Mexican Food Lovers

Discussions of Mexican dishes, ingredients and recipes.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Choose Jicama for Low Calorie Snacks and Salads

Jicama (pronounced HEE-ca-ma) and also known as Mexican Potato or Mexican Turnip is a delicious white fleshed vegetable used in many mexican salads.

Jicama is a crispy, sweet turnip-shaped root vegetable with a light brown skin and is dieter's delight. Two cups of jicama has only 45 calories, no fat and tons of vitamin C.

When shopping for jicama look for smaller specimens. As a jicama grows, the natural sugars turn to starch which can make the vegetable taste more like a potato and less like a sweet, crispy fruit.

Larger jicama are great to use in stews and soups but the smaller ones are wonderful in salads and eaten raw as a snack.

I love the white jicama flesh against the backdrop of bright red beets and orange carrots in this salad:

Jicama Salad

1 lb (2 small) jicama, peeled
2 large beets, trimmed and peeled
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
1 can mandarin orange segments
zest from 1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, julienne the jicama, beets, and carrots and combine in a large bowl.

Drain the mandarin oranges, reserving liquid, and add orange segments to bowl with jicama.
Whisk the lime zest and juice into 1/4 cup of the mandarin orange liquid. While whisking, drizzle in the oil to make smooth vinaigrette.

Pour the vinaigrette over jicama mixture, toss to coat, and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the jicama salad to a platter and sprinkle with the peanuts.

If you find the vinaigrette a bit tart for your tast, add a drop or two of honey to make it sweeter to your taste.


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