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Piquant Tomatillo And Jicama Salad

If you look beyond the sea of baby greens and tomatoes flooding your grocer's produce section, it's easy to find some excellent and healthful ways to liven up your salad repertoire.

Two widely available items are fresh tomatillos and jicama.

Tomatillos can be used raw or cooked in many of the same ways you would use tomatoes. The berry inside the husk can range from marble- to plum-size and has solid, seedy flesh. Raw, they taste a bit like green apple with hints of lemon or lime, but cooking mellows the flavor.

When preparing tomatillos you will need to remove the husk and wash away the sticky resin on the skin. The entire fruit is edible, but if you like, when using them raw, you can peel off the outer skin.

Jicama is a light brown-skinned tuber that is imported from Latin America. They range in size from a half to several pounds and can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, jicama has a mildly sweet, juicy flesh with a crisp texture.

Choose jicamas that are firm with unblemished skin and store unwrapped in a dry part of the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Once a jicama has been cut into, the remainder should be wrapped and refrigerated.

This piquant tomatillo and jicama salad is low in fat and calories, and a refreshing change from the monotony of mixed greens. The tangy tomatillos stand out against the sweet, crunchy jicama and ripe tomatoes.

How to make it

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

12 medium tomatillos (12 ounces)

1/2 medium jicama (about 12 ounces)

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 medium limes)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 medium tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Peel off and discard papery husks from the tomatillos. Under warm water, rinse away the sticky residue from the skin. Halve the tomatillos, then thinly slice and place in a large bowl.

Peel the jicama, cut into quarters and thinly slice. Cut the slices into matchsticks. Add to the bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and red pepper flakes. Drizzle the dressing over the tomatillos and jicama. Add the tomatoes, then toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving: 107 calories; 50 calories from fat; 6 grams fat (1 gram saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 14 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams protein; 5 grams fiber; 106 milligrams sodium.

Tomatillos and jicama, which make up the heart of this salad, should not be overlooked when making up a healthy meal. - AP