, plain (may substitute with another plant-based milk)
2 tablespoons flax seeds

1. Add all ingredients to a small blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings

Steel Cut Oats with Dragon Fruit and Hemp Seeds

Dragon fruit will give your boring bowl of oatmeal a bright kick! 

1 cup cooked steel cut oats
½ cup chopped dragon fruit
2 teaspoon hemp seeds
½ cup plant-based milk

1. Prepare steel cut oats according to package directions.
2. Top with chopped dragon fruit, hemp seeds, and plant-based milk.

Makes 1 serving

Ruby Dragon Fruit Salad

This vibrant red salad is a feast for the mind, body, and soul. 

2 cups baby red greens (i.e., baby red kale, red chard, red spinach)
½ red dragon fruit, peeled, sliced
2 tablespoons red walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper

1. Toss together red greens, dragon fruit, walnuts, and cranberries in a small salad bowl.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.
3. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper

Makes 1 large serving or 2 small servings

For other guides on how to cook with plant foods, check out the following:

How to Cook with Stinging Nettles
How to Make Homemade Seitan
How to Cook with Fresh Cranberries

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