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Jicama: the Healthy, Versatile Vegetable that Tastes Like a Fruit and Acts Like a Water Chestnut (Plus Two Bonus Recipes!)

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 little crunch.

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.

jicama sticks

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


  1. Whisk together cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Marinate orange slices, avocado, and jicama in lime-cilantro vinaigrette for 30 minutes.
  3. Arrange lettuce on chilled salad plates.
  4. Remove orange, avocado, and jicama from marinade and place on lettuce.

Source: Anne's Recipes

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 can hot)
  • 1 (2 oz.) can sliced olives
  • 1/2 c. jicama, shredded
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Gently toss chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, green chilies, olives, jicama and cilantro.
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Just before serving, cut avocado in 1-inch pieces and add.
  4. Pour cumin dressing** over the salad.
  5. Garnish with tortilla chips.

**Cumin Dressing


  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise (at we like grapeseed-oil based mayonnaise varieties)
  • 2/3 c. sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seed


  1. Mix together.


Recommended Reading

Potatoes: Once and For All, Are America's Favorite Vegetables Good for You or Not?

12 Dangerous Food Additives: The Dirty Dozen Food Additives You Really Need to be Aware Of


Whole Health MD

Sally's Place: Jicama

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