Find out why jicama is so good for you and enjoy it in this quick, easy, and delicious spinach salad.
Have you heard of jicama? Pronounced HIK-uh-muh, this Mexican yam or turnip is a root vegetable with a brown, papery exterior and a white crisp interior. It may not look so interesting or appealing from the outside, but trust me when I tell you it is quite delicious on the inside.
Jicama is a crunchy vegetable with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It’s sort of a cross between a potato and an apple or Asian pear, although not quite as sweet. In fact some people find jicama a little bland, but when paired with the right ingredients it’s most definitely not!
Jicama is most commonly eaten raw in salads, slaws, or added to a crudite platter. My friend Danielle from Food Confidence recently wrote about using jicama sticks or chips as a replacement for traditional chips to scoop up guacamole. And Kaleigh over at Lively Table has a few jicama salads on her blog including her Avocado, Jicama, and Cucumber Salad and Grilled Pineapple, Black Bean, and Jicama Salad. As you can see, jicama pairs very nicely with Mexican flavors, which is why the spinach salad with jicama below is my go-to side dish any night I make a Mexican-themed dinner like fish tacos or my Sweetpotato Black Bean Quesadillas.
You can also cook jicama, although I have yet to try that out. Stir fries are a great place to incorporate this root veggie since it stays crunchy and absorbs flavor. I bet it would also be good sautéed with peppers and onions for fajita night!
Nutritionally, jicama is low in calories and an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C – one cup has less than 50 calories, 25% of your daily fiber and 40% of your daily vitamin C needs! The soluble fiber inulin is what accounts for jicama’s stellar fiber status and its health benefits, which include (1) protecting against osteoporosis by helping the body absorb calcium and (2) acting as a prebiotic to promote “good” bacteria growth in your digestive tract. (You can learn more about prebiotics in this post from Kelli at Hungry Hobby.)
Now, back to using jicama in the kitchen. I used to peel the papery skin of jicama with a vegetable peeler, but I learned over the years that this was not the most efficient technique. Instead, the best way to peel jicama is with a chef’s knife. Uncut jicama will last in the fridge for about two weeks and cut jicama will last for a few days. And don’t worry about browning – this veggie will retain the same creamy white color even once it’s cut.
As I mentioned, this Spinach Salad with Jicama, Black Beans, and Lime Vinaigrette is my go-to Mexican night side dish. I first shared this recipe back in 2013, but it was high time for updated images (thanks Kaleigh!) and a few tweaks to the recipe. I hope you give it a try and enjoy jicama as much as I do!
Have you ever tried jícama?
How do you like it prepared?
Photo credit: Kaleigh McMordie
This post originally appeared on Nutritioulicious in January 2013.