I purchased a nopal drink at my local buyer’s club and fell in love, the simple ingredients were nopal, pineapple, and celery.

However, my love for nopal goes way back to my childhood days of growing the cactus. We called it ‘tuna fruit’ in Jamaica and we mostly used it as a conditioner for our hair. 

If you know me in person, I have really thick hair and growing up it was much longer and thicker, I had a routine of using tuna or nopal and homemade castor oil on my hair.

I decided to share my yummy version of nopal cactus smoothie with you. It is a great smoothie to include in your weight loss routine. Below is a photo of my nopal cactus that I’m growing.

Nopal Cactus growing in a barrel

What is Nopal?

Nopal, commonly called prickly pear is a genus in the cactus family. It is also called tuna, sabra, or paddle cactus. It is a plant native to Mexico is commonly used in Mexican cuisine. 

Nopal pad is green with fixed thorns or spines that are removed before cooking. The pad can be eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable.  it is an ingredient in salads, soups, marmalades and it is used medicinally.

The edible colorful fruit is called prickly pear is also sold as a fruit in supermarkets. 

What Does Nopal Taste Like?

Nopal has a slightly tart taste, with a crisp texture and mucilaginous feel. 

Where Can I Purchase Nopales?

Nopal pads are sold fresh in most Latino supermarkets and some Caribbean grocers. The canned or bottled nopales are sold in most major supermarkets and health food stores. 

Nopal Benefits

Nopal is also enjoyed for its many health benefits. Nopal cactus is high in antioxidants, Vitamins A, B. C, minerals, and fiber.  It helps speed up metabolism, detoxifies the liver and cleanses the colon. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat disease such as ulcer, diabetes, glaucoma.

It is low in calorie, one cup contains only 14 calories so nopal cactus benefits weight loss. Read more about nopales health benefits.

Nopales Cactus Smoothie on a plate with cactus, pineapple, apple juice, celery and ginger

Nopal Cactus Smoothie Ingredients

  • Nopal
  • Apple Juice
  • Pineapple Chunks
  • Celery
  • Ginger

How To Make Nopal Cactus Smoothie

  • Clean cactus pad and remove spines, wearing gloves or place fingers on the cactus pad holding it firmly with one hand. Hold a knife with the other hand and gently slip the tip of the knife under each thorn to peel it off. 
  • Repeat this process all over the pad and on the sides until all thorns are removed. Roughly chop nopal.
  • Store in freezer bags or container with tight fitting lid.
  • Place chopped nopal in a high-speed blender, add apple juice, pineapple chunks, celery, and ginger. Process until smooth and creamy and serve immediately.

This is Day 10 of my daily smoothies drink, here are days 1-9

If you make this Nopal Cactus Smoothie,  snap a photo and hashtag #healthiersteps  — we love to see your recipes on InstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Join our new facebook groups, sharing lots of delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes, health tips etc., from our members. Please join us and invite your friends Gluten-Free and Vegan For Beginners and Vegan Recipes With Love.




(Per portion)
  • Energy: 109 kcal / 456 kJ
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Carbs: 27 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 5 min
  • Ready in: 5 min
  • For: 2 Servings



  1. Place chopped nopal pad, apple juice, pineapple chunks, celery and ginger in a high-speed blender.
  2. Process until smooth and served chilled
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.