When I started to use prickly pear fruit for drinks, I found out early that it needs to be mixed with something else. While prickly pear itself tastes okay, it’s also a unique flavor that needs a companion. What it lends most to any beverage is the color: the vibrant pink that comes naturally and you won’t find anywhere else.
While I haven’t tried a huge number of mixtures yet, I am also always looking for what’s easy: using ingredients I have on hand. The prickly pear smoothie below has become a go-to drink for the days when lunch passes me by and I need to eat something quickly before more time escapes. It’s also proven to be a good mid-afternoon snack, to keep me energized until dinner.
And because it only uses the puree, it’s easier to make than anything with the syrup– one less step. I also don’t use a sweetener but that’s a personal choice. I don’t like my drinks as sweet as I used to and I often cut back on sugar when I’m baking, too.
Finally, while the recipe below is what I make, feel free to use other juices or fruit. I’ve read that mango and pineapple work well with prickly pear.
1 cup prickly pear puree
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt
½ cup orange juice
1 cup fruit pieces (I usually use strawberries)
1 scoop protein powder
1 tablespoon sweetener of your choosing (honey and agave are two suggestions), if desired
Combine all ingredients in the blender and whirl until combined.