Meet the Dragon Fruit (and Make Dragon Fruit Recipes!)

With only 60 calories for about 3 ounces, this low-calorie fruit that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a smoothie or fruit salad.
Related To:

Aptly named, this native South American fruit (also called the pitaya) looks like a mythical fire-breathing artichoke with its pink-to-reddish, or sometimes yellow, scale-like leaves. Dragon fruit is actually the flower from a plant that grows in tropical regions, which blooms at night just once! Cut it open and you’ll find the fairy tale continues: The inside of the fruit resembles and tastes like a cross between a pear and a kiwi. It’s slightly sweet, creamy and refreshing.

The nutrition stats on this strange fruit are not make-believe — it’s got an impressive antioxidant punch from vitamin C, along with energy-enhancing B vitamins.  The flesh has a fair amount of fiber, and healthy fats can be found in the tiny black seeds. With only 60 calories for about 3 ounces, it’s a low-calorie fruit that can be enjoyed on its own (we like it chilled and then scooped with a spoon) or as part of a smoothie or fruit salad.

Look for the whole fruit in specialty South American or Asian markets. Give it a tender squeeze: You want just a slight softness (like an avocado), so leave firm fruits to ripen. Or, take a shortcut and pick up pitaya puree in the freezer section.

Dragon Fruit Smoothie
1 medium banana
1/2 dragon fruit, peeled
2 large strawberries
1/4 cup light coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink right away to get the most vitamin C benefit.

Per serving: Calories 220; Fat 5 g (Saturated 3.5 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 280 mg; Carbohydrate 47 g; Fiber 7 g; Protein 3 g; Sugars 25 g

Dragon Fruit Salad
1/2 dragon fruit, peeled and cut into a fine dice
2 large strawberries, cut into a fine dice
6 fresh mint leaves, torn
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch kosher salt

Toss all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Eat as a snack or top your frozen yogurt with it.

Per serving (about 3/4 cup): Calories 45; Fat 1 g (Saturated 0 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 270 mg; Carbohydrate 9 g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 1 g; Sugars 6 g

Leah Brickley is a Nutritionist-Recipe Developer for Food Network Kitchen.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Red, White and Blue Recipes to Make All Summer Long

Memorial Day weekend cannot come soon enough!

These Easy Recipes Will Make Your Next Pool Party a Breeze

Everything will go just swimmingly with these creative ideas!

Katie's Healthy Bites: Heirloom Tomatoes

Few can resist taking a bite out of a fresh-picked local tomato, and now that tomato season is in full bloom, heirloom varieties are at their ripest.

These Are the 5 Photoworthy Smoothies of Your Social Media Dreams

Pretty breakfast smoothies are simple with these picture-perfect combinations.

Pina Colada Treats That Don’t Require a Straw

As Rupert Holmes would say, if you like Pina Coladas...

Heading Off on Vacation? Don't Forget to Pack These Food-Focused Books

Even when we're out of the kitchen, our minds never wander far from delicious dishes, and we like our literature the way we like our pantry: overflowing with mouthwatering food.

Summer-Conscious Dinners

Get tips and tricks from Robin Miller and Food Network for eating healthier in the summer when clothing layers are shed and the weather heats up.

Your Ultimate Summer Party Menu, Delivered

Stick with this crowd-pleasing menu from The Kitchen for enjoyable seasonal entertaining.

Food Network Magazine: June/July 2009 Recipe Index

Find easy recipes for appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts from Food Network Magazine.

Reader Recipes: Summer Sipping

Use fresh summer produce to create simply delicious and refreshing alcoholic beverages.