Pitaya, or dragonfruit, is this year’s trendiest new fruit! While I’m normally not the type to get excited about “superfood” trends, I won’t lie, pitaya has won me over. We eat with our eyes, and with it’s vibrant pink skin, scaly green leaves, unusual shape and speckled flesh, pitaya makes you want to run to the kitchen and cut up a fruit plate!
If you’re new to pitaya, it’s a fruit native to Central and South America that’s now commonly grown in southeast Asia. Although it looks tropical, like something out of a rainforest, pitaya is actually the fruit of a kind of cactus and can grow in dry, desert regions.
Pitaya has a very subtle sweetness, similar to an earthy watermelon. White-fleshed pitaya is milder, while red-fleshed pitaya has a richer flavor. Pitaya grown in drier regions tends to be more sour. The flesh is juicy with crunchy, black seeds – very similar to kiwi in texture!
On looks alone, pitaya is a fun addition to your diet, but it’s also packed with nutrients too. Both red and white-fleshed pitaya is nutritious, however red-fleshed pitaya contains more beneficial antioxidants. It’s rich in minerals like magnesium and iron and also contains the antioxidant vitamin C. Because you eat the seeds, you also get a little dose of healthy fatty acids in pitaya.
To eat pitaya, cut it in half and peel or cut away the leathery pink skin, which has a bitter flavor. To save time, you can also find frozen pitaya chunks in many grocery stores.
Pitaya Froyo Parfait (Serves 3-4)
- 3 ripe pitayas, peeled, cubed
- 2 cups greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 kiwis, peeled, cut in sliced
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 cups granola (use any kind you like)
- Edible flowers to garnish (optional)
- Place the pitaya in a blender and pulse until pureed. Don’t blend it too long or you’ll destroy the seeds (which are cute to see!)
- Combine the pitaya puree, greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix well. Taste for sweetness, adjust if needed. Place the mix in your ice cream maker and freeze OR place in a container in the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours mixing it in between.
- To serve, layer the parfait in a glass by starting with some granola, then kiwi, add the pitaya froyo and garnish with edible flowers.
Note: in the photos you can see we used some of the pitaya peel as garnish (the inside is so bright and pink!) You can use it as garnish but you cannot eat it.
Other Pitaya Recipe Ideas
There are many different dishes you can make with pitaya. Toss chunks into a fruit salad, where it’s black and white speckled flesh makes a pretty addition. Blending the hot pink or red pitaya into a smoothie or smoothie bowl turns it a vibrant color, perfect for enticing children to eat it…or showing off on instagram! You could also top a salad with chunks of pitaya for juicy sweetness. Here’s more recipe inspiration using pitaya:
- Dragonfruit Lemonade
- Pitaya Popsicle
- Pink Pitaya Chia Pudding Parfaits
- Pitaya Smoothie Bowl
- Watermelon Pitaya Smoothie
- Pitaya Ice Cream
Have you tried pitaya? Let us know in the comments section. Be sure to also download Luvo’s 7-day meal and fitness plan for more nutrition tips and recipes.
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