This salad is inspired by a dish I had several years ago at a Pan-Latin restaurant in NYC. The restaurant has since closed, but this salad continues to be a warm-weather staple.
Dreams are made of this combination: crunch of the jicama, creaminess of the avocado, sweetness of the orange, and juiciness of the tomato. Plus, the citrus vinaigrette with mint adds a brightness that brings all of the flavors together.
I’m using green leaf lettuce as a bed for this salad, but feel free to use a different lettuce of your choosing or none at all.
WHAT IS JICAMA?
Jicama is a circular, nutrient-rich, starchy root vegetable native to Mexico. It’s slightly sweet and mild in flavor—like a cross between a water chestnut and an apple (it’s commonly eaten raw). You can find jicama year-round in the produce section of most supermarkets and Latin American markets.
To prepare it, you first have to peel off the tough brown skin surrounding the white crisp flesh. The easiest way to do this is by cutting off the top and the bottom and then using a vegetable peeler, or if there’s a thick coating of wax, use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin.
For this recipe, we want jicama sticks, so you’ll halve the peeled root from top to bottom, then slice the halves into 1/4 to 1/2-inch planks, and finally cut those planks into sticks.
SALAD SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
The ingredients in this recipe are customizable; just make sure you’re maintaining the delicious combination of textures.
For the avocados, my preference is Hass, a small to medium sized avocado variety commonly found in most grocery stores, but whatever you have on hand that’s ripe and ready to go will work.
I chose Campari tomatoes for their size and sweetness, but if you can’t find those, just about any tomato will do. Try cherry tomatoes or an heirloom variety and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Mango instead of orange would work well too. And if you want a little heat, add some jalapeño! You get the idea.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH JICAMA SALAD
This salad is hearty and great on its own. It’s also a perfect side dish for summer gatherings and barbecues, and it pairs nicely with grilled meats and seafood dishes, like these:
WHEN TO MAKE AND SERVE
This salad is best when assembled just before serving. If you can’t assemble and serve it immediately, you can assemble part of the salad up to one day in advance to get a head start.
To do that, combine everything except the avocado, lettuce, and mint garnish and keep it in the refrigerator. Once you’re ready to serve the salad, top your lettuce with pre-assembled salad ingredients, avocado, and mint. Enjoy!