This refreshing Cactus Smoothie known as Licuado de Nopal is a perfect way to keep all of your healthy new year resolutions. Drink this high-fiber, antioxidant-rich, and tasty green smoothie for your breakfast and reap all of the nutritious benefits! And if you’re not on the resolution train, this tasty breakfast smoothie is also an excellent cure for a hangover.

cactus smoothie (licaudo de nopal) in a short clear glass garnished with nopal and sliced cucumber.

About 10 years ago at Christmas I met a new friend, Ania and we started talking about our shared love of nopales. She introduced me to this tasty licuado de nopal that she drinks every morning. Her skin is radiant and she is super thin even after having had twins, so of course I have incorporated this new beverage into my New Year, New Me routine every year since!

removing thorns from cactus pads (nopal).

About This Recipe

While I’m not much of a diet person – hello, queso! – I have been drinking this juice every morning since the beginning of the year. While I have not lost any weight, I do feel less bloated (sorry, TMI??). I also feel more energized, and my skin is looking fabulous, if I do say so myself. 

bottle of voss water, a nopal pad, a cucumber that is half peeled, a lemon juicer and a halved lime on a cutting board for making cactus smoothies (licuado de nopal).

None of this should come as a shock – this tasty cactus smoothie is made with fresh nopales, tons of water, fresh cucumber, and bright lime. Licuado de nopal is super refreshing and does an unbelievable job of rehydrating me in the midst of this super dry winter air.

The nopal cactus is a plant native to the mountains of Mexico. It has been used since ancient times as both a food and for its medicinal and health benefits. This smoothie is also great for overeating and hangovers too! 

Aside from prepping the nopales paddles, this recipe takes literally just two minutes to throw together. I’m already not much of a morning person, and when it is dark until 7am, I’m even less so. The fact that this simple breakfast smoothie comes together with so little fuss makes it easy to incorporate into my morning routine.

I also love how customizable this licuado de nopal is. If I need a little extra sweetness, I can add pineapple or mango chunks. If I’m out of lime, I can trade in lemon. It is simply delicious, every single time!

How to Make Licuado de Nopal Cactus Smoothies

This simple recipe takes just a few minutes to throw together. First, you’ll need to prepare your nopales paddles. I like to keep them in a zip-top bag in the freezer so I don’t have to do anything difficult (read: with a knife) when I’m still bleary eyed with sleep.

Then, all you have to do is add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. So simple!

adding water to blender for making Nopal licuado cactus smoothie.

Serving Suggestions

Drink this smoothie every morning before you eat anything else. The juice is rich in fiber, helps speed up your metabolism, and helps eliminate grease and toxins. This cactus smoothie is also choc-full of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and B, cleanses the liver and colon and provides an über-rich source of fiber and hydration. For best results, drink this juice for seven days straight.

Since this is a smoothie, there are plenty of ways to customize it to your liking. I love licuado de nopal as the recipe is written, but feel free to zhuzh it up to your own standards. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Swap in coconut water for added potassium.
  • Add in frozen pineapple, mango, bananas, or berries for a boost of sweetness.

Did you come up with a winning combination I should know about? Let me know in the comments below or tag me in your Instagram post so I can cheer you on!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cactus smoothie less chunky?

Absolutely! Just add a bit more liquid and continue blending until it reaches your preferred consistency.

What are the benefits of drinking cactus juice?

Nopales (prickly pear cactus paddles) are super healthy, and their juice offers a multitude of health benefits including strengthening the immune system, improving skin health, offering anti-inflammatory benefits, and reducing LDL cholesterol.

Where can I find nopales?

Check any Mexican grocer in your area – they will almost certainly carry them in stock.

More Healthy Recipes

If you tried my recipe for Licuado de Nopal Cactus Smoothies, please be sure to rate and review it below! Super delicioso, jaja mentiras! Cheers to a healthy year! Salud!

small clear glass of licuado de nopal smoothie garnished with a slice of cucumber and fresh nopal.

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie)

5 (13 ratings)
Drink this smoothie every morning before you eat anything else. This juice is rich in fiber, helps speed up your metabolism, and helps eliminate grease and toxins.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup nopal, cactus pads cleaned, spines removed, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup water
  • Crushed ice, optional

Instructions 

  • Store julienned nopal in snack bags in the freezer. To make one smoothie use only half the bag of nopal.
  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend.

Notes

  •  If you want it to be less chunky then blend longer and or add more water.
  • Swap in coconut water for added potassium.
  • Add in frozen pineapple, mango, bananas, or berries for a boost of sweetness.
Calories: 22kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 13mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 152IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 1mg

Photography by Jeanine Thurston & Jenna Sparks
Originally published: January 2011.