My husband came home from work the other day excited to share with me a new veggie he had tried at his office salad bar.
"It's a cross between a pear and a potato," he told me, "but I don't know the name." This curious description may have mystified me had I not been introduced to jicama several years ago while living in Santa Barbara, CA. My mind immediately traveled back to my favorite lunch spot where I would order the same salad every time I went. There were so many yummy things on the menu, but I could never veer from from this one particular salad laden with fresh jicama chunks and tossed in a tangy-salty dressing. I used to work jicama into regular rotation in my own kitchen, but realized it's been a while since I had a brush with this light and crispy veggie. It's time to bring it back!
My husband's enthusiasm for his newfound food made me realize that if you're stuck in a rut, the best way to get out is to TRY SOMETHING NEW! Trying new things is a terrific way to combat salad boredom. Go to the market and pick out one new fruit or veggie that you've never seen, or have been too scared to try. Research ways to prepare your new food and then highlight it in a salad.
If jicama is new to you, why not start there?
Like a potato, jicama is a tuber. Unlike a potato, jicama is typically eaten raw. It has a crunchy and light texture similar to water chestnuts or apples. This underground veggie is super nutritious, too. It contains prebiotics (important for digestive health and proper immune function), as well as vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Jicama's mild flavor makes a great carrier for dips and spreads - cut into sticks like you would carrots or celery. Jicama is also super tasty in slaws and salads - try it out with the following recipe!
My Santa Barbara Knock-off Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing
Makes 1 large meal salad
1/2 cup jicama chunks
kernels from 1 ear raw corn
1/2 cup black-eyed peas (or use any beans you have on hand - I use Eden Foods canned beans since the cans are BPA free)
1/2 mango, cubed
2-3 cups greens (I used pea shoots and arugula here)
Sauteed tofu (optional, but really tasty!)
For the sauteed tofu
1/4 block organic sprouted tofu
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Cumin & Chipotle powders
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp sea salt granules
1 T olive oil
2-5 T water - adjust for consistency
Over medium heat, heat coconut oil in a pan. Add tofu and cook about 5 minutes, add Bragg's, and a sprinkle of both cumin & chipotle. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until browned - about 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water for a thinner consistency and less for a thicker dressing.
Peel and cube jicama. Shave corn kernels off the ear with a sharp knife. Combine in a large salad bowl with remainder of salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and top with sauteed tofu.
Oh...and any extra dressing? Save and refrigerate for tomorrow's salad. BOOM. You're already ahead of the game.