Sunday, July 21, 2024

Beat the heat with this refreshing pineapple jugo verde

Jugo verde, or green juice, was one of my first culinary fixations when I moved to Mexico. The explosion of flavor was unlike anything I had ever tasted, even though I was familiar with all the ingredients, excluding the cactus. This recipe (with a twist) will let you create that little piece of magic in your own kitchen.

Considering the heat wave Mexico is experiencing, this is the most refreshing concoction you could put in your blender. This green goodness is a staple in many Mexican households and street food stalls — and for good reason.

jugo verde with fruit and vegetables
Jugo verde is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. (Phrònesis)

This nutrient-rich blend provides vitamins A, C, and K, enhancing immune function, skin health, and bone strength. Pineapple and ginger aid digestion and reduce inflammation. Orange and lime juices boost immune defense and improve skin health. Cactus and celery offer fiber for digestive health and blood sugar regulation. This smoothie is a dynamo of nutrients promoting digestion, reducing inflammation, and enhancing overall well-being, making it an excellent addition to a balanced diet. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact date regarding the origin of jugo verde, but it can be traced back to traditional Mexican herbal and natural remedies, where various plant-based ingredients were used for their medicinal properties.

Mexican jugo verde typically incorporates local produce and herbs, blending them into a vibrant, green mixture that is both tasty and beneficial. Over time, jugo verde has evolved with various regional recipes adding their own twist to the basic formula. Despite variations on the theme, the core idea remains the same: A drink that harnesses the raw power of green vegetables and fruits to boost health and wellness. 

Here’s my favorite version of Mexican Jugo Verde:

Stephen’s Jugo Verde


1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 cup frozen pineapple, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 cup orange juice (or water for a low sugar option)

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped (less if you’re afraid, of course)

1-2 nopales (cactus pads), chopped


Prepare the Ingredients: Wash all the fresh produce thoroughly. Start with throwing in the frozen pineapple chunks. Chop the other ingredients to a blender friendly size, chuck them in, add the juices, and blend. Add more juice or water if the mixture is too thick

You don’t want to strain this juice, as I see some recipes online call for. You want to keep all the fibery goodness that you can.

Serve: Pour the jugo verde into glasses and serve immediately. Enjoy your refreshing and energizing green juice!

Keeping the bits in your juice is a great way to get the most from the ingredients, so don’t strain it! (María José Martínez/Cuartoscuro)

Tips to get the most out of this jugo verde recipe:

Adjust the sweetness by adding some agave syrup if desired.

The frozen pineapple should be sufficient but for a colder drink. Add a few ice cubes to the blender or refrigerate the ingredients before blending.

Once you’ve mastered this recipe, feel free to experiment with other green ingredients like kale, apples, or Swiss chard to change things up.

Mexican jugo verde is a delicious way to incorporate a variety of greens and fruits into your diet. It offers a great mix of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Enjoy this traditional drink after a nice long run or as a refreshing cure for an overly indulgent night out.

Stephen Randall has lived in Mexico since 2018 by way of Kentucky, and before that, Germany. He’s an enthusiastic amateur chef who takes inspiration from many different cuisines, with favorites including Mexican and Mediterranean.


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