If you’ve never heard of jicama, you’re not alone. Except for my students and like 5 people who came across my academic book, From Jicama to Jackfruit: The Global Political Economy of Food (available at Amazon, of course!), jicama is just starting to be more widely available outside of specialty shops. This root vegetable, commonly eaten in tropical areas of Asia and Latin America, was one of the ‘New to You Foods’ I introduced in my book, because it’s so amazing. It’s a great ‘cheap’ food, with loads of fiber and nutrients, but very filling with few calories. It’s versatile, so it can be added to a stir-fry, baked in a casserole, or eaten raw. One of my snacks is to eat slices topped with salsa or dipped in guacamole.
A few months ago, I needed something to take to a dinner get-together where my gracious friend always says I don’t need to bring anything. I came up with this recipe, guessing she wouldn’t be making anything with jicama. I was right, and it was a hit.
Mix the following in a medium bowl and stick it in the fridge to let it marinate for a few hours, stirring occasionally:
- 1 ½ pound jicama root, peeled (see tip below) and cut into matchsticks
- 6 scallions (a.k.a. green onions) cut into thin circles
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 T. agave nectar or ¼ t. stevia or a sweetener of your choice, to taste
- ½ t. crushed Asian chili pepper (optional; can also sub 1 diced jalapeno)
- 1 T. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Just before serving, add:
- 1 Roma tomato, chopped into small pieces
- ½ of an avocado, cut into small pieces
*A tip on cutting jicama: Start by cutting off the ends. Using a paring knife, start at each end and pull off the rough, outer fibers. Then use a vegetable peeler to remove the fibrous white parts, until you get to the juicy, potato-like part of the jicama.
Have you ever eaten jicama?