With spiralizers being all the rage and plant-based diets growing in popularity everyday, it seems like an ideal time to expand the types of vegetables you put on your plate. Greens like spinach and kale may already get the most love in your diet, but they’re not the only options. In fact, there’s one versatile veggie that you probably haven’t heard of that you need to get to know: jicama.
To start: what exactly is jicama? Jicama (sometime nicknamed the Mexican turnip) is a root vegetable that grows in warm climates in Central America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Though it tastes slightly sweet (like an apple), the vegetable looks similar to a potato, with its starchy composition makes it just as versatile as your favorite spud.
Jicama is not only delicious but packs a ton of health benefits as well, including being a great source of dietary fiber, which aids digestion. In addition to being low calorie, making it a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight, jicama provides a ton of vitamins that have immune-boosting properties as well. Ready to give it a try? Here are some of the unexpected ways to use jicama.
Ditch your carrot sticks and celery—there’s a new player in town. Wash and peel the vegetable and cut it into matchsticks, which are ideal for dipping and a low calorie alternative to potato chips or pretzels. Sprinkle some chili on top for an easy and portable bite you can eat on the go. Try this recipe.
Have a bit of time on your hands to prep a snack? Then jicama chips, made either in an air fryer or baked in the oven, are a must try. Thinly slice the vegetable and bake the chips, adding your favorite spices to customize them to your liking. In addition to slashing calories from traditional chips, you’ll get a healthy dose of fiber, known to help blood sugar levels stable. Try this recipe.
If you’ve been missing tortillas and wraps while on a paleo diet then jicama “tortillas” are the answer to your prayers. Calling them tortillas is a bit of a misnomer—they’re actually just very thinly sliced pieces of the vegetable, which become pliable enough to serve as a tortilla. Find them at supermarkets or online and load them up with veggies for a wrap, or with meat and cheese for a low-calorie taco.
Jicama in Salads
Have your lunches been monotonous lately? Adding in jicama to salads is an easy way to get some crunch and upgrade your salad. Jicama’s firm texture and slightly sweet flavor plays well with fresh, citrus flavors. Get our Spicy Jicama, Grapefruit and Mango Salad recipe.
It’s time to dust off your mandolin and use it to whip up a modern take on traditional coleslaw. Jicama and other crunchy vegetables like carrots and radishes make for a lighter version of other slaws, ideal for a side or a light lunch or dinner. Try this recipe.
Looking for a reason to whip out your food processor? Look no further than jicama rice, a sweeter version of your standard white rice. Get creative and use it for veggie sushi, fried rice, or as a part of a stir-fry. Try this recipe.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes aren’t the only things you can use to make hashes. Swap out your ho hum hash browns for a jicama version, or make a veggie-packed skillet with the Mexican turnip instead of potatoes for a filling breakfast. Try this recipe.