Dragon Fruit (aka pitaya or dragonfruit) may look intimidating, but its really very simple to break down. This quick Dragon Fruit Salad with Tajín and Lime comes together in just minutes, and it's low calorie and loaded with nutrients! I'll even show you how to prepare dragon fruit!
🥭 What is Dragon Fruit/Pitaya?
Dragon fruit, also known by its Spanish name pitaya or strawberry pear, is a gorgeous, tropical fruit that is both sweet and crunchy (due to its seeds). It reminds me a little bit of a kiwi fruit, though the seeds are throughout rather than located in the center of the fruit.
Dragon fruit comes in 4 varieties, 3 of which have pink exteriors. One has a yellow exterior. You'll see both in my
poor quality video. When working on this dragon fruit salad recipe, I had one of the "yellow" pitaya, and was surprised (and disappointed) to discover that yellow pertains to the exterior only.
Be forewarned, it is next to impossible to know in advance what color fruit you will end up with. I thought my "red" pitaya would have red flesh; I have gotten them before. Lo and behold, both my "red" and my "yellow" pitaya had white flesh.
No worries! They really taste the same. I "eat with my eyes," so I love the brilliant red ones, and I have gotten them only rarely...
Dragon fruit trivia: The plant that the fruit comes from is a cactus from the genus Hylocereus that only includes about 20 different species.
Though the plant is native to Mexico and Central America, it is now grown all over the globe. I have found them in every state in the US that I have shopped in. In Texas, they're mostly coming from Mexico.
Dragon Fruit Nutrition
While people primarily eat it for its unique look and the way it tastes, it does offer some nutritional benefits as well. A 3.5 ounce/100 gram serving is high in fiber, and contains a decent amount of iron, magnesium, and vitamin C with only 60 calories.
So, it's not a nutritional powerhouse, but it definitely complements a healthy diet.
🎥 How to Prepare Dragon Fruit
📖 More Ways to Use Dragon Fruit
Don't limit dragon fruit to a salad bowl! Here are a few more ways to enjoy this beautiful fruit - cocktails, smoothie/smoothie bowls, and a salsa!
- Dragon Fruit Salsa
- Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl
- Dragon Fruit Mango Smoothie
- Green Ginger Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl
- Raspberry Dragon Fruit Rosé Sangria
- Frozen Pineapple Dragon Fruit Margaritas
- dragon fruit - You'll need 2 dragon (fruit any color). NOTE: The color on the outside does not always indicate the color on the inside!
- oranges - On photo day, I used cara cara oranges, but you can use any orange. Choose the freshest available!
- lime simple syrup - If making your own lime simple syrup, get it made so it can cool. I often have a mason jar of lime simple syrup in my refrigerator. Scroll down for simple instructions!
- tajín - Of course I'd love you to try my homemade tajín recipe, but tajín is available on Amazon and in many US grocery stores.
Lime Simple Syrup: If making your own lime simple syrup, get it made so it can cool. I often have a mason jar of lime simple syrup in my refrigerator.
- Bring ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar to a boil. Continue at a low boil, stirring occasional, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
- Add the zest and juice of 2 juicy limes. Steep 10 minutes
- Strain into a jar, then cool completely.
You can buy prepared lime simple syrup. Homemade is always best, but it's a good shortcut... especially if it gets you interested in making this dragon fruit salad.
Prepare the dragon fruit: See video above for guidance.
Prepare the cara cara (or other orange): I like to supreme the orange if I have the time, but it is certainly not necessary!
Dress the prepared fruit: You don't want the fruit swimming in lime simple syrup! I drizzle it over the top, and gently combine it all together.
Sprinkle with Tajín: Whether using homemade tajín, or prepared, sprinkle the dragon fruit salad - generously if you know you love it!
🍤 Pairing Suggestions
Looking for a cocktail? A light and lively tropical chilcano or margarita fit the bill! A glass of sparkling water, a craft saison, or a glass of rosé may be more your style... Whatever you decide on, you'll love this simple and quick tropical fruit salad!
- For a beautiful presentation, use the exterior of the dragon fruit as a bowl as shown in the photos.
- Make the lime simple syrup in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 days.
- Make the tajín in advance. I make a batch and store in a mason jar and store for weeks (if it lasts that long!).
I must confess - I bought pomegranate arils to go with the dragon fruit and cara cara orange. It was only after I took the photos that I saw them on the refrigerator shelf! Try mango, blood orange, pomegranate arils, pineapple, etc.
I really recommend making it and serving it the same day. You can keep it in the refrigerator for an hour or two, but it's best served fresh.
The lime simple syrup is available in many markets and liquor stores as it's a common ingredient in cocktails. Tajín is available in most markets... usually near the produce. You can also order Tajín online.
In the coming months, I'll be working on more recipes that use tajín. First up? Dried mango and tajín. YUM!
This easy Dragon Fruit Salad with Tajín and Lime comes together in minutes with the help of your already-made tajín and lime simple syrup. Don't be intimidated by the exterior of the fruit!