Raise your hand if you know what a whole jicama looks like.
My sister and Vegas both asked me what it was.
This crazy-looking thing is a tuber. They’re more common in Mexico and South American, but you can find them pretty easily in American markets thanks to their growing popularity. Especially in simple dishes like this Jicama & Tajin Salad.
The outside of jicama is thick and bark-like. Once you peel the skin off, you’re left with a juicy, crunchy vegetable. I like to compare them to Asian pears or apples, only they’re not quite as sweet.
Do yourself a favor and peel it with a chef’s knife. A vegetable peeler is no match for the thick skin. Cut slices from the top and the bottom to create flat surfaces on each end. Then work from top to bottom, following the curve of the jicama with your knife as you peel away the skin.
You can eat jicama raw or cook it. It looks like it might brown, but it won’t. You can leave this particular salad in the fridge all week!
For this simple dish, I left it raw and tossed it with Tajin and lime juice. It’s a perfect refreshing snack or side dish in the warmer months.
Tajin is a Mexican seasoning you can likely find in the Latin section of your local grocery store. It’s just a simple mix of chili powder, salt, dehydrated lime. If you haven’t already tried it, you must. It’s good with anything – chicken, tofu, salsa… the rim of a margarita glass…
Back to the jicama. In addition to it being delicious, it’s also really good for you.
Health Benefits of Jicama
- Digestion: Jicama has high level of dietary fiber, which helps with digestion. It’s also rich in a soluble fiber called oligofructose inulin, which is a sweet carbohydrate that doesn’t metabolize into simple sugars. All this just means that it’s a great way to have some sweet food without worrying about the blood sugar fluctuation.
- Immune System: There is a TON of vitamin C in jicama; 100 grams of jicama is approximately 40% of our entire daily requirement for ascorbic acid!
- Blood Pressure: Jicama is a source of potassium, which helps manage blood pressure and aids in maintaining fluid balance in opposition to sodium the body (read: keeps the body hydrated at the right level).
- Circulation: Significant amounts of copper and iron in jicama contribute to the health of the circulatory system, since the two are important elements of red blood cells. If you even suffer from anemia, keep this in mind!
- Brain Function: The Vitamin B6 found in jicama has been linked to increased brain function and cognitive abilities, and is key in breaking down proteins into usable amino acids and other forms of protein.
- Strong Bones: Minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, and copper found in jicama are important for our bone mineral density. This is especially important for women, who are more susceptible to osteoporosis.
After all of that, I’m sure you want more jicama recipe ideas. Here are my favorites:
Jicama & Tajin Chili Powder Salad
- 2 C peeled and sliced jicama (cut like small carrot sticks)
- Juice from 2 limes
- Tajin, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve.
(I told you it was easy!)
Bonus: you can eat all the jicama you like. There are only 35 calories in 100 grams.
Have you ever eaten jicama?
What’s your favorite Mexican spice?