This 5-ingredient dragon fruit smoothie is vibrant pink in color and packs over 20 grams of protein. It’s creamy, healthy, and makes for the perfect quick and easy breakfast or post-workout snack.
If you’ve never had dragon fruit before, here’s your cue because this dragon fruit smoothie (aka pitaya smoothie) is so good!
This smoothie is not only delicious, but it’s super easy to make with just 5 simple ingredients. It’s also packed with tons of nutrients thanks to the dragon fruit and packs over 20 grams of protein, making it a great shake option for an on-the-go breakfast or post-workout snack.
What is dragon fruit?
Pitahaya is a tropical fruit native to southern Mexico and Central America. It is also known as pitaya, pitahaya and strawberry pear. It has a unique flavor that reminds me of a melon or kiwi.
The exterior of the fruit is a vibrant pink with light green (hence the name dragon). The interior of the fruit is typically a white flesh with black seeds, but other times it will be a vibrant pink flesh. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Sometimes I can find fresh dragon fruit in the supermarket depending on the time of year, but I usually buy frozen dragon fruit, especially for smoothies.
Dragon fruit health benefits
As a nutritional powerhouse, dragon fruit is low in calories but rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some impressive health benefits of dragon fruit (source):
- High in fiber, which can contribute to feelings of fullness and help regulate blood sugar levels.
- High in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It also supplies beneficial plant compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids, and betacyanins.
- Packed with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage.
- Contains prebiotics, which helps promote good bacteria in the gut.
- It has immunostimulating properties thanks to its high content of vitamin C and carotenoids.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- almond milk – the liquid base for this smoothie. I like to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk for added flavor, but you can substitute any other plant-based milk. My second choice would be oat milk, which adds some creaminess, but you can use your favorite non-dairy type of milk. If you don’t want to use milk you can also use water, coconut water or orange juice as a liquid base for this smoothie.
- dragon fruit – I used Pitaya Foods frozen dragon fruit cubes for this smoothie, which can usually be found in the frozen section of grocery stores. If you can’t find the cubes, you can use the frozen shake packs.
- banana – frozen banana adds creaminess and natural sweetness. You can follow my guide on how to freeze bananas for smoothies. If you’re not a fan of bananas, check out some ideas for substitutions below.
- vanilla protein powder – the main source of protein. I personally love Nuzest protein powder. It’s vegan, has minimal ingredients, and tastes delicious. (Use code eatbirdfood for 15% off your order.) With that being said, feel free to use your favorite brand of protein powder.
- almond butter – adds a dose of healthy fats and a subtle nutty flavor. Feel free to swap it out with another nut or seed butter of your choice.
How to do
This dragon fruit smoothie recipe doesn’t get much easier!
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust consistency as needed, adding ice for a thicker shake or thinner for a thinner shake.
Pour the smoothie into a glass and top with your favorite ingredients, if desired. Enjoy!
How to make this smoothie without banana
The frozen banana in this recipe gives the smoothie a thick, creamy texture and also adds a bit of sweetness, without being too overwhelming. If you’re looking for a low-sugar option, are allergic to bananas, or just don’t like them, here are some ideas for replacing them:
- frozen fruit – swap the frozen banana with another frozen fruit like mango, pineapple, or berries.
- ice – replace the frozen banana with ice (about 1 cup). It will give the smoothie volume and a nice icy texture.
- frozen milk ice cubes – this is the same concept, but instead of using regular ice cubes, make frozen cubes with your favorite non-dairy milk (such as almond or coconut milk) and use about 1 cup of these cubes in place of the frozen banana.
- frozen cauliflower rice – I use frozen cauliflower rice in my smoothies all the time and it works as a low sugar replacement for frozen bananas. I find that it adds a different texture to smoothies, especially if you use a large amount. I would start with 1/4 cup, taste the shake, then add more if needed.
- avocado – Fresh (or frozen) avocado works great as a substitute for the creaminess that banana adds to smoothies.
- frozen zucchini – Like frozen cauliflower, frozen zucchini works great as a low-sugar replacement for frozen bananas. It doesn’t add a ton of flavor either! You can blanch or steam your zucchini before freezing if you want it to be easier to digest, but I don’t find it necessary.
The banana adds sweetness to this recipe, so if you’re not replacing it with another frozen fruit, you may want to add a touch of sweetness in the form of medjool dates, maple syrup, honey, or stevia.
Other Ways to Add Protein
If you don’t have protein powder on hand or just don’t want to use it, here are other ways to add protein to your shake:
- Greek yogurt: Add 1/2 cup of plain, full-fat Greek yogurt to your smoothie. This will add between 10 and 15 grams of protein, depending on the brand you use.
- Curd: Add 1/4-1/2 cup of the cottage cheese to your blender. This will add around 7-14 grams of protein.
- Nuts/seeds and nut butter: Chopped nuts or seeds and/or more nut butter are a great way to add a little extra protein to your smoothies. Some options are chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, walnuts, pecans, or cashews. You can also swap the nut butter for a seed butter like sunflower seed butter or tahini if you have a nut allergy.
Yeah! Follow my dragon fruit smoothie bowl recipe if you want to enjoy your smoothie with a spoon! The best part about smoothie bowls is the ingredients, in my opinion. Top with slices of fresh dragon fruit, blueberries, granola, coconut flakes, and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar. The options are endless!
Dragon fruit is often considered a superfood due to its rich content of antioxidants, fiber, and beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Dragon fruit has a mild sweetness and slightly tart flavor, something between a kiwi and a pear. Its texture is similar to that of a kiwi due to its small, crunchy seeds.
Dragon fruit can be found in the produce section of many grocery stores, especially those that carry a variety of tropical fruits. You can also find it in frozen form in the freezer aisle.
Yes, you can use fresh dragon fruit in this smoothie recipe. If you choose to use fresh fruit, you may want to add some ice to chill the smoothie. If you want to use fresh dragon fruit, here is a guide on how to cut dragon fruit.
Healthier Smoothie Recipes
Be sure to check out all the smoothie recipes and the full collection of drink recipes on EBF!
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Mix until smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a glass, add your favorite ingredients, and enjoy!
Service: 1 smoothie | Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 53gram | Protein: 26gram | Fat: 13gram | Saturated fat: 1gram | Sodium: 557milligrams | Potassium: 511milligrams | Fiber: 9gram | Sugar: 37gram
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should only be used as an approximation.