Jicama, a tan, brown or gray root vegetable that looks somewhat
like a turnip or large radish, may not yet have caught your
eye in the produce section, but it definitely deserves a second
(and third) look.
Jicama is available in most grocery stores. Eat it
raw with salsa or your favorite dip, bake it like a
not-so-starchy potato or add it to stir-fries for a
Though growing in popularity here in the United States, jicama
is popular in Mexico and South America, and has been so for
centuries. It's often served raw as a street food in Mexico,
with a squeeze of lemon or lime and some hot sauce or chili
powder, and is also a traditional featured food during the
Mexican Day of the Dead, a holiday to honor those who have
passed and focus on life for the future.
In Asia, jicama is used in many dishes as well, including
as an ingredient in the filling of spring rolls, and people
in Thailand enjoy jicama raw in salads or with a hot, salty
dip made of fish sauce and chilis.
Sweet Like an Apple, Used Like a Water Chestnut
Jicama is incredibly versatile. Served raw, it has a crunchy,
white flesh that tastes similar to a not-too-sweet apple.
It can be cut into chunks and added to salads, or cut into
strips and eaten as part of a raw vegetable platter with guacamole
or other dips.
Try jicama sticks tossed with lime juice, salt, chili
powder, and cilantro, a finger-food recipe featured
in Health magazine.
Jicama can also be cooked and eaten much like a potato: steamed,
baked, boiled, mashed or even fried. When added to cooked
dishes like stir-fries, stews and vegetable dishes (and cooked
only briefly), jicama takes on the flavors it's cooked with,
and lends a crunchy texture, similar to a water chestnut.
Why Jicama? Healthy, Tasty and Versatile
Jicama can be used in your cooking like a super-potato (one
that also tastes great, and is healthy, eaten raw). Jicama
is less starchy than a potato, and one cup has only about
45 calories. It's high in vitamins C, A and B, along with
calcium and phosphorus.
When you look for jicama at the grocery store, be aware that
it's also called a Mexican potato, yam bean and Mexican turnip,
and can range in size from half a pound to six pounds or more.
When buying, choose a jicama that's hard, unblemished and
heavy for its size.
Jicama can be kept in your refrigerator, in a plastic bag,
for a couple of weeks. The thin, brown skin is typically removed
just before using.
Try Jicama Tonight With These Tasty Recipes
Acapulco Jicama Salad
- 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick circles
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1inch cubes
- 1 small jicama, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 18 red-leaf lettuce leaves, wash, dry, and tear into pieces
- Whisk together cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, oil, salt,
- Marinate orange slices, avocado, and jicama in lime-cilantro
vinaigrette for 30 minutes.
- Arrange lettuce on chilled salad plates.
- Remove orange, avocado, and jicama from marinade and
place on lettuce.
California Chicken Salad
- 2 c. cooked chicken pieces, cubed
- 1 head Romaine lettuce
- 2 tomatoes, seeded & chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 oz. Jack cheese, freshly grated
- 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies (blue can mild, orange
- 1 (2 oz.) can sliced olives
- 1/2 c. jicama, shredded
- 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
- 1 avocado
- Tortilla chips
- Gently toss chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese,
green chilies, olives, jicama and cilantro.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Just before serving, cut avocado in 1-inch pieces and
- Pour cumin dressing** over the salad.
- Garnish with tortilla chips.
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise (at Sixwise.com we like grapeseed-oil
based mayonnaise varieties)
- 2/3 c. sour cream
- 1 tbsp. cumin seed
- Mix together.
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