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What is Jicama? Nutrition, Comparison to Radish, Recipes & More

Jicama or yam

What is Jicama? Nutrition, Comparison to Radish, Recipes & More

Jicama (pronounced “HEE-kah-mah”) is a root vegetable that belongs to the bean family. Scientifically known as Pachyrhizus erosus, this tuber is also commonly called the Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip. Native to Mexico and Central America, jicama has gained popularity worldwide due to its unique flavor, immense health benefits and versatility.

Jicama

©”Jicama” by Gary Soup is licensed under BY 2.0. – Original / License

The jicama plant is actually a vine, but the part that is most commonly eaten is the large root. When you peel away its brown, papery skin a crisp, white flesh is revealed. Known for its sweet and starchy taste and a crunch similar to a water chestnut, jicama is often described as a cross between an apple and a potato.

Nutritional Information

Jicama is low in calories, high in fiber, and fairly rich in daily nutrients. Here's what 100g of jicama contains:

  • Calories: 38
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 4.9 grams
  • Sugars: 1.8 grams
  • Protein: 0.7 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Vitamin C: 20.2 milligrams (34% of the Daily Value)
  • Potassium: 150 milligrams
  • Iron: 0.6 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 12 milligrams
  • Calcium: 12 milligrams

Because of its high fiber content, jicama is a great choice for improving gut health or if you're looking to lose — or maintain — weight. Jicama is also good source of vitamin C, which benefits immunity, promotes healthy skin and helps absorb iron.

Jicama or yam

Fresh jicama or yam in bowl on wooden background

©Nungning20/iStock via Getty Images

Jicama vs. Radish

While jicama and radishes are both root vegetables, they are actually quite different, particularly in terms of flavor, texture and nutritional value.

JicamaRadish
FlavorMildly sweet and starchy, tastes like a blend of apple and potatoSharp, peppery and slightly spicy
Nutrition38 cal, 4.9g fiber16 cal, 1.6g fiber
Used insalads, slaws, snacks, stir-fries, soupssalads, garnish, pickled, stews, stir-fries
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Jicama Slaw


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  • Author: Ashley Haugen

Description

Here’s a refreshing and easy-to-make jicama slaw recipe that highlights the crisp texture and mild sweetness of jicama.


Ingredients

Units Scale

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions

  1. Prepare the Vegetables: Peel the jicama and cut it into thin, matchstick-sized pieces. Julienne the red and green bell peppers and thinly slice the red onion. Place all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, ground cumin, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  3. Combine and Toss: Pour the dressing over the vegetables in the large mixing bowl. Add the chopped cilantro and toss everything together until the vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
  4. Chill and Serve: Cover the bowl and refrigerate the slaw for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Serve chilled as a refreshing side dish or a topping for tacos and sandwiches.

Notes

This jicama slaw is not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious, providing a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. The combination of jicama with bell peppers and red onion adds a variety of textures and flavors, while the lime-cumin dressing gives it a tangy and slightly sweet finish.

Conclusion

Jicama is a versatile and nutritious root vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Its crisp texture and mildly sweet flavor make it the perfect addition to salads and slaws. Compared to radishes, jicama offers a different flavor profile and nutritional benefits, making it a unique and valuable ingredient in its own right.

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