Jicama is not a common vegetable. In fact, many people may not even be familiar with it.
What can you use instead of jicama? If a recipe calls for jicama but you don’t have it or it cannot be found where you live, consider one of these options.
- Water chestnuts
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Daikon radishes
In recipes where you need raw jicama, you can also use green apple, celery sticks, cucumber, or Asian pear.
In this article, you will learn all about jicama, its uses, benefits, and substitutes.
What Is Jicama?
Jicama is a starchy root vegetable. It has a round shape, brown skin, and the inside is white.
Jicama was first cultivated in Mexico and it is not surprising that you can find it in many Mexican recipes. Today, you can find jicama in various parts of the world.
What you should know about jicama is that it is only the root of the plant you can eat. The remaining part of jicama is toxic.
Theretwo jicama varieties. Jicama de agua has higher water content. This is the variety commonly found in the US. Jicama de leche, on the other hand, has a slightly different shape and consistency. The root of jicama de leche is elongated and it is not as watery as the other variety. The juice of jicama de leche is milky and not translucent.
Flavor and Texture
The flavor of jicama can be described in different ways. Some say that jicama tastes like a combination of water chestnut and apple. Others describe the taste of jicama as a cross between potatoes and turnips. In fact, jicama is also known as Mexican turnip. Many people also think that jicama tastes like potato and pear combined.
The taste of jicama can be described as slightly nutty and sweet. The flavor of raw jicama is quite mild.
As far as the texture is concerned, jicama is crunchy. It will lose its crispiness if you cook it longer. But if cooked only briefly, this root vegetable will remain crunchy.
You can eat jicama both raw and cooked. If you are not familiar with this vegetable, you may be surprised to learn how versatile it is.
- Make a slaw with jicama. What makes a better slaw than crunchy jicama paired with carrots and cabbage? Jicama slaw makes a nutrient-rich side dish and a crispy topping for tacos.
- Serve with a dipping sauce. If you are on the way of shifting to a healthier diet, then you should certainly try eating jicama sticks with dipping sauces instead of chips or French fries.
- Make a fruit salad. Fruit salads with jicama are very popular in Mexico. Try them for a Mexican-style dinner and surprise your guest with unusual combinations.
- Use jicama in salsas. Cut jicama into small cubes and add it to your favorite tomato salsa recipe. Jicama will pair nicely with beans, cucumbers, and citrusy flavors.
If you have been intimated to try this root vegetable, it is high time you did as jicama has more health benefits than you could ever imagine.
- Jicama is rich in vitamins. It is high in vitamin C which is essential in maintaining a strong immune system. It also contains vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
- Jicama is a great source of minerals. These include iron, magnesium, and manganese.
- Jicama is rich in dietary fiber. Thus, incorporating jicama in your diet will have a positive impact on your digestive system.
- Jicama contains antioxidants. It will decrease the risk of chronic diseases.
You can also roast, sauté, bake, and stir–fry jicama.
3 Best Jicama Substitutes
While jicama grows in various parts of the world, including Central and South America, it is hard to get hold of this vegetable in many countries. Luckily, the texture and flavor of this root vegetable can be replicated with other products.
Here are the best 3 substitutes for jicama.
1. Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts are considered to be one of the best substitutes for jicama. And this doesn’t come as a surprise as many people think that the flavor of jicama is similar to that of water chestnuts. This is true as both jicama and water chestnuts are sweet. Although we should note that water chestnuts may be slightly sweeter.
These two vegetables are similar in texture too. Water chestnuts are also crispy. They don’t lose their crunch even after cooking.
Water chestnuts, just like jicama, can be eaten raw. However, it is best to eat these vegetables raw only when they are fresh.
Water chestnuts are very nutritious. You can incorporate them into your diet in a variety of ways. Aside from eating water chestnuts raw, you can also boil, fry, and grill them.
2. Jerusalem Artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes are known by many names. They may be called earth apples, sunchokes, and sunroots. In any case, this vegetable is a great substitute for jicama.
Unlike water chestnuts, Jerusalem artichokes are not as sweet. They also taste nutty which makes them even more similar to jicama.
Jerusalem artichokes are very crunchy when they are raw. Once you cook them, the texture of Jerusalem artichokes resembles the texture of cooked potatoes.
You can eat Jerusalem artichokes both raw and cooked. You can boil and bake Jerusalem artichokes. Sauteing and roasting them is also an option.
Jerusalem artichokes are available in many countries which makes them an easy jicama substitute too.
3. Daikon Radishes
Daikon radish, also known as white radish, is a great substitute for jicama.
Jicama and daikon radish look nothing alike. However, there are other properties that make these two vegetables interchangeable in certain cases. Firstly, daikon radish is sweet and juicy. Secondly, it is as crispy as jicama.
While daikon radishes can be used in a range of ways, it is best to use them as a substitute for raw jicama.
Daikon radishes are also very nutritious. Thus, you will certainly benefit from using them.
The only thing we would like you to know is that there are multiple daikon radish varieties. Some of them may be spicier than others. When looking for a perfect jicama substitute it is preferable to go with sweeter varieties.
As we have already mentioned, you can use jicama both raw and cooked. If the recipe calls for raw jicama, you can replace it with a green apple. When choosing green apple as a substitute for jicama, go with crispy varieties to provide the crunch that jicama does.
You can also use celery sticks if the rest of the ingredients in your dish pair with it nicely.
Another substitute that you can get hold of easily is cucumber. It should be noted, however, that when using cucumber instead of jicama it is best to remove the seeds and use the crispy parts only.
For an exotic jicama substitute, choose Asian pear. This extremely crunchy fruit works well in salads and slaws.