Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (2024)

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This refreshing Cactus Smoothie known as Licuado de Nopalis 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.

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (1)

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!

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (2)

Table of Contents

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.

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (3)

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!

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (4)

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!

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (5)

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie)

5 (16 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.

Yield: 2 drinks

Prep Time: 2 minutes mins

Total Time: 2 minutes mins


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


  • 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.


  • 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

Course: Breakfast, Drinks

Cuisine: Mexican

Photography byJeanine Thurston & Jenna Sparks
Originally published: January 2011.

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie) (2024)


Is nopal cactus good for weight loss? ›

It's your number 1 ally when it comes to diet for a weight reduction. It mainly reduces cravings and snacking. It has a fat-burning effect thanks to the high fibre content of its leaves.

What is nopal cactus good for? ›

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. Prickly pear cactus — or also known as nopal, opuntia and other names — is promoted for treating diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and hangovers. It's also touted for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use cactus for weight loss? ›

Nopal Cactus Vcaps capsules may be a useful dietary supplement for those vegetarians who wish to reduce their absorption of dietary fat and calories. Adults take 1 to 2 capsules before meals, 1 to 2 times daily, or as directed by physician. No adverse side effects have been reported.

Is cactus a fat burner? ›

The results of our research support the hypothesis that cactus fiber helps in reducing body weight by binding to dietary fat and raising its discharging, hence reducing dietary fat offered for absorption.

Are nopales good for your stomach? ›

6) Or reduce gastric acid and thus combat or eliminate gastric ulcers – The vegetable fibers contained in nopales help control the excessive production of gastric acids, thus protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines.

Who should not eat cactus? ›

Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not take nopal cactus supplements, because there isn't reliable information about whether or not it is safe. If you have diabetes, you should be particularly careful when consuming nopal cactus or its supplements, as it can affect your blood sugar.

Do nopales make you gassy? ›

For people not used to consuming fibrous foods, increasing intake slowly and with adequate amounts of water can prevent gas and bloating. For some, consuming nopales may cause mild diarrhea.

Is nopal cactus good for the liver? ›

Other findings from the research suggest that nopal may soothe pain, boost immune activity, and protect the liver. For these reasons, practitioners of traditional medicine have used both parts of the nopal plant for treating and preventing a range of conditions and symptoms, including: glaucoma.

What does nopal do to your hair? ›

First things first: there are two parts of the nopal cactus that are used in beauty products. There's the pad and the tuna, and we use both at Nopalera. The nopal cactus benefits the skin and hair with its hyper-hydrating properties.

What do Mexicans use nopales for? ›

There are about 114 known species in Mexico, where it is a common ingredient in numerous Mexican cuisine dishes. The nopal pads can be eaten raw or cooked, used in marmalades, soups, stews and salads, as well as being used for traditional medicine or as fodder for animals.

Is nopal a laxative? ›

Nopal is a type of cactus and therefore contain a lot of dietary fiber essential in the digestive process. The fiber found in nopal can reduce constipation and diarrhea by allowing bowel movements to pass through the digestive tract easier.

What is the use of cactus to ladies? ›

Well, the fact that it is full of multiple antioxidants, vitamins, and electrolytes which protect the skin against sun damage and fight ageing and collagen loss is the reason why cactus is so special.

Is cactus good for hair loss? ›

Cactus Seed Oil is exceptionally rich in Vitamin E and Fatty Acids which promote healthier, shinier hair. Some of the benefits are: It promotes hair growth: Omega Fatty Acids are key for stimulating cell growth and development, so it can lend you a hand in preventing hair loss.

What does cactus do for the human body? ›

Both the cactus pad and the cactus fruit are high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol levels in the blood. High blood sugar in the body can be a symptom of several illnesses, such as diabetes, stroke, or heart disease.

How much nopal cactus to take? ›

You can also take supplements in capsule, powder, extract, and even liquid form. More research is needed to determine safe and efficient doses of each form of cactus. Most supplements typically recommend taking at least one dose of 500-650 milligrams on a daily basis.

Can you eat nopal cactus raw? ›

Nopales are also edible when raw. When a person dices them, they resemble a green pepper. Additionally, people can turn them into juice, jams, or tea. Individuals can also eat prickly pear fruit, which is the small, rounded, and often colorful part of the nopal plant.

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