Jícama-avocado salad with pomegranate-lime dressing

In a desire to attempt to be somewhat healthy (or at least include some element that could be construed as healthy in our meals), I snagged a Salad cookbook during our recent excursion to a used bookstore in Evanston. In browsing through, I was intrigued by the inclusion of pomegranate in a salad. I love pomegranate seeds, in all their stain-inducing glory, so I was excited to try it. However, my first wonderance, as likely the case for some of you, was what is “jícama”? After butchering its pronunciation (I initially thought ‘y’ sound, but it’s actually pronounced ‘hickama’), I learned that it is a tuberous root commonly used in Mexican cuisine, such as in salads and soups, and has a somewhat apple-like texture and taste. Health-wise, it’s apparently a good source of potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin C, low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. I was able to find it very easily (and cheaply, to my pleasure). It seemed a Mexican-themed evening, as we paired this with our beef tacos–thought they would go well together with the avocado and cumin traces in both dishes.

Recipe

from Salad
Serves 2

2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh pomegranate juice
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp olive oil
spinach
3/4 cup sliced peeled jícama
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp pine nuts, toasted
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds

Combine first six ingredients in a bowl. Add oil, and stir with a whisk. Add spinach and next 4 ingredients, and toss gently. Divide salad in bowls. Top with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: Much to my dismay, I learned that pomegranates aren’t really in season until September, so I had to content myself with just pomegranate juice and not the seeds. We also, bizarrely, forgot to put in the cilantro (despite actually having some). The original recipe calls for arugula leaves, but we substituted spinach.

The salad was a hit. The jícama was relatively mild, but had a great light crunchiness and juiciness. This was a nice foil against the toasted pine nuts, which gave it a deliciously nutty flavour as well as against the buttery avocado. It also went well with the sweetness of the pomegranate-lime dressing. Will definitely re-visit, particularly once pomegranates come into season and I can throw in some seeds!

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