Friday, August 23, 2013

Jicama Arugula Salad

It’s hot here.  I mean, really hot.  I don’t mind it at all, but I do tend to stay away from big, hearty meals and eat more salads for lunch.  (Thank goodness, something has to balance out all the Mexican food I’m shoving in my face for the rest of the time)  Just like the Pad Thai Zucchini Salad I have found this salad to be very easy and healthy and it’s the perfect lunch for me on a hot Texas day.

I first heard of jicama a few years ago when I was working at a restaurant in Las Vegas.  I was poolside working on my tan while studying, trying to memorize the menu and all the ingredients when I came across one of our appetizers that stated it was topped with an orange jicama salsa.  For starters, I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce it, let alone what it was!  A quick Google search and I learned the “j” is pronounced with an “h” sound.  (hic-uh-muh)  I also learned it’s a round, hard root vegetable, often compared to resembling a potato.
Here is a picture in case you’ve never seen one:

The orange jicama salsa garnish was delicious on the dish in Vegas, but I never ate it at a restaurant again until I moved to Wichita.  One evening, my friends Katie and Brittany and I went to a cooking class at a local restaurant and made a salad with watermelon, cucumber, jicama and sriracha sauce among a few other ingredients.  It was delicious!  Who am I kidding; I’ll eat about anything with sriracha sauce on it, though!  I’ve made the salad from that cooking class a couple times, but it’s definitely a side dish and Josh won’t touch it so I don’t make it often.
When I saw this recipe in my inbox a few weeks ago I was intrigued because it utilized jicama.  So, the next week when I was grocery shopping and saw jicama in the produce section I grabbed one and was ready to go.  (Even if you haven’t seen it or noticed it before, jicama should be at most grocery stores.)
The e-mail I received with this recipe was from Sugar Free Mom.  I’ve mentioned her on my blog before and I relate the most to her postings because like me, she is very focused on watching her sugar intake.  There’s no need to worry about sugar in this recipe though, so eat up!  This salad is full of yummy, healthy ingredients. 
If you haven’t tried jicama before I highly encourage you to do so.  It’s a great summer addition to salads because it adds a nice crunch and is perfect because no cooking is necessary.  Just peel, chop and get to eating.  
Jicama Arugula Salad

Recipe from:

2 pounds jicama, peeled, thick matchstick slices
2 limes, juice and zest
1 teaspoons salt
1 yellow pepper, sliced (about 2 cups)
½ cup sliced red onion
1 cup arugula
1 cup butter lettuce, chopped
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place jicama in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and juice of limes and zest.  Let stand 15 minutes to soften.
In a serving bowl add all remaining ingredients and top with jicama. Gently toss with salad tongs.
Serve or refrigerate. Makes approximately 10 cups.

*I couldn't find butter lettuce at the store so I used arugula and spinach.  Since the dressing is very light I recommend making sure you use a bold flavored lettuce...just spinach and romaine won't cut it for this recipe.  Arugula is one of my favorite leafy greens and it adds so much to this dish.  I don't usually like fresh parsley much, but cilantro I could probably eat a handful of plain so I went with that option.  Plus, I always have some in my fridge.  I was so surprised by how flavorful this was.  Enjoy!



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