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Favorite vegetarian recipes: Jicama, Orange and Avocado Salad

Jicama Salad Delight
Jicama Salad Delightfoodandwine.com

Figuring out what to make each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a pain, especially if your family is as picky about food as ours! Good food is extremely important to us. Now that we have developed a system, we can share it with you.

In our home, we eat vegetarian, non-genetically engineered (non GMO), organic, locally procured, sustainably farmed foods (in that order) for almost all our meals, while keeping our food budget at less than a quarter of our income.

It's a challenge that we've taken on whole-heartedly. We've been through nutrition and fitness boot camps, done our research, spoken to our farmers, cashiers and grocers, we've read our labels and scoured the internet to ensure that our mealtimes are a healthy and joyful experience. So here, in no particular order, are the recipes we love. I hope you will enjoy this series on Favorite Vegetarian Recipes, and make the most of the various food sources at your disposal!

Special thanks to FoodAndWine.com for the majority of this recipe.

Shopping for Food
Shopping for Food OB Rag - Frank Gormlie

Shopping for Food

Shopping is the most important part of eating well.

Where does your food come from? What has been done to it? Pesticides? Genetic manipulation? We're not having it!

But we do have a budget. Therefore, we shop at four places:

  1. Costco for dry goods and assorted organic non-GMO items that are now available - they have organic cheese and a great growing selection of items.
  2. People's Food Coop in Ocean Beach, which has delicious foods and wonderful selections, but can randomly pricey, so watch out. But, it's your best bet if you're trusting a company to provide ethically procured and relatively safe food.
  3. Jimbos, which is sketchy in terms of food provenance (they carry naughty brands) but it's okay if you know your safe food suppliers.
  4. Vons, which now has an expanding organic and non-GMO section, and carries important foods like tomatoes, avocados, berries and potatoes.

These are all California chains - you may need to do some research in your area.Be vociferous about what you want - organic, non-genetically engineered food.  Ask for more organic and non-GMO options, and tell your friends and family to ask. The squeaky wheel gets the oil! Create the market if it doesn't already exist. Educate yourself on the kinds of engineering you don't want in your food.

Jicama Salad Ingredients
Jicama Salad Ingredients Grocery store produce image via Shutterstock

Jicama Salad Ingredients

1 medium jicama (about 1 pound) - peeled, quartered and cubed

3 navel oranges

2 Hass avocados, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced or cubed

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (lemon juice is fine as a substitute)

1 tablespoon cider vinegar (balsamic or red-wine vinegar tastes great too)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

You may want to keep several bowls, including a large one, handy until the ingredients can be combined.

1. Peel, quarter and dice the jicama
1. Peel, quarter and dice the jicama thequeenstable.com

1. Peel, quarter and dice the jicama

Jicama is a taproot vegetable from the bean family that has the consistency of a potato, but with a sweetly refreshing and clean taste. Some say it has the taste of a water chestnut. It makes a great crispy addition to salads, and can even be juiced. It's an excellent snack for diabetics, because it contains very low glucose. Jicama also chock full of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin C and Vitamin A, and anti-oxidants that are helpful in removing free radicals from your body. Once you experience the delicious versatility of this strange root vegetable, it may become a staple of your diet!

For this recipe, you'll want to peel the Jicama and then chop it into bite-sized pieces or thin slices, to best absorb the juice. Set aside in a large bowl.

2. Prepare the navel oranges
2. Prepare the navel oranges naturesfinestproduce.com

2. Prepare the navel oranges

Next, peel the three navel oranges, carefully making sure to clear away all the white pith. Separate the orange into its sections.  Squeeze the sections over a new bowl, which will be used to make the dressing for the salad.

Then cut the separated sections in half, and place them aside in another small bowl. Set the bowl with the mostly-squeezed orange sections aside.

3. Prepare the dressing
3. Prepare the dressing rachelschultz.com

3. Prepare the dressing

You have the orange juice from the cut sections in your dressing bowl. Now add the other liquid ingredients - the lime juice (or substitute), the cider vinegar (or substitute), and the olive oil.

Add a pinch of cayenne pepper as well, and salt and black pepper to taste. Whisk it all together and mix it well. Pour it over the jicama and let it stand for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, so that the jicama is saturated.

4. Peel, quarter and slice the avocados
4. Peel, quarter and slice the avocados doctormurray.com

4. Peel, quarter and slice the avocados

Make sure that you are using ripened, somewhat soft avocados. If your avocados are still hard and unripe, don't make this recipe. Instead, place the avocados in a brown paper bag and leave them in a dark, dry corner overnight. Within one to two days, they should ripen for your salad.

5. Chop the cilantro
5. Chop the cilantro countryliving.com

5. Chop the cilantro

Wash the bunch of cilantro well and remove the stems. It's time consuming, but it tastes better that way! Remove the stems and then chop up a bunch, and keep going until you fill a quarter of a measuring cup. Set aside in a bowl.

6. Measure out the feta
6. Measure out the feta fashionaddictedfoodies.com

6. Measure out the feta

You'll need one to two cups of it (measure to taste). If the fifteen minutes of marinating the jicama in the dressing are done, add the feta to the jicama. Fold in the orange sections, avocado and cilantro, toss, and serve!

Special shout-out and thanks to our friend S. with Hashimoto's (a disease), who, after giving us the list of hundreds of ordinary foods that the poor thing couldn't eat, inspired us to find this gem of a recipe for a dinner party.

Bon Appetit!